I have been busy for the past few weeks working with Asst. Professor Becka Morgan and her students at Western Oregon University where they are doing a test pilot class focusing on Open Source.
Asst. Professor Morgan selected Ubuntu as the Open Source project she wanted to focus on for this first pilot class and set out to connect with the Ubuntu Community. A few months back we connected and started the work of putting together a list of volunteer mentors which her students could access through their course and seek mentoring.
I feel that it is key for Academia to do much more than just use Free Open Source Software in the classroom and I think the key ingredient to having a solid course that focuses on Free Open Source Software is to get students engaged through mentorship so they can be guided on how to successfully get involved in all the various ways to contribute to a project.
At our Ubuntu Global Jam at FreeGeek last Sunday the Ubuntu Oregon LoCo came together with a handful of those students to spend an entire day learning about source packages and to report and fix bugs.
It is this close engagement that will give students they key to walking away with a stronger grasp of how to contribute to an open source project and while I do not believe our model of mentoring has gone without glitches and could use improvement I am hopeful that we can refine this model and improve the mentorship process.
I appreciate all of my fellow mentors who have been working to get the right resources in these students hands and appreciate the interest of the WOU students many of whom are attending our events and staying engaged in other ways.