CS 461P/561: Open Source Software Development

Term: Summer 2020
Credits: 4 (461P), 3 (561)
Meeting Time: Tue, Thu 1415-1635
Admin Info: Section 3; 461P CRN 80309, 561 CRN 80324
Meeting Location: Remote. See below.

Instructor: Bart Massey (bart AT cs DOT pdx DOT edu)
Office Location: Remote. See below.

Prerequisites: CS 300


Everything about this syllabus is entirely tentative, and may be changed at the whim of the instructor without warning.


CS 461P/561 Open Source Software explores Open Source software engineering and its methodologies. The course focuses on the development and delivery of a Open Source software projects by teams of students. Students prepare and present their software project, working using modern communication and development tools.


Upon the successful completion of this class, students will be able to:

  1. Select an appropriate open source license for new work.

  2. Create a new open source project, with proper licensing and an appropriate repository.

  3. Develop an open source project: identify requirements, architect the code, implement the project, and validate the result.

  4. Find appropriate and use open source community resources in development.


Please see the course LMS for a schedule of topics and activities.


A number of online readings will be assigned. These readings must be completed before the corresponding topic is discussed in class. The central readings for this course will be taken from the Open Source Guides created and curated by GitHub.

In addition, exploring Open Source on the web is an expected and encouraged course activity.

Course Communication

Problems with the communications channels should be promptly reported to the course staff so that they can be promptly corrected.

Standard Tools

Async communications for this course will be through email and a dedicated Slack workspace. Every student is required to monitor their email, and to join the Slack and keep aware of what is being said there. Active participation is strongly encouraged.

The course Learning Management System will be used for course schedules, assignments and projects. Every student is required to be registered with the LMS: I will take care of the registration during the first week of class.

Remote Work

This is primarily a "laboratory" course. However, during this remote offering, students will be expected to work from home. This will normally require a working desktop or laptop computer sufficient for programming: while remotely accessing PSU lab computers is possible, it is usually not a desirable way to proceed. Solid Internet access is a must.

A number of brief video lectures will be provided through YouTube and PSU Media Space. There will also be brief synchronous video lectures at the start of some scheduled class periods: these will be conducted via Zoom and will be recorded for those who cannot attend. Attendance is nonetheless encouraged, as the discussion is a valuable part of the course.

Course Work

This course requires substantial work and study. Expect to spend at least 8 hours of out-of-class time each week on this course.


I will assign some homework assignments as part of this course. Late homeworks will be accepted, if at all, only for good reasons and at a substantial penalty.

Course Project

You will select a course project, usually as part of a group, which will continue throughout the quarter. The course project is the most important activity of the course, giving an opportunity to practice the learnings and skills of the class and demonstrate mastery of the material.


You may submit material as many times as you like, with the latest assignment received before grading being the only one considered for a grade. Please submit something before the deadline, even if it is only your name — you can then continue to work on your assignment as desired up until assignments are graded.

Projects and assignments will be graded for having been turned in and having made a solid effort, as well as for being substantially correct and of high quality.

It is important that every assigned activity be attempted before the deadline, acting in good faith. A score of zero on any work will result in a grade of F for the course.

Academic Honesty

Cheating on homework or the project will result in a grade of zero on the affected material, and will be reported to appropriate authorities. Plagiarism is a form of cheating. Please do not let me catch you plagiarizing.

Plagiarism: n 1: a piece of writing/work that has been copied from someone else and is presented as being your own work 2: the act of plagiarizing; taking someone's words or ideas as if they were your own.

If you use code, ideas, or text authored by someone else, cite them. It is OK to get help from external sources of knowledge, but citation is mandatory.

Safe Space

PSU and your instructor are committed to providing a safe and effective learning space for people of all races and ethnicities, genders and gender roles, religious beliefs, physical abilities, etc. Students in this course must conduct themselves collegially and professionally. Bigotry or uncivility of any type will not be tolerated: this behavior will result in removal from the course and reporting to the appropriate authorities at PSU.

Access and Inclusion for Students with Disabilities

PSU values diversity and inclusion; we are committed to fostering mutual respect and full participation for all students. My goal is to create a learning environment that is equitable, useable, inclusive, and welcoming. If any aspects of instruction or course design result in barriers to your inclusion or learning, please notify me. The Disability Resource Center (DRC) provides reasonable accommodations for students who encounter barriers in the learning environment.

If you have, or think you may have, a disability that may affect your work in this class and feel you need accommodations, contact the Disability Resource Center to schedule an appointment and initiate a conversation about reasonable accommodations. The DRC is located in 116 Smith Memorial Student Union, 503-725-4150,,

If you already have accommodations, please contact me to make sure that I have received a faculty notification letter and discuss your accommodations. Students who need accommodations for tests and quizzes are expected to schedule their tests to overlap with the time the class is taking the test.

For information about emergency preparedness, please go to the Fire and Life Safety webpage for information.

Discrimination and Harrassment; Mandatory Reporting

Portland State is committed to providing an environment free of all forms of prohibited discrimination and sexual harassment (sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, gender or sex-based harassment and stalking). If you have experienced any form of gender or sex-based discrimination or sexual harassment, know that help and support are available. PSU has staff members trained to support survivors in navigating campus life, accessing health and counseling services, providing academic and on-housing accommodations, helping with legal protective orders, and more. Information about PSU’s support services on campus, including confidential services and reporting options, can be found on PSU’s Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response website at You may call a Confidential Advocate at 503-725-5672 or by scheduling on-line: You may also report any incident of discrimination or discriminatory harassment, including sexual harassment, to either the Office of Equity and Compliance or the Office of the Dean of Student Life.

Please be aware that all PSU faculty members and instructors are required to report information of an incident that may constitute prohibited discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence. This means that if you tell me about a situation of sexual harassment or sexual violence that may have violated university policy or student code of conduct, I have to share the information with my supervisor, the University’s Title IX Coordinator or the Office of the Dean of Student Life. For more information about these matters that include Title IX, please complete the required student module Creating a Safe Campus in your D2L.

Last modified: Saturday, 20 June 2020, 3:54 AM