Should You Be Teaching at a Venture-Backed Private College?

Judging from my industry friends, some time in their professional career (usually later), the teaching bug bites them and they wonder about passing on their knowledge to a new generation of industrialists and entrepreneurs. A regular position as a professor at a German public university or a polytechnic (university of applied sciences) is often unattainable because of age and a missing or limited publication record, and even though I’d recommend it, contributing as an unpaid lecturer and building up a vita to go for an honorary professor position seems unattractive.

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What Software Vendors Don’t Seem to Understand About University Teaching

I often get approached by software vendors with the suggestion that I teach a course using one of their product tutorials. There are plenty of open source databases, operating systems, and cloud computing solutions who want to make it into my curriculum. Of course, vendors don’t always call their product tutorials by that name, but use labels like college-level courses or the like, but this doesn’t change the content: They are still product tutorials. I can’t teach those and no self-respecting professor will ever do this. Let me explain.

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Current Talks as of 2013-06-15

Prof. Dr. Dirk Riehle, M.B.A.

Professor of Open Source Software, Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-N├╝rnberg


This is a list of general-interest talks I currently have available; feel free to contact me if you’d like me to come and address any of these topics. Please see presentations/current-talks for some vidoes. In addition, there are always the research talks, see publications.

Table of Contents

  1. Sustainable Open Source
  2. Single-Vendor Commercial Open Source
  3. Open Source User Foundations
  4. The Open Source Developer Career
  5. Inner Source in Product Line Engineering
  6. Best of Our Empirical Open Source Research
  7. Open Source in Universit├Ątsprojekten

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My Open Source Research Agenda (as of 2009)

As you may seen in an earlier blog post, I’m starting in a new position as a professor of software engineering focussing on open source software at the University of Erlangen. In this post, I’m laying out my abbreviated research agenda as of September 2009.

The overarching goal of my group’s research is to comprehensively define “the next big” software development method. To that end, we will work to unify agile software development methods with open source software development. Agile methods can cope with changing requirements but don’t scale up well. Open source methods can cope with changing requirements and also scale up well. However, open source remains poorly understood as a development method and practices vary significantly from project to project. Agile methods are increasingly being adopted in the enterprise, but it is open source methods that innovate intra- and inter-company collaboration as well as vendor-customer relationships. Given prior significant research on agile methods, the focus of my group’s work will be on understanding open source methods and practices in both an engineering and a business context.

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Professor for Open Source Software at University of Erlangen

After 12 years of working in the high-tech industry, I’m changing gears. I left my prior industry job and am starting today, September 1st, as the “professor for open source software” in the computer science department of the Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Bavaria, Germany. This is a free (not tied to a chair) full (fully tenured) professorship. I’m looking forward to joining the department and collaborating with my new colleagues at the university, local industry, and beyond.

The professorship is well-funded and I’ll be seeking to hire Ph.D. students right away. For my research plans, please see the upcoming blog post. For now, I’ll let my favorite (ex-)Stanford comic strip do the talking. If you aren’t reading Ph.D. comics yet, check it out.