Oregon State University

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PhD Oral Preliminary Examination – Jennifer Davidson


Tuesday, April 9, 2013 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Involving Older Adults in the Design and Development of Free/Open Source Software
An age-wave is upon us where many older adults are reaching retirement. Some of them have skills that could be directly applied to free/open source software (FOSS) communities, such as project management, programming, or knowledge of a rapidly growing end-user population. As most computer scientists know, FOSS is widely popular and is a low-cost way to rapidly create novel software solutions on a small or large scale. FOSS is always in need of new contributors, as it is mostly volunteer-driven and has a high turnover rate. Also, FOSS communities are homogenous, comprised mostly of 20-something white male contributors. My research goal is to change the current FOSS demographic by investigating how to involve older adults in FOSS design and development. This is a unique problem because older adults may have different motivations, experiences, and abilities than their younger counterparts. I plan to conduct this research in two phases: involving older adults indirectly through participatory design, then investigating how to involve them more directly in development. My research deliverables are as follows: a list of benefits of barriers of involving older adults in FOSS, guidelines for including older adults in FOSS, and a prototype workshop curriculum for encouraging successful participation to FOSS by older adults.

Major Advisor: Carlos Jensen
Committee: Margaret Burnett
Committee: Ron Metoyer
Committee: Karen Hooker
GCR: John Bolte 


Kelley Engineering Center (campus map)
3057
Nicole Thompson
1 541 737 3617
Nicole.Thompson at oregonstate.edu
Sch Elect Engr/Comp Sci
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