CS4475A - Open Source Software Project Course Outline


The University of Western Ontario


London, Canada


Department of Computer Science


CS 4475A/B - Open Source Software Project

Undergraduate Capstone Open Source Projects (UCOSP)



Course Outline – Fall/Winter 2018-2019




Course Description


This course allows students to take part in a distributed, multi-university, open source project under the UCOSP program. (See http://ucosp.ca for more details.) This will give practical hands-on experience in working in software development, as well as valuable soft skills and team experience.



·        Students must notify the Department of their interest in registration in the course prior to the preceding May 1st for Computer Science 4475A or September 1st for Computer Science 4475B.

·        Registration in the course is conditional and competitive as course costs and coordination are provided by UCOSP.

·        A committee will adjudicate students on the basis of grades in program courses and a statement of interest submitted as part of the application process.

·        Students must be able to travel to an initial meeting at the beginning of the course; in the case that this meeting is outside of Canada, students will need valid travel documentation and must consult with the Department in advance if this is an issue. Costs related to this travel will be reimbursed by UCOSP; details will be provided prior to registration.




Class Hours: 9:30 - 10:30am, Thursdays, MC 300




Prerequisites: Computer Science 3307A/B or permission of the Department.




Antirequisites: Computer Science 4438A/B if taken during the 2012-2013 academic year.




Note: Unless you have either the prerequisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enroll in it, you may be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites.



Instructor Information




One instructor will be managing and supervising the project aspects of this course:


Instructor:      Nazim Madhavji



Office Hours: emails, anytime.


E-Mail:             madhavji <at> gmail <dot> com





Course Texts


There are no required texts for this course. To assist with project development, there are many excellent references available online. While printed books are also available from many retailers, they quickly get out of date, and so it is difficult to require you to purchase one.





Lecture time will not be used for the delivery of lectures in the traditional sense. Instead, this time will be primarily used for organizing and tracking the status of projects. Consequently, class might not be held every week at the stipulated time throughout the term; further details on class scheduling will be posted on the course website.



Course Website


The CS4475A website is accessible through the OWL system at http://owl.uwo.ca. Class and project information may be posted on this website from time to time, although most information will be communicated through UCOSP channels. Nevertheless, you are responsible for reading this information frequently.



Computing Facilities


Each student will have access to an account on the Computer Science Department undergraduate computing facility.


In accepting the account, a student agrees to abide by the department's Rules of Ethical Conduct.


Note: After-hours access to certain Computer Science lab rooms is by student card. If a student card is lost, a replacement card will no longer open these lab rooms, and the student must bring the new card to the Systems Group. Likewise, if a student card ceases to provide access where it should, it should be brought to the Systems Group as well.



E-Mail Contact


We will occasionally need to send e-mail messages to the whole class, or to students individually. E-Mail will be sent to the UWO e-mail address assigned to students by Information Technology Services (ITS), i.e. your e-mail address @uwo.ca. It is each student's responsibility to read this e-mail on a frequent and regular basis, or to have it forwarded to an alternative e-mail address if preferred. See the ITS website for directions on forwarding e-mail.


However, you should note that e-mail at ITS (your UWO account) and other e-mail providers may have quotas or limits on the amount of space they can use. If you let your e-mail accumulate there, your mailbox may fill up and you may lose important e-mail from your instructors. Losing e-mail that you have forwarded to an alternative e-mail address is not an excuse for not knowing about the information that was sent.


Wherever you receive e-mail, be sure to configure your spam filter to allow e-mail from the instructor's e-mail address given above. Otherwise, important messages could get trapped by your spam filter and missed. This is also not an excuse for not knowing about information that has been sent.



Student Evaluation


Grades will be based on project work assigned through UCOSP. Grades will be determined by your instructor and UCOSP supervisors and personnel.





As discussed above, project work will be assigned through UCOSP. Students are expected to adhere to deadlines and standards set in this fashion. Details and updates will be communicated throughout the term.



Ethical Conduct


Scholastic offences are taken seriously and students are directed to read the appropriate policy, specifically, the definition of what


constitutes a Scholastic Offence, at the following web site:




Plagiarism: Students must write their essays and assignments in their own words. Whenever students take an idea, or a passage from another author, they must acknowledge their debt both by using quotation marks where appropriate and by proper referencing such as footnotes or citations. Plagiarism is a major academic offence. Please note, however, that students are not allowed to make use of the work of others unless explicitly instructed to do so in the description of an assignment.


All projects are to be exclusively your own work. While project work requires you to work in teams, each team is expected to act individually. You may discuss approaches to problems among yourselves; however, the actual details of the work (coding, documentation, etc.) must be an individual effort. Incidents that are judged to be the result of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Undergraduate Chair. The selection of penalty to be applied is up to the Chair, with consultation of the instructor.


The standard departmental penalty for assignments that are judged to be the result of academic dishonesty is, for the student's first offence, a mark of zero for the assignment, with an additional penalty equal to the weight of the assignment also being applied. You are responsible for reading and respecting the Department of Computer Science's policy on Scholastic Offenses. and Rules of Ethical Conduct.


The University of Western Ontario uses software for plagiarism checking. Students may be required to submit their written work and programs in electronic form for plagiarism checking.


All required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to the commercial plagiarism detection software under license to the University for detection of plagiarism. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between The University of Western Ontario and Turnitin.com (http://www.turnitin.com/).



If you are unable to meet a course requirement due to illness or other serious circumstances, you must provide valid medical or supporting documentation to the Academic Counselling Office of your home faculty as soon as possible. If you are a Science student, the Academic Counselling Office of the Faculty of Science is located in WSC 140, and can be contacted at scibmsac@uwo.ca.


For further information, please consult the university’s medical illness policy at http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/academic_policies/appeals/accommodation_medical.pdf.


Accessibility Statement

Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also wish to contact Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at 661-2111 x 82147 for any specific question regarding an accommodation.



Academic Accommodation for Medical Illness

        for work representing 10% or more of the overall grade in the course:

If you are unable to meet a course requirement due to illness or other serious circumstances, you must provide valid medical or other supporting documentation to your Dean's office as soon as possible and contact your instructor immediately.  It is the student's responsibility to make alternative arrangements with their instructor once the accommodation has been approved and the instructor has been informed. In the event of a missed final exam, a "Recommendation of Special Examination" form must be obtained from the Dean's Office immediately. For further information please see:



A student requiring academic accommodation due to illness should use the Student Medical Certificate when visiting an off-campus medical facility or request a Record's Release Form (located in the Dean's Office) for visits to Student Health Services. The form can be found here:





Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to

Mental Health@Western 

for a complete list of options about how to obtain help.



        for work representing less than 10% of the overall grade in the course:

There are no such components in this course.



 Links to the policies on Accommodation:


Link to policy on Accommodation for Illness


(which includes a link to the Student Medical Certificate)


Link to the policy on Accommodation for Students with Disabilities



Link to the policy on Accommodation for Religious Holidays




Link to the website for Registrarial Services:


Link to services provided by the University Students’ Council: