[Sugar-devel] Using open source communities to provide students an insight
quozl at laptop.org
Mon Jan 28 22:38:41 EST 2019
At linux.conf.au in the Open Education miniconf was Dr Peter Serwylo,
Lecturer, IT Education, Monash University, who spoke on "Using open
source communities to provide uni students an insight into the IT
With Google Summer of Code 2019 coming up, this talk had a lot of
interesting correlations. I recommend it for mentors.
Peter guides students through "capstone" units, analogous to the
"project" units of older degrees.
He speaks about several skills that must be developed for success;
- communication; many of the problems students have are people
problems, and they are resolved with communication skills, yet
students don't often appreciate that their problem was solved by
communication, instead thinking their problem was technical. We
have had students at Sugar Labs who hit a problem and go quiet, or
try to contact only one mentor, ignoring the community around them.
- requirements gathering; many students fail to gather the
requirements of a business or user, which leads to work not meeting
the requirements. We see this at Sugar Labs too; I've often given
some requirements that are politely ignored.
- prototyping; is often overlooked as an option; in our case at Sugar
Labs, you can prototype solutions in order to test assumptions and
verify requirements. A fixation on the final source code can make
it hard to write things that will be thrown away.
- user testing; at Sugar Labs some projects have not delivered
anything for user testing, or have delivered it far too late to
iterate again. A cause can be a proposal with a schedule that lists
only one release date.
- code review; students spend their early years discouraged from
colluding, yet code review is very important; at Sugar Labs many of
our students have focused only on their projects, and have not
reviewed the work of others.
It was an interesting talk.
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