Short version: Marketing and Design have help for the remainder of F13,
and we're working to scaffold 40 newcomers quickly into helping with
specific deliverables (Marketing) and tickets (Design).
Longer version: Over the next month, this statement will become more and
"During the Spring 2010 semester, 40 first-year students from Allegheny
College dove into the Fedora project. Specifically, with the help of the
excellent people on the Marketing and Design teams, they engaged in
their first experience as open source contributors, learning about
blogging, wikis, IRC, and how to create positive change as part of a
I'll be writing more details to the lists as we find them - I'm working
with the professors and will be on campus for another week working with
the class directly. We're trying to be as open and transparent about
this process as possible, but there's also the tension of not wanting to
completely overwhelm students with what's going on. We are learning how
to build this kind of scaffolding - it's going to be frustrating at
times from the community side because the first thing we need to figure
out in bridging the classroom + the community is how to communicate.
It means we may be doing some things opposite of the way we'd usually
encourage people to get started in FOSS - experimenting with private
emails that later get forwarded to public lists, etc - at least during
initial attempts to see if they work out. Basically, we're trying to get
them all to work TOSW, but maybe in order to do that quickly we have to
start in a less-TOSW manner so we can ramp up to full "yeah, community
participation makes sense!"-fu as fast as possible for as many people as
possible. We'll do a full report + disclosure of everything after the
semester ends (right after F13 releases, actually). I suppose what I'm
trying to say is "yes, we're doing strange things; we realize that some
of what we're doing is *not* normal, and we're trying our best to be
transparent and explain things as we go along, but "the best we can do"
may not be "good enough to make sense" for a little longer.
Anyway! That disclaimer aside, I'm quite excited - we've got them on
small projects like "make a webpage for this new spin" and "develop and
teach a microblogging outreach strategy." We'll see more as the week
The students hang out on #allegheny (sometimes - they're still learning
IRC, so the channel is still rather empty) if you want to lurk and say
hello; that's their sandbox to play in for the class (creating a safe
space where the profs can announce things like assignments, lab hours,
etc is important), though we'll be pulling them into #fedora-mktg and
#fedora-design as much as possible as well.
Please please please ping me on IRC (mchua) or email or anywhere if you
have any questions, thoughts, ideas, concerns, and especially
suggestions on how we can be more transparent about what we're doing -
that's a big focus of mine, trying to teach people here how to turn on
the firehose. We're going to learn a lot about what Fedora looks like to
newcomers as we go along - their end-of-term reflections are supposed to
be on that - and that, for me, is the most exciting part about all this.
We're learning how to help people help us.
That's an update for now, and a big setting-the-stage dump: more
thoughts coming as more things happen. Tomorrow morning (Tuesday,
11am-noon EST) is class again, so there may be a flurry of activity