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Teaching FOSS at universities

Time:15:45 - 16:30
Day:Wednesday 20 January 2010
Location:Main Auditorium (MFC)
Project: Teaching Open Source

This paper will look at the experience of teaching a masters level course on Free and Open Source software development at the ANU.

For FOSS to become more widely accepted within the IT industry it is important for students coming through university computer science and software engineering degrees to have exposure to the methodologies employed by community software development. The challenge is to teach FOSS development within the structured environment of a university degree.

In this presentation we will look at the challenges faced in teaching FOSS to university students, and how those challenges were met in the ANU course.

We will also discuss the current community efforts to create a free textbook on FOSS development suitable for use at a wide range of universities worldwide.

Andrew Tridgell

Andrew Tridgell has been hacking on various pieces of free software for over 20 years.

Robert (Bob) Edwards

Bob Edwards has been Chief I.T. Officer in School of Computer Science at Australian National University in Canberra, Australia for past 10 years and before that a Robotics Engineer in the Department of Engineering at ANU. Bob has been deploying Linux desktops within each of those areas for the past 12 years.

Bob also teaches into various programs and courses at ANU and has been responsible for delivering the Computer Networks course (3rd year U/G and at Masters level) for the past 7 years, as well as co-teaching the inaugural FOSS Development course with Andrew Tridgell at Masters level in April of 2009. He has also taught Operating Systems and Microprocessor Electronics.

Bob has written patches for rsync and has been maintaining a custom iptables filter for production use in teaching labs with both kernel and userspace patches.

Bob has also written and maintains a 40,000 LoC web-based Administrative Information System using PostgreSQL and PHP.

Bob is actively involved in the local Linux User Group (CLUG).