Oregon State University

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Event Details

PhD Final Oral Examination – Jennifer Davidson

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 10:00 AM - 12:00 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. Technically experienced older adults have skills that could be directly applied to free/open source software (FOSS) communities, such as project management, programming, and/or knowledge of a rapidly growing end-user population. FOSS is widely popular, low-cost way to create software solutions. FOSS is in need of new contributors, as it is mostly volunteer-driven and has a high contributor turnover rate. Also, FOSS communities are homogenous, comprised mostly of young 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. This research is comprised of two phases: involving older adults indirectly through participatory design, then investigating how to involve older adults more directly in development. This work is a portfolio of five peer-review quality conference publications that culminate in the following research deliverables: a list of benefits and barriers of older adults’ involvement in FOSS, guidelines for including older adults in FOSS, and a prototype workshop curriculum for encouraging participation in FOSS by older adults.

Major Advisor: Carlos Jensen
Minor Advisor: Karen Hooker
Committee: Margaret Burnett
Committee: Ron Metoyer
GCR: Daniel Borello 

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