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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


For the project, 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 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 8, and you will then enter your name / topic into a spreadsheet (shared during the week 8 session). We'll use this to put together small groups. Week 8 will be your time to work on your personal project and ask us questions.

With the information you shared in the spreadsheets, we will identify potential groups of people working on a similar topic to yours. Groups will be revealed on Week 9.

During Week 9, you will meet with your group to:

  1. discuss your experiences applying your skill or concept,
  2. give each other help with sticking points you may have encountered
  3. put together a short (5-10 minute) presentation to be given to the rest of the groups during Week 10.

Discussion Guide

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?


  • Week 8: finalize topic choice and share it with us
  • Between Week 8 and Week 9: work on your project individually
  • Week 9: group discussions with members with a similar topic and presentation prep
  • Week 10: group presentations


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

Last update: 2023-03-06