Growing the Mozilla Education community

Mark blogged the other day about active Mozilla student projects that have been happening recently.  It was encouraging to see so many listed together.  It was even more encouraging to hear from people saying, "Hey, what about this great stuff happening over here?"  Good question, and thanks for letting us know!

Growing the community of people working on education in a Mozilla context is one of our primary goals.  Many of the lessons Mozilla has learned building world-class software products can be applied to how we enable and support those in education: be open, be collaborative, share in community, leverage the open web.

Another lesson we've learned from Mozilla is that people contribute in different ways, and there is no one size fits all approach.  The same is true for Mozilla and education, where each school, student, and professor is different and has different things to offer.  We want to make sure that all of these different approaches and work have a home in Mozilla and Mozilla Education.

There are a number of ways that we are working to build this community, and I hope you'll get involved in one or more of the following:

  1. This coming Tuesday May 19th we have a Mozilla Education call scheduled to connect professors who are actively teaching Mozilla realted material, running Mozilla projects, or are interested in working with us in the near future.  We've invited more than 20 professors from the US, Canada, Italy, India, France, etc. and it should be a great chance to meet and discuss our common goals.
  2. On* Thursday May 21 and Friday May 22* we will be running a short "Mozilla for Professors" course at the Mozilla Toronto office.  If you'd like to join us, please send me an email for more details.
  3. James Boston, our summer intern, is working to create an appropriate landing page for Mozilla Education, which properly meets the needs of students, professors, the community, etc.  He's blogging as he goes, and would love feedback and input.
  4. I'm focused on teaching materials and resources for others like me who want to bring students into the Mozilla context.  I'll have a chance to pilot-test some of these in July when I teach at Red Hat's Professor's Open Source Summer Experience.  All of this is gearing up for thinking about how to do an open, virtual version of our Mozilla course at Seneca.  We're looking for other institutions who want to work with us in offering a course about Mozilla that is run like Mozilla (i.e., on the web and in the open).  If that's you, please get in touch.
  5. There's been a lot of interest on the Teaching Open Source mailing list in an idea first put forward by Andrew Tridgell to create a textbook for open source educators.  Frank and I have been thinking that a case study on the Mozilla project would be useful, both for this textbook, and also for Mozilla in general.
    Finally, if you're not a prof or a student, don't think we can't use your help.  Yesterday I heard from five community people wondering if a bug was suitable to be marked as a student-project.  In every case I was able to say 'yes,' and encouraged them all to flag their bugs using the student-project keyword.

Why do we ask you to do this?  When new students or professors come to us looking to get involved, it's a non-trivial exercise to find appropriate work for more than a few people at once.  It's not that we're short on bugs!  Getting student-project into your normal triage cycle and making it a habit is something we need all of Mozilla to do.  No student who is willing to work on something with us should be discouraged by not being able to find a project.  And follow the lead of Taras who is not only looking for good bugs, bug also 'fun' bugs!