Addressing Diversity & Inclusion Issues in Computer Science through Contributions to Free and Open Source Software
Thursday, September 21, 2017 — 4:00PM - 5:00PM
Diversity and inclusion (D&I) has long been identified as a problem within computer science. Even groups who have been the subject of significant outreach initiatives, such as women, still are highly underrepresented. This BOF will explore curricular approaches in higher-ed in which participation in and contribution to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) communities and projects are used to help overcome underlying challenges that may be preventing or discouraging minority groups from pursuing computer science. Participating in FOSS projects helps students place themselves within the context of the computing community, addressing feelings of isolation and separation. Additionally, FOSS communities provide opportunities for students to find mentors, role models, and direct support. Lastly, students’ confidence grows as their contributions are incorporated into the projects, allowing students to see that their contributions actually have “real world” impact – particularly in Humanitarian FOSS projects – providing further motivation to continue in this field.