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Capstone Project Overview

The capstone project for FOSS is designed to give you the opportunity to apply some of the skills and ideas from the rest of the course to one of your own projects, get support and feedback from your peers, and share your experiences with the rest of the attendees.


  • "Level up" the openness of an existing or planned project
  • Apply a skill or concept from FOSS
  • Discuss your applied skills/concepts with groupmates
  • Determine possible next steps to "level up" your project
  • Share your experiences with the rest of the attendees


Option 1

For the Fall 2023 capstone project, we will introduce hands-on exercises at the end of each FOSS session that will help crystalize the material learned that day. Over the 8 weeks of the course, you will be building and populating a Github repository or 'research object' for you own research projects. For example, for the session where we cover Data Management, we will have an exercise where you write a mini data management plan and post it in your Github Repo.

Option 1 will be using the following website as reference: FOSS Reference Hub.

Option 2

For option 2, you can forego the week-to-week exercises. Instead, you will choose one (or more) skill(s) or concept(s) from FOSS and apply it to one of your own projects.

For instance, you could write a Data Management Plan for an upcoming project proposal, or you could reorganize an existing project and put all the code onto GitHub. You could build a resume web page, or you could try to containerize software. You should try to identify what level your project is currently at for a given topic, and attempt to move up a level. This means you can try out a skill or idea you've never used before, or go to a more advanced level for something you already do.

You should have your skill/topic chosen by Week 6, and you will then enter your name / topic into a spreadsheet (shared during the week 6 session). We'll use this to help students find others working on similar projects.

  • You can do a project completely solo
  • You can work solo, but join a 'support group' to:
    1. discuss your experiences applying your skill or concept
    2. give each other help with sticking point you may encounter
  • You can work directly with a FOSS colleague on a joint project

Final Presentations

Each student or group will deliver a short (5-10 minute) presentation to the rest of the class on week 8

Your small group presentation should focus on the challenges and tips you may have for other FOSS attendees who want to utilize your skill or concept in the future. Here are some prompts that you should address during your presentation:

  • What was the general topic or skill that members of your group worked on?
  • What are some challenges you encountered while working on your projects?
    • Were you able to overcome these challenges? If so, how?
    • Where did you look for help?
    • Do any roadblocks remain? How might you try to overcome them?
  • Are there any new things you learned while working on your project?
    • Did you end up using any new or different tools?
  • What are some tips you might have for other FOSS attendees who want to work on the same topic/skill in the future?
    • Are there any pitfalls to avoid?
  • What things do you want to do next?
    • How might you "level up" in the current topic/skill compared to your project's current state?
    • Are there any other FOSS skills that you want to tackle next? If so, how might they integrate with the topic/skill you focused on for your project?


Links to previous' year capstone projects will be posted in the FOSS HackMD. Stay tuned!