GitHub-OSS Fixit: Fixing bugs at scale in a Software Engineering Course

Shin Hwei Tan, Chunfeng Hu, Ziqiang Li, Xiaowen Zhang, Ying Zhou

Many studies have shown the benefits of introducing open-source projects into teaching Software Engineering (SE) courses. However, there are several limitations of existing studies that limit the wide adaptation of open-source projects in a classroom setting, including (1) the selected project is limited to one particular project, (2) most studies only investigated on its effect on teaching a specific SE concept, and (3) students may make mistakes in their contribution which leads to poor quality code. Meanwhile, software companies have successfully launched programs like Google Summer of Code (GSoC) and FindBugs "fixit" to contribute to open-source projects. Inspired by the success of these programs, we propose GitHub-OSS Fixit, a course project where students are taught to contribute to open-source Java projects by fixing bugs reported in GitHub. We described our course outline to teach students SE concepts by encouraging the usages of several automated program analysis tools. We also included the carefully designed instructions that we gave to students for participating in GitHub-OSS Fixit. As all lectures and labs are conducted online, we think that our course design could help in guiding future online SE courses. Overall, our survey results show that students think that GitHub-OSS Fixit could help them to improve many skills and apply the knowledge taught in class. In total, 154 students have submitted 214 pull requests to 24 different Java projects, in which 59 of them have been merged, and 82 have been closed by developers.

Knowledge Graph

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