The Humanitarian FOSS Project is a collaborative, community-building project that was started by a group of computing faculty and open source proponents at Trinity College, Wesleyan University, and Connecticut College. Our goal is to build a community of academic computing departments, IT corporations, and local and global humanitarian and community organizations dedicated to building and using Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) to benefit humanity.
- Awarded over 100 undergraduate internship opportunities to work on impactful projects.
- Introduced over 250 students across 12 colleges and universities, to FOSS concepts, methods and technologies across the United States, inspiring programs in Canada and Brazil.
- Developed 10 new courses incorporating FOSS into the Computer Science Curricula ranging from introductory level to senior level software engineering and special topics.
- Reached over 300 participants through 4 workshops, 3 national symposia and various meetings and conference presentations.
- Garnered national and international recognition, with over 20 major publications in professional journals, and magazines including, The Chronicle of Higher Education, New Scientist, Communications of the ACM and Technology Innovation Management Review.
- Developed Humanitarian FOSS software applications for various national and international organizations, with deployments in New York City to Haiti.
Our approach is not unlike the Habitat for Humanity project: Instead of helping communities build houses, our students help build free software systems that benefit communities. The NSF grant enabled us to explore whether engaging students in the Humanitarian-FOSS enterprise helped undergraduates see that designing and building software is an exciting, creative, and (often) a socially beneficial activity.
The project's current focus includes building Open Source mobile applications for educational and humanitarian purposes. Working closely with MIT’s Center for Mobile Learning and the College Boards Computer Science Principles project we are designing mobile computing curriculum for high school and undergraduate students, based on App Inventor for Android platform. Working with ACDI/VOCA, we are designing and supporting a mobile based beneficiary registration and monitoring system to support a food distribution program in Haiti.
Acknowledgment and Disclaimer: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. CCF-0722137, CCF-0722134, CCF-0722199, CCF-0939034, CCF-0939097 and CCF-0939022 Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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