A few weeks ago, we sent a call on foundation-list to try to organize the collaboration between the academic world and the GNOME community (Quim is the one who came up with the plan). Unfortunately, I didn't have a lot of time to follow up on this, but I will :-)

The interesting thing about this is that there are really two totally different sides about this: research and teaching. The research side is not easy, but I'm convinced we can make it work. There are research projects out there that can be relevant both to the GNOME community and to research groups. Do people remember that Ekiga started as the master thesis project of Damien? I'll probably post more about collaboration in the research field later. Just keep in mind that we can do a better job there. And if you want to help, you're really welcome! Send a mail to foundation-list or just tell me.

I've started to seriously think about the teaching side for a few weeks now. This is something I've dreamt of for quite longer, but a few recent events made it a bit more real. There were first the mails sent by Thierry Chappuis who, if I'm not mistaken, teaches at the EPFL, and who wanted some more information to write a course about object-oriented programming using GObject. Thierry plans to make the course materials freely available. Then, I got contacted by a student from the ENSEIRB (a French university, in Bordeaux), who then interviewed me for a university project: his task was to do a presentation introducing GNOME. I hope his presentation went well :-)

And today, I stumbled upon Emmanuel Fleury. Emmanuel has pushed for a course that is very interesting: Évaluation & Maintenance de Code[1] (at the ENSEIRB too!). Students have to analyze a free software, then think about how to resolve a specific bug of this software, and finally try to implement a new feature. I just love the whole idea of this course (it's really concrete, useful to the students, but also to the community) and, indeed, free softwares are often good examples of software engineering. Subversion was the free software used as a basis for this course last year, and Emmanuel told me that GNOME is considered for next year.

If you know of other courses that are related in some ways to GNOME, or of some teaching assistants/professors who are open about the idea of teaching using free software, tell me. With some more organization, I'm sure we can do interesting stuff, like making it easier to contribute to the community, but also getting students from two different universities to work online together on a specific problem and discover how such a collaboration works. Also, the community might be able to comment on the actual content of what's being taught and give useful comments to improve the course materials. And, you guessed it, it's also a good way to introduce students to free software (and maybe to get new contributors :-)).


[1] I'll let everyone guess what those French words mean. It's easy :-)