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GSoC 2014 Review


Notes from GSoC 2014 mentor review, October 1st 2014

Participants: Carson, Carsten, Dimitar, Henning, Jan, Albert, Daniel

Review from mentor and org admin perspective

How did the mentoring go? What are lessons learned? Are you interested in mentoring again?

Experiences
  • focus changing of project > required extended discussion regarding context, impression remained that bigger picture did not became clear
  • student needing big-picture-guidance, had longer but less frequent conversations
    • +1
  • "client - server" - project was good matchup (mentor working on server component)
Lessons learned
  • a more structured meeting process, fixed interval > better to track progress
  • scope & focus (is especially important for explorative projects)
  • concrete project requirements on mentor side are extremely helpful
  • external mentors must be actively kept in touch with by the org admins
  • be more rigorous during student screening (mandatory voicevideo conversations, ask students)
  • formal back-up mentors for all projects
  • students have a hard time creating concrete tasks from ideas, project descriptions (who are "big picture") and need a lot of support deciding "What's next?"
Feedback to Google
  • Do technical "screening" earlier (comparing bank accounts etc.)

Status of the code

What is merged, what not? What are your next steps with the code by the student? Is the student still a contributor?

  • Simona - alpha code, valuable input, Dimitar plans to pick up the code
  • Bouke - working beta code, experiences in mobile apps, supporting developments had to be made that are used
  • Dusyhant - beta release, some issues remain, actual deployment at customer still open; no further contributions, interest seems to be there
  • Rahul - code requires real world testing (in car etc.) which is planned, no official pull request yet, several pull requests planned; Rahul interest in seeing work through

GSoC 2015

  • both explorative and "taking workload off our backs" - projects are welcome
    • clustering of projects? synergy effects?
    • have "interesting"/"cool"/"fun factor" topics, societal challenges - if possible to integrate that with the code and mentor situation - support intrinsic motivation
  • be also flexible changing project focus depending on student skills
  • wiki page for ideas open now: GSoC2015ProjectIdeas
  • mentor mentoring (what do we want the students to learn)
    • ensure a learning experience (project management, developer experience, working organised/systematically)
  • have different mentoring phases (help more in the beginning, have explicit learning phases, give freedom in the end, be open about the process), provide room for own ideas (if project works well)
  • checklists and talking points for the mentors (for different meetings, for different projects phases)
  • offer education for mentors (How to mentor? How does a good timeline look for a project?)
  • offer stages for presentation (52N team meeting), "52°North GSoC conference" > motivation
  • have internal quarter-term reviews (of both mentoring and student project)
  • re-formulate usage of bonding period (make clear that working can/should start within that already)
  • provide examples for weekly reports and blogs posts (e.g. linking to existing good ones) to help new students
  • start real actual development during bonding period - if students don't deliver there, fail them on mid-term
Topic revision: r4 - 16 Jan 2015, DanielNuest
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