Last week I was busy teaching a one week intensive course on Mozilla development, aimed specifically at developers new to the project. In total I had 40 students go through it with me, and the feedback was amazing, for example:
"I was able to learn quite a lot in such a short amount of time. The challenge was great, especially with a topic I knew so little about, that made the outcome much more rewarding. I can definitely see myself getting involved with the open source community, it wasn't as intimidating as I thought."
"...I will start thinking how to contribute my skills to Mozilla projects"
The group I had was really enthusiastic and ready for a challenge. I suspected going in that with an intensive focus, students with little or no background could get up to speed quickly. Having finished the week, I'm now convinced of this. I've had numerous meetings with, and emails from, students looking to continue and get tied into Mozilla projects. It's a rewarding feeling, to say the least.
I had planned to do five days, but we were snowed-out on the fifth (the joys of life in Canada :)). Here are my on-line materials from the first four days:
- Day 1 -- Introduction to Open Source and Mozilla
- Day 2 -- Building Mozilla from Source
- Day 3 -- Developing Mozilla
- Day 4 -- Debugging and Testing
I'd appreciate your feedback on other areas to cover, corrections, suggestions, etc. My plan is to continue developing more curriculum to be delivered in the future. If you have ideas for me about next steps, please send me an email.
One of the things I emphasized throughout the week was the importance of community in the development process. So I'd be setting a bad example if I didn't pause to thank those in the community who lent their support to this course. A great big round of applause goes out to: Mike Shaver, Mike Connor, Reed Loden, Ted Mielczarek, Benjamin Smedberg, Robert Sayre, Rob Helmer, Jesse Ruderman, Mark Finkle, Gavin Sharp, Ben Hearsum, Tom Aratyn, Mark Paruzel, Marcia Knous, Juan Becerra, Jay Patel, and Carsten Book. Apologies to anyone I'm missing off the top of my head. I really do appreciate all the support you gave in terms of helping me with my materials, answering questions, and generally taking an interest.
For those who are thinking of doing similar things at other institutions, please get in touch. I'm starting to iron out the wrinkles with this, and would be happy to pass on some of the wisdom acquired through mistakes I've made as well as successes.
Someone asked me on IRC the other day what I would do when these courses were over--would I still work on Mozilla? All I can say is, I hope so! I'm in too deep to turn back now, and I hope I can keep doing this into the future. Working on Mozilla and teaching the platform is a lot of fun and a great challenge.