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Drumbeat/events/Festival/program/training missions

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Interactive training missions for learning essential open source collaboration skills. Learn how to make patches and chat on IRC, and help improve this community resource to spread free software culture.

Normally, people learn skills like IRC and patch contribution in public -- so newbies fear interactions with the community. We've built these free-software, online interactive experiences where you can play with the tools in a safe space. We want more people to try the training missions and help improve them -- by hacking on them, integrate them into their curricula, and help us minimize cultural bias. Hosted by OpenHatch.

Summary

Normally, people learn skills like IRC and patch contribution in public -- they send email to mailing lists, chat with people online, and get told they're not doing things correctly. The result is that newbies fear interactions with the community.

By contrast, these "training missions" are interactive web pages that teach you the skills by taking you through a story. They're free-software, online interactive experiences where you can play with the tools in a safe space. We want more people to try the training missions and help improve them -- by hacking on them, integrate them into their curricula, and help us minimize cultural bias. Hosted by OpenHatch.

What do you want to achieve? (goal)

Our goals are to:

  • Introduce people to open source participation skills, like patches and version control.
  • Show the community these interactive tools, and discuss how (and if) they can be used by the community.
  • Get feedback on how they can be improved.
  • Learn about new missions we should make (and perhaps make them during the conference).

Who should come? How many? For how long? (audience)

Who:

  • Anyone interested in learning open source community skills.
  • People who bring new people into the open source community, either officially through teaching a class, or through unofficially through life.
  • Anyone interested in interactive teaching, especially through the web.

How long:

  • We would love to have people flow in and out of the activity. People should preferably bring their on laptops (but we'll provide a demo machine, too). This can take between 5 and 20 minutes.
  • People who want to improve the training missions can stay longer, and we can collaborate on changes, translations, or new missions. This can take as long as you want, including all three days of the festival! (-:

What will they do when they get there? (activities)

  • Try the interactive "training missions"
  • Tell us how they can be better
  • Identify points of collaboration, such as ways to integrate the training missions into web education curricula
  • Discover missing explanations and missing training missions
  • Learn about the broader OpenHatch organization and development community

What will you / they have at the end? (outputs)

Through discussion and experience, participants will:

  • Gain online collaboration skills through the training missions -- and the skills apply to non-code contributions as well as code contributions
  • Provide critiques of the teaching style
  • Gain experience with interactive tools that they may wish to apply to totally different arenas

Additional background and context

These Training Missions were created this past summer through Google Summer of Code by Asheesh Laroia and John Stumpo. Many other people have provided invaluable feedback. You can play with the current ones at https://openhatch.org/missions/ . They're in "beta," which means they have some rough edges, but they are already ready for use.

OpenHatch seeks to make the free software world accessible to more people. We also index "bitesize" volunteer opportunities in open source projects and help project maintainers get new contributors. You can read more at http://openhatch.org/.

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