The following guidelines are offered to educators wishing to have their students work on projects within Mozilla. These are not hard rules, but ideas learned through experience bringing students into the Mozilla project over the past three years. Please let us know that you are attempting this so that we can help you and your students succeed and have a good experience.
- Whenever possible it is best to get students who are working on Mozilla projects to work directly in the community. This means bugs in Bugzilla, rather than hosting things on your own site or using your school's system. This helps to insure that project work doesn't happen outside the view of the Mozilla community. When the Mozilla community can see what's happening, they are more likely to give feedback, make corrections, contribute, and finally, to accept the work. This won't always be possible, and not every type of project is appropriate in a bug (e.g., Firefox extensions are not typically done this way).
- Students, and new contributors in general, typically do not yet know what has value in the community. Therefore, having students pick their own projects vs. working on existing bugs, has a lower likelihood of success (i.e., harder to find mentors, harder to get help, harder to get "traction"). We are happy to help you find projects for your students.
- It's a good idea to CC yourself on bugs your students are working on, so that you can follow them. Every time someone adds a comment to a bug, you'll get an email. You can also add a Watch to their wiki pages, and subscribe to their blog feed. Doing so will help keep you informed of everything that is going on, and make it easy to interact yourself.
- Leverage the people in Mozilla Education to help you find the right people to get questions answered, learn about technologies you don't already know, find teaching resources, etc.
- It is a good idea to buffer your students from the community, and vice versa. For example, your students will inevitably have questions that you would can and should answer. Also, students don't always know the limits of working in a community, and can need guidance to become effective communicators. Your help in this regard is invaluable. You can, for example:
- look at code before they ask for formal review
- help them formulate questions or responses to comments in a bug
- look for help from people in the community
- write effectively in their blog about the work they are doing