First Advisor

Ellie Harmon

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Computer Science and University Honors


Computer Science


Portland State University, Service learning -- Moral and ethical aspects, Service learning -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Oregon -- Portland, Labor laws and legislation -- United States, Internship programs, Open source software, Free computer software




This literature review investigates Service Learning, the Capstone program at Portland State University, and the CS version of that Capstone program in particular in order to evaluate the ethical issues surrounding them. To achieve this, this paper is split into a few sections. There is an explanation of Service Learning, and a brief overview of its history. Following that is a summary of the history of the Capstone Program at Portland State including a description of the CS Capstone program at Portland State. After that the paper investigates some of the legal challenges surrounding the use of free labor. Next, the paper will take a look at the open source movement, the status of Open Source software as a public good, and the degree to which it mitigates the ethical challenges involving free labor. The paper comes to the conclusion that there’s a need for advocates and practitioners of Service Learning and similar types of experimental learning to reflect on the ethics of these types of pedagogies, specifically on the obligations of the university and the other organizations involved towards the students. The paper also makes some suggestions as to how the CS Capstone at Portland State can be improved.


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