COMP8440 - FOSSD: Assessment
Course assessment will be divided into 4 parts
- Morning quizzes - 5%
- Short Presentation - 15%
- Project Work and Report - 40%
- Project Study Report- 40%
Students will have an opportunity to discuss the assessment options during the information evening.
On Saturday, 14th April, each student will make a short (10-15 minute) presentation on their chosen FOSS project. That presentation should provide basic information on the project and its structure, and present the work that you have done during the lab times over the previous week.
While this presentation is part of your assessment, it is also a chance for you to get feedback that you can use to help produce good reports for the remaining two main parts of the assessment.
To assist with your presentation you may choose to have either:
- a set of LibreOffice slides,
- a PDF file, or
- a set of web pages.
Project Work and Report
Report due Monday, 21st of May (week 12), at 11am
The project work part of your assessment comes from you working on a FOSS project of your choice. There are no strict rules on what form that work should take, but you should try to choose something that demonstrates your ability to work with the project, and demonstrates your understanding of the principles of FOSS collaboration.
Assessment for this portion of the course will be based on a report that you write that describes your involvement with the project. The report should describe all of your interactions with the project. To assist you in writing that report, make sure that you keep copies of all email exchanges with the project, plus logs of any IRC interactions and copies of relevant web pages (for example bug submissions).
The FOSS project you choose for this part of your assessment does not have to be the same project that you chose during the intensive part of the course (the one you used for your Saturday short presentation). It is suggested, however, that if you decide to use a different project that you discuss your choice with one of the course coordinators (Paul or Martin).
It is important that the work you do for this part of your assessment is not done in isolation from the other contributors to your chosen FOSS project. You should not work alone on a patch or other contribution and then submit it to the project at the last minute. Instead, you should discuss your contribution as soon as possible, and actively participate in a cycle of review and improvement, with the aim of producing a useful contribution to the project.
It is also not a requirement that the project accept your contribution to get a good mark for this part of your assessment. With the short time available for this course, it is expected that many students will be not have an accepted submission by the time the project work report is due. What you should aim to demonstrate in your report is that you are following the established practices for your chosen project, and that you have been working towards a useful contribution.
You also do not need to restrict yourself to a single contribution to the project. For example, you may wish to make contributions to several different areas of the project. Contributions to the documentation, web pages, test suites and bug handling can be just as important as contributions to the projects source code.
Project Study report
Report due Monday, 21st of May (week 12), at 11am
The project study is a moderately detailed study of your chosen FOSS project. The study should cover all of the aspects of FOSS development covered in the course that are relevant to the project of your choice. In the study you should seek to demonstrate your understanding of the COMP8440 lecture material.
The subject of your project study does not need to be the same FOSS project as the one you used for the project work portion of your assessment. For example, if you think that the project you have been working with will not easily allow you to demonstrate your knowledge of the course material, then you may wish to choose a different project. You may also include information about more than one project if that helps, perhaps by comparing and contrasting aspects of two projects.
The study should cover at least:
- The history of the project
- The project governance structure
- The projects source code management practices
- Statistics on project contributors
- Information on who uses the project
- Information on any interactions or relationships with other projects
- Legal and licensing information
- The motivations behind the project
- How releases are managed
- How bug tracking is handled
If possible you should try to document the discussions and background that led to the choices the project made.
You should try where possible to research the answers through publicly available materials. If you can't find the answers that way, then you can contact project members, but you should make it clear that you are working on a university project. Including a link to the COMP8440 web site in your first contact with a project member is a good way to do this.
Please submit your assignments by the due date to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please send your assignments either as a PDF or as LibreOffice documents.
The maximum page length for each report is 30 pages each, and expected to be of the order of 10 to 15 pages. Submissions over 30 pages will attract a penalty of 1% per page. The page limit includes all appendices etc.
Late submissions will attract a penalty of 100%. Extensions can only be granted in exceptional circumstances and with appropriate documentation.
ANU has very strong policies on Academic Misconduct, which students are reminded of.
Plagiarism is taken even more seriously in this course, and in the FOSS community in general, as it directly opposes the notion of meritocracy. If you use someone elses work in making your assignment, then you must cite that work, giving credit where credit is due. If you don't then you may receive zero for the whole assignment. In a worse case scenario, you may be excluded from the University.
Please cite carefully! If in doubt, ask Paul or Martin for assistance.
A number of students have asked some common ("Frequently Asked") questions about the assessment. In case anyone else has similar questions, here are the answers in FAQ format.
Q: Are two separate reports required for the assessment?
A: Yes, one report is the project study, and the other report is on your project work
Q: What is the difference between the two reports?
A: The 'project study' report is a study of a particular FOSS project from the point of view of the material we covered during the lectures. This study is not about what you have contributed to the project, it is about the project itself, and should cover things like the history of the project, the culture of the project, how the project interacts with other projects, the legal and licensing framework for the project, how the project is funded, how decisions are made, how the project is governed, what motivates the developers working on the project etc. You should try to use the report to demonstrate your understanding of the lecture material.
The other report, called the "project work" report, is about what you yourself have contributed to the project. It should document all of your interactions with your chosen project, and should aim to demonstrate that you understand how to effectively communicate and contribute to a FOSS project.
Q: Can the two reports be on different FOSS projects?
A: Yes, that is entirely up to you
Q: Can the 'project study' report be on something other than a specific project, but instead be on a topic that is important for the FOSS world?
A: Yes, but please contact Paul or Martin for approval of a project study that is not on a specific FOSS project.
Q: I submitted a bug report for my project, and now the bug has been fixed. Should I include that in my project work report?
A: Yes! That process demonstrates that you are working well with the development community for your project. You should include your patch submission, any discussion of the patch and the result of the submission in your report.