Forum OpenACS Q&A: Google Summer of Code

Posted by Matthew Burke on
It's once again time to think about the Google Summer of Code program. For those not familiar with the program, Google will pay a student large chunks of money to spend the summer working on coding for our project.

I'm willing to coordinating this and act as mentor.

Let me know what you think.


2: Re: Google Summer of Code (response to 1)
Posted by Dave Bauer on
Sounds excellent. Can you stop by the OCT meeting on Wedneday at 1700UTC?
3: Re: Google Summer of Code (response to 2)
Posted by Matthew Burke on
Unfortunately, not. I'll be in a meeting all day on Wednesday.

One thing to mention before you guys discuss at the meeting: if it would be advantageous to do so, I can apply with the sponsoring organization being St. Mary's College. It's not entirely clear to me after reading through Google's FAQ how "real" an organization has to be to be a sponsor. It's something I was planning on emailing them about.


4: Re: Google Summer of Code (response to 3)
Posted by Dave Bauer on
The .LRN Consortium can be the sponsoring organization, I believe. I'll mention it at the .LRN meeting and OCT meetings. Thanks!

Tuesday 17:00 is .LRN meeting and Wednesday 17:00 is the OCT meeting. If you can make either one that would be great. Alternatively, if you can come at a different time, we can try to arrange a specific meeting.

5: Re: Google Summer of Code (response to 3)
Posted by Dave Bauer on
On the off chance we don't get in, I see the Squeak community organzied their own summer program. We could do the same thing if we find students interested in participating as long as we have people willing to mentor students, and someone to organize it.
6: Re: Google Summer of Code (response to 4)
Posted by Caroline Meeks on
What are the pros and cons of having St. Mary's sponsor vs dotLRN Consortium.

dotLRN Consortium is happy to sponsor but I would think that having a college sponsor would be more prestigious? Does co-sponsorship make sense?

You don't have to goto a meeting to get dotLRN Consortium sponsorship, just email me directly and I will work it.

Thanks for doing this!

7: Re: Google Summer of Code (response to 6)
Posted by Matthew Burke on
I can make the OTC meeting on Wednesday -- and it might be worth doing just so we can talk.

I don't know if there are any pros/cons to having one or the other group sponsor.


8: Re: Google Summer of Code (response to 1)
Posted by Matthew Burke on
Later than I had planned, but here is a draft application. Fire away! Don't worry about spelling, grammar, etc. Both I and my wife will proof it before submission (which will probably have to be done by Carl).

Note that anyone who winds up being sponsor, backup sponsor, mentor, or backup mentor will need to have a google account. In particular, the backup sponsor has to have a google account and respond to Google _before_ they will accept our application.


<h2>About Your Organization</h2>

  1. What is your organization's name?

    The .LRN Consortium.

  2. What is your organization's home page?

  3. Describe your organization.

    The .LRN Consortium is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit corporation focused on creating and supporting a freely available suite of web based educational applications to support learning communities. Our mission is to convene a global community of innovative people and organizations in educational technology to share knowledge and applications using open source principles.

    Our goal is to:

    • provide the premier toolkit for innovation in educational technology and research collaboration
    • support education and research communities with advanced collaboration tools
    • provide a scalable architecture based on open industry standards
    • create a sustainable and affordable platform adaptable to local languages and cultures


    The .LRN Consortium is governed by member institutions and supported by public and private sponsors. In consultation with Consortium members, the Board of Directors sets strategic direction and provides financial and operational oversight. In its operations, the Consortium:

    • coordinates software development
    • ensures a reliable release process
    • supports quality assurance and certification
    • provides framework for legal due diligence
    • acts as a clearing house for communication
    • shares best practices with the community
    • undertakes marketing and promotion


    Membership in th Consortium is not required in order to use the .LRN software or to participate in the worldwide community dedicated to developing innovative educational software. The principal benefit of membership is the ability to set priorities and influence consortium operations and goals. Any organization, regardless of its size or capability, may join the consortium for a very modest fee. Please contact us if your organization would like to join.

  4. Why is your organization applying to participate in GSoC 2007?
    What do you hope to gain by participating?

    We have four goals for our participation in GSoC 2007. First, we believe .LRN is an exciting and challenging development opportunity for students interested in education and open source. Second, we believe our participation in GSoC 2007 will yield an influx of new developers interested in further the project in addition to any students we may work with. Third, the ideas listed on our projects page are items that many of our stakeholders have a specific interest in seeing completed. Fourth, we are confient that our participation in GSoC 2007 will expose .LRN to a wider audience of potential adopters.

  5. Did your organization participate in GSoC 2005 or 2006?


  6. If your organization has not previously participated in GSoC, have you applied in the past?


  7. What license does your project use?

    The GNU General Public License (FIXME: version ???)

  8. URL for your ideas page:

  9. What is the main development mailing list for your organization?

    We do not use a mailing list. Coordination of development is done using the forums found at Note that for time critical discussions, our forums support email notification at several intervals.

  10. Where is the main IRC channel for your organization?


  11. Does your organization have an application template you would like to see students use?

    FIXME: Not sure about this. Perhaps the module development tutorial?

  12. Who will be your backup organization administrator?

    FIXME: I think the backup admin should be another member of the .LRN Board...

<h2>About your Mentors</h2>

  1. What criteria did you use to select these individuals as mentors? Please be as specific as possible.

    Our mentors were self-selected. That is, they had an interest in promoting the general goals of the project, seeing particular aspects of the platform developed, and an interest/need in providing summer opportunities for students. So they received permission from the .LRN Board of Directors to put this application forward.

  2. Who will your mentors be?

    Carl Robert Blesius, Matthew Burke and FIXME: ???

<h2>About the Program</h2>

  1. What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students?

    Our plan consists of the following steps: organize the work so that concrete deliverables can be achieved in relatively short durations; provide feedback to the students from users who are including the students' deliverables in their production sites; mentors will interact with students on at least a semi-weekly basis; finally, identify potential backup developers who can continue the work of any student who bails.

  2. What is your plan for dealing with disappearing mentors?

    First, we believe our mentors have strong personal and professional motivation to see the program completed. For example, one mentor, Matthew Burke, is intending to present a paper describing the experience at an upcoming Consortium for Computer Science at Colleges regional conference. Also both mentors have a stake in seeing the project successfully completed because they are both users of our software.

    There still is, however, some possibility of an occurence that will prevent one or more mentors from completing the program. To protect against that eventuality, we have identifed FIXME: ??? backup mentors who will receive periodic project updates so that they may step in if necessary.

  3. What steps will you take to encourage students to interact with your project's community before, during and after the program?

    The first step is to have students post progress reports to our development forums and the mentors will ensure that for each progress report, several community members respond with constructive criticism. Second, we will have students make presentations to our irc planning meetings. Finally, we will assist students FIXME: How? in delivering presentations to conferences such as SIGCSE, CCSC, etc.

  4. What will you do to ensure that your accepted students stick with the project after GSoC concludes?

    As mentioned above, we have several activities planned so students interact with our community. We believe that encoraging a feeling of membership in the community will help keep students involved. In addition we plan to encourage students to generate additional development tasks, quickly provide feedback from people who are actually using their code, invite them to consult with users wanting to include their work, asking them for feedback both during and after the summer on how the program is going, finally, we will encourage students to help us interest their educational institutions in making use of .LRN. We feel this latter tactic can be quite effective because it will put our participating students in dual roles as user and developer.

9: Re: Google Summer of Code (response to 1)
Posted by Matthew Burke on
Oh, I did this backwards....

I just created a wiki page where we can list the project ideas. You can find it at

Posted by Don Baccus on
Carolyn pinged me after you posted this, and suggested I offer myself as a backup mentor. I think it's a good idea.

What do I have to do? I have a google account (my e-mail address is available here at

11: Re: Google Summer of Code (response to 1)
Posted by Nima Mazloumi on
I offer also to be a mentor. is a gmail account sufficient?
Posted by Matthew Burke on
Thanks Nima. Yes, a Gmail account is sufficient.


Posted by Matthew Burke on

Nothing more needed on your part (although adding to the project idea page on the wiki would be good...)


Posted by Matthew Burke on

Can you email me ( your gmail address please.



15: Re: Google Summer of Code (response to 8)
Posted by Carl Robert Blesius on

It is great that you are making this happen.

I will put it all together by the end of the day today and apply.

Please put general info on project ideas into the wiki (noticed you hadn't added those yet). I am going to edit them later based on solicitation pages created by accepted organizations.

I will send you my personal contact info so we can coordinate offline if needed later today.

Please send me gmail addresses of any mentors that have contacted you.


16: Re: Google Summer of Code (response to 1)
Posted by Tomasz Kosiak on
As I had submitted Tcl/Tk Community GCoS2007 application I was monitoring Google Code website. They've just announced accepted mentor organizations. It seems that nor .dotLRN/OpenACS neither Tcl/Tk Community has been accepted.

I've just send the inquiry to support address to see what was wrong with my application. I'm just curious why .dotLRN/OpenACS was not accepted either though your application seemed to me more polished?

Posted by Carl Robert Blesius on
I will comment on this later. I got some feedback from the people running the program and an alternative application option for .LRN.
Posted by Matthew Burke on

I would certainly be interested in more details as you have time. In retrospect there are several things I would have done differently in putting the stuff together. However, I've been looking over the list of accepted projects and several of them look quite weak---I'm really wondering what they didn't like about our proposal.


Posted by Carl Robert Blesius on
Hi Matthew,

based on the response I got it basically had to do with being late to the game (apparently there were a lot more organizational applications this year and being late on it did not help us).

I actually ended up getting feedback from one of the main organizers of the program about our application. She encouraged us to apply a few days early next year (sounds like we are the kind of organization they are looking to support).

After getting this info I spammed her and the GSoC team more than a few times begging. It didn't help us get in, but it did result in the following suggestion for promising .LRN student projects in 2007:

1. Have the students apply and pick Google as the mentoring organization.

2. Reference a .LRN advisor with the application.

3. Remind the group about their suggestion (I am happy to resend)

The student applications deadline has been extended to:
Tuesday, March 27, 2007, 12:00 AM UTC