Open Education Working Group (Proposed)

Last modified by Deborah Bryant on 2016/09/14 04:52

Open Education Working Group Proposal

Start date

September 1, 2016 (or the earliest possible date upon approval by Board to create the new working group).


The purpose of the Open Education OSI Working Group is to provide any interested parties with information and resources around open source in education, with a focus on incorporating open source technologies into curriculum. Our audiences include, but are not limited to:

  • Students of any age at any educational institution looking for information about participating in open source software development and engaging with fellow students ‘on campus’
  • Educators at any educational institution looking for information about teaching open source in their classroom.
  • Students, educators, or other staff looking to encourage  students to work on open source as part extracurricular events such as hackathons or coding camps
  • School administrators at any educational institution who require more information about the value proposition of offering an open source component as part of the curriculum (or sponsoring of extracurricular activities, e.g. approving student groups on campus) at their school
  • Members of the press or bloggers who wish to write about the value of open source in education, where the OSI WG can provide an authoritative voice from the open source perspective and refer these individuals to appropriate community points of contact for further investigation

The WG will also serve as a locus of connection for newly interested parties and community members who would like to help them achieve their goals. In essence, this WG will be the meta-connector for individuals and groups who care about FOSS EDU.

Open Questions

There is currently an OSI EDU Working Group in existence chaired by Tony Wasserman, though it does not seem to have a life on the wiki (or life at all). We suggest that we create an entirely new entity in order to emphasize the shift in focus as detailed below.For reference, see

Leslie Hawthorn will be keynoting a conference at which Tony is one of the chairs in mid-August andwill ask him in person how he feels about winding down the old WG and starting up a new one with mostly different but some similar goals. She will report back to the board on the results of that conversation via the board mailing list.

Initial members

Working Group Sponsors

Molly de Blanc (Chair) & Leslie Hawthorn

Other Contributors

We plan to do a call for volunteers to execute on our first objective, which is to create a catalog of open source and educational resources on the OSI wiki and link to it from the Resources section of the OSI website. We will target:

  • Volunteers who have expressed interest in this work, namely Deb Nicholson and Shauna Gordon-McKenna (Deb may be busy now with Beyond Licensing WG)
  • The Teaching Open Source email list
  • The Education team at Red Hat (Tom Callway and Gina Likins)
  • The Education team at GitHub (Carol Smith and John Britton)
  • The Oregon State University Open Source Lab (specifically its alumni list which includes past and present employees & students working in the lab)
  • The Stanford University Open Source Lab list
  • All suggestions welcome and encouraged

Resources needed by group

  • Mailing list - [email protected]
  • Wiki space for our work
  • No budget needed at this time, though if the scope of the group expands to include organization of / participation in further EDU events such as the recently held Open Summit, we may ask for travel funding for WG members to attend and participate.

Deliverables that will be created

We have two primary initial deliverables:

  1. The first deliverable we will create is an annotated list of all known open source in education resources available, without cost, to the general public. In cases where resources are restricted to particular audiences, e.g. only to school administrators, we would add these to our resources list provided they are available without cost - our goal is to make this information as widely useful as possible!
  2. Reach out to all newcomers to open source programs, e.g. Google Summer of Code or Rails Girls Summer of Code, to offer their past, present and future participants a free one year membership in the OSI. This offer allows us to educate this audience about the value of the OSI to them as open source practitioners and will, we hope, increase the OSI’s long-term membership count, as our goal is to prove value to these individuals so they renew their membership annually.

Future proposed deliverables include:

  • Participating in regularly scheduled office hours in #openhatch encouraging new contributors to open source software
  • Working with the OpenHatch team to either wind down or respin up the org’s activities in a meaningful way
    • This could include fixing the bite size bug scraper code, updating the training missions, etc.
  • Determining what university stakeholders would require to create Centers of Excellence around Open Source software on their campuses. Once this initial exploration is done, determine feasibility and appropriateness of soliciting directed donations from OSI sponsors and potential sponsors to fund these centers of excellence at particular schools. The OSI Edu WG would make recommendations to the board as to which applicants receive funding for their centers, with the Board (or its designates) making final decisions on the status of each application.

Description of how deliverables satisfies a part of OSI's mission

Making it easier for students and educators to incorporate open source software development into their lives satisfies the OSI mandate to promote open source. By educating all the aforementioned audiences (see overview section) about open source software practices using resources vetted by OSI Board or “trusted” community members, we are protecting open source by ensuring each resource educates properly and does not promote activities that are out of scope with the Open Source Definition. By acting as an authoritative voice for members of the press, we obviously promote open source but also protect it by ensuring a well informed story that is consistent with the principles of the Open Source Definition is told to the public.

Target completion date

Goals 1 & 2: complete no later than December 31, 2016.

Scope the feasibility and desirability of additional goals by end of November 2016 and determine which of these, if any, should become the group’s next primary goal or which new goals we should take on in this WG.


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