[IAEP] Possible introductory lab

David Farning dfarning at sugarlabs.org
Sun Aug 23 15:51:12 EDT 2009

Just want to bring two groups together for a quick idea.

The two groups are Sugar Labs[1] and teaching open source[2].

On the TOS list we have seen a little bit of traffic about a course
and co-op program the Rochester Institute of Technology offered last
fall and will offer again this spring.

One of the ideas that I have been trying to wrap my head around is how
to provide a meaningful experience working with 'the community' in a
very brief 10 week course.  The first challenge is how to engage the
students in the community.  This doesn't look too hard.  There appear
to be several assignments or labs which can break the ice.

The harder challenge is how to engage the community with the students.
 As a general rule in organizations which are volunteer based, it can
be hard to get the attention of existing community members until one
has something useful to offer.  _Many_ newbie questions go unanswered.

I have been looking at bug reporting as the initial communication
channel.  Once existing community members see a couple of high quality
bug coming from someone they are much more willing to listen and help.
 But, filling good bug reports takes skill, practice, and experience.

Since watching a Sugar on a Stick[3] release meeting this morning, I
have been wondering about using a smoke test[4] as an introduction to
a specific project.   I am using OLPC and Sugar as examples, but any
other project would work just as well.  The idea would be for students
to immerse themselves in a project by running through and reporting on
a number of standard smoke test.

For example when working with Sugar Labs a student might run through a
series of tests which include:
1. Following a list of steps to create a SoaS USB key.
2. Boot their computer from the stick.
3. Log into sugar.
4. Test one or two activities.
5. Connect to server.
6. Test collaboration.
7. Provide feedback on 1-6

As a result of the session, the student would have a general
understanding of a particular project, they would have interacted with
'the community' via established channels, and they would have started
building their reputation as contributors.


1. http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Welcome_to_the_Sugar_Labs_wiki
2. http://teachingopensource.org/index.php/Main_Page
3. http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Sugar_on_a_Stick
4. http://wiki.laptop.org/go/1_hour_smoke_test

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