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Teaching Open Source in Chicago

by Shauna December 6th, 2013

Students talking to each other

On Wednesday, September 25th and Thursday, September 26th we ran our fourteenth Open Source Comes to Campus event, at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).  Thanks to Women in Computer Science at UIC for hosting! Check out the gallery of the best photos from the event (and the other ones).

Aeva Palecek, Devina Dhawan, Sheila Miguez, Beth Lynn Eicher, Shauna Gordon-McKeon, Asheesh Laroia


  • This was our first two-day event, and the different structure really changed the event.  It emphasized for us the importance of getting our teaching materials online and in great shape.  It was very helpful to be able to point attendees to, for instance, the Git training mission as a way to catch up on what they missed the day before.  It would have been even better if we could point those who only came the first day to resources for what they were missing the next day. Since this event, we’ve put many of our materials online.
  • Because many attendees could only make one night, there was a great deal of duplicated material.  Projects time was much shorter than usual, and almost all of the attendees chose to work on a single project: my effort to digitize the 1870s radical feminist magazine, Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly (read more on Wikipedia).  A number of attendees did transcription while others helped with documentation and helped me brainstorm better ways to organize the project.
  • Our career panel was part-local, part-remote, with Chicago-area mentor Beth Lynn Eicher in person and Sumana Harihareswara and Marina Zhurakhinskaya joining by video conference. This is the second time we’ve had remote participants in a career panel, and the second time it’s gone off pretty flawlessly.  Previously we’ve invited remote participants only as a backup when our mentors haven’t been interested in doing the career panel, but there’s something to be said for the diversity of experiences you get when you can draw from anywhere.  We tried to record the career panel, and got as far as setting up a Google Hangouts On Air, but forgot to hit the record button!
  • Thanks to WiCS/UIC’s generosity in opening up the event to all women students, we had sign ups from thirteen different area schools, including Chicago State, University of Chicago, Loyola, Robert Morris, DePaul, DeVry, Dominican University, Northeastern Illinois University, and of course, UIC.
  • This was our first explicitly women only event.  (Although one previous event, held at Wellesley College, had all women attendees due to the student body.)  This created an interesting and enjoyable dynamic. Several times during the two evenings spontaneous discussions emerged about the obstacles involved in being a woman in technology.

As always, our Open Source Comes to Campus events are possible thanks to our sponsors. Special thanks to Puppet Labs for their Bronze sponsorship, and to GitHub for funding food.

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