Course Information


Sebastian Benthall, Thomas Maillart and John Chuang


This course is a hands-on exploration of the theory and practice of open online collaboration. Students will engage multi-disciplinary literature about collaboration while contributing to an existing open project (such as open source software, Wikipedia, or OpenStreetMap). Readings will explore business models for open source software organizations, incentives of cooperation and organization design for open source projects. Practical work will be organized around themes of project management infrastructure, community self-governance, and engineering education through open source participation. The goal of the class is to engage students in an existing open source community while developing functionality and expertise that can be part of iSchool Masters projects, faculty-directed research, and beyond.

Course Details

The course will meet in South Hall 210 once a week, on Fridays from 11am-1pm.

There is also a lab, which meets Tuesday 1-2pm. Labs will meet in South Hall 202 until we move to Internet Relay Chat (IRC).

This course is 3 units. It fulfills the Management requirement for the I School MIMS program.

Course Organization

The general class format is the following:

Course Mailing List

Our course mailing list is

Please sign up for it here.

External Project Participation

Students of this course will be required to contribute to an open collaborative project of their choosing. This is an important decision; students should come into the class with ideas about projects or fields they are interested in.

List of potential projects : link.

Assignments and Group Report

See Assignments page.

Students will be responsible for regular reports on their open collaboration with outside projects in relation with practical and theoretical topics addressed in the class.

The reports will be blog entries to this website. Reports will be handed in using Github Pull Requests to the course website repository. Students will need to sign up for a Github account.

As the final project of the course, students will combine their reports from throughout the semester into a single collaborative report surveying the open collaboration. This report will be made available on the web and, if we agree on it as a class, submitted for publication.


Grading will be based on:


Office hours