This year we are working to make it easier for people to participate in, and get involved with Mozilla as part of educational work. Mozilla is already home to many students and other academics: you can't spend much time in the community without bumping into a someone attached to a school. Some are involved first as Mozilla Corporation interns, and then continue on with bugs they've started. Others contribute on an extracurricular basis. Still others are lucky enough to be able to work on Mozilla work directly as part of their course work. Some of our students are in high school, others college or university, others are grad students. Some are learning to program for the first time, while others are among the best programmers Mozilla has. Still others are working on Mozilla as designers, thinking about marketing, business, accessibility, etc.. That landscape is broad, and the population diverse. We think this is a good thing, and we want to encourage more of it.
In addition to having such diverse backgrounds, students contributing to the Mozilla project also have different levels of ability and interest. Going to a particular school, or having attained a certain level of education doesn't necessarily translate directly into how one might get involved. As a result we're looking to create and foster the community of students, mentors, teachers, and administrators such that "working on Mozilla" becomes a logical choice in academic settings, and one that is feasible for all who have the motivation to get started. Mozilla is a large and complex community and set of technologies, and getting started can be hard. Furthermore, different people need different things, and having a community of support to get them all moving forward is important.
If you're interested in being involved, you have a number of options:
- First, you can join our weekly Education Status calls. Yesterday we had our first call, and you can read the notes here.
- Join the #education irc channel on moznet. Taking what we've learned from hosting #seneca, we hope that this will be a safe place for students and other academics at any institution to approach Mozilla with questions, meet potential mentors, and perhaps most importantly, find one another so that work going on between institutions can be enabled.
We're in the process of setting up a newsgroup, the web site, and an education blog planet, so these will be other ways to get involved too. I'll add details about them as they become available.
In the meantime, if you're a student looking to work on Firefox as part of a course project, a professor wondering whether it's a good idea to have an entire class do the same (it is!), or a Mozilla contributor wondering what you can do to help us bring more new contributors to the project, please do get in touch with me.