Friday, 18 March 2011

Sakai accepted in GSoC 2011!

Great news for Sakai and potential GSoC applicants - the Google open source team have accepted us into GSoC 2011! This means the student application process starts now - get to know the project now and when applications open you'll have a head start. Get in touch on the Google Group or #sakai on Freenode. See you there!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Draft: 2011 application form for students

In previous years we asked students to send in their application forms as web pages, the idea being to demonstrate some skills in usability, communication, design and coding. It was a bit hit and miss, partly because not everyone has a hosting facility, so I've changed the application template to leave that out and instead encourage applicants to give us evidence of what they have done, and can do.  I'm sharing it here so the Sakai community can help me improve it, so this might change!

We don't require you to have worked on an open source project before, or to have worked on (or even used!) Sakai. We're just looking for enthusiastic people with great communication skills and the ability to create and build really usable web-based user interfaces. We hope that you'll find our application template fairly easy to fill out.  

Please note that we can give you feedback on your applications to help you make them stronger. If you have a draft application, contact the project mentor or share in on #sakai on Freenode and we will try to provide feedback and suggestions. The earlier you get in touch, the better we can help you make your application!

 This is what we're looking for:

 • you've invested time in familiarising yourself with Sakai
 • interest in Sakai's design choices and philosophy
 • skills and enthusiasm to take control of your projects
 • self-knowledge to know what you will find hard, what easy, what you can achieve in 13 weeks, and when to ask questions
 • able to work in a development community, or at least a team
 • able to create specifications, as well as execute them
 • unafraid to look at and skim through large amounts of code
 • experience in key technologies and languages expected in the project
 • some idea about usability and user-centric design
 • good communication skills - the results of your project will be more than code, so think of this application as a chance to showcase a few paragraphs of your writing

It's best not to treat this as a shopping list - just use the application template to tell us about yourself, give us some evidence of your skills and experience, and tell us why you'd like to work on a GSoC 2011 Sakai project. 
Here is the application template:

  1. Do you have a blog, home page or other feed? If so, what is the URL?
  2. Where are you at in your education? What are your educational and career plans and hopes?
  3. Why Sakai?
  4. Which project from the Sakai GSoC ideas page are you interested in?
  5. Why have you chosen this particular project?
  6. Explain how you plan to succeed in that project within the short time frame of the summer.  (Goals, risks, project stages, tools - we don't expect you to know everything already, but show us your thinking)

  7. Tabulate or list your language experience. Include any major frameworks, libraries and standards too.  Give a very brief summary of experience in each. Give links us to examples if you can.

  8. What experiences do you have participating in open source projects or development teams? Please back these up with links wherever possible
  9. Do you have any other activities this summer that will take a significant amount of time? (This is not about vacations - it is about responsibilities that you have in addition to the Summer of Code effort)
  10. (optional) Tell us anything else that would illustrate the qualities we're looking for.
What are the best ways for us to contact you?
  12. If your resume isn't on your home page, please paste it as text here.

GSoC 2011 kicks off

Google have announced the great news that they'll be running GSoC again in 2011, and needless to say Sakai project is applying to be a mentor organization.

We've received inquiries from some great potential applicants already so we're really hoping to be accepted.  I've been busy updating our blog and Google groups livery and, sending in our application to Google, and most importantly starting a new ideas page on Confluence.  I've already asked Ian Boston and Carl Hall, past GSoC mentors and two of Sakai OAE's leading lights, to put together project proposals, and I'm about to throw it open to the sakai-dev list.

If you're interested in applying as a student this year keep an eye on the ideas page - there will definitely be some projects up by March 11th when applications from mentoring orgs close, and more will probably appear up to when student applications open on March 28th.

In the meantime, take advantage of your head start by getting to know Sakai and getting in touch with any ideas of your own - I'd recommend starting in #sakai on or the Sakai-GSoC Google Group.