Over at Opensource.com, Mel Chua summarizes
what was learned about teaching open source at the SIGCSE computer science education conference. "When the completion of a project hinges on many factors outside a student's control, professors need to find different ways of grading. It's unfair to penalize a student for good work that wasn't accepted as a patch simply because an external dependency slipped or an outside developer didn't respond to their email before the semester ended. To address this, Grant Hearn from the University of the Western Cape suggested competency categories rather than hard rubrics--did the student do something related to documentation in the project? Write some form of feature specification? Can the student hand you a chat log with a remote developer from upstream (regardless of the outcome of that conversation)? Figure out learning objectives and turn them into benchmarks that are under the student's control.
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