Monday, March 24, 2008

Some random notes around the Education Project

After a long time the IRC meeting for the Education Project started. However, Murphy being himself dropped in and an unforeseen power outage kept me out of the IRC.

(Note to myself: stop using qualifying words like unforeseen and the like. It is like saying "undue" stress. Every kind of stress is undue, there's no due stress)

The idea I had was to talk about two things:

o Community Building around the Education Project

o Visibility of the Education Project

the other aspect which is being addressed right now (by Eric B) is development work for OO.o

A project has at least 3 kinds of participants in a "community" : creators, consumers and critics. The objective is to use the constructive feedback of the last group along with the enthusiasm of the second to increase the tribe of the first. Sometime back there had been a singular post about Campus Representatives for OO.o. SUN already has a Campus Representative Program for Solaris / OpenSolaris and it is a good way to increase the outreach into the diverse cultures and processes of education that we have across the globe. A CR would be a person who can motivate, coach, guide potential creators / contributors towards appropriate mentors within the Education Project. Additionally, a CR should also be someone who can create, sustain and encourage local communities in the local area. It would be impossible for the Education Project to reach out to all possible places unless there are bonds with community leaders already strongly forged.

To ensure that CRs have things to talk about, there is a requirement to put in place:

+ more development tasks in addition to the ones already put on the wiki

- development tasks which have a resonance locally in addition to being valuable for OO.o project as a whole (the IndLinux project has been talking about doing things around enchant and spell checkers)

+ an increased participation and collaboration between existing incubator and recognized projects within OO.o when it comes to this project

+ "classrooms" for contributors on a regular schedule from developers within OO.o projects

- providing potential contributors with content, lessons, HowTo and mentoring them towards producing code

All of the above will require much more than the few of us in the Education Project. It will require some bit of help from SUN - towards creating the charter for Campus Representatives and participation of its developers.

OO.o is not part of GSoC and was not part of GHOP, so there's a chance that we will lose out on a substantial part of the student population who wish to contribute to a FOSS project. This would require that the visibility of the Education Project as a single window towards getting mentoring for contribution to various OO.o projects, be increased in a much larger quantum now. That can happen via blogs, talks, presentations, content on wiki.

The way I see it, as on date we have a numerous good ideas. But not much in terms of actual proposals eg. wants to coach xy students in . Unless we have proposals, the fear I have is that we might end up building a community for which we don't have anything to offer.

Before OO.o Conference at Beijing, we need to target getting in place:

+ classrooms (starting April at least 3 a month)

+ a much more richer task list

+ Campus Representative Program (at least 50 CRs)

I am proposing that we keep the focus on creating curricula on the back-burner for the moment.

Thoughts, feedback and criticisms appreciated and welcome