[TOS] encouraging software profs to assign open government projects

Jennifer Bell jennifer at visiblegovernment.ca
Thu Oct 22 18:59:54 UTC 2009

Hi All,

Dave Humphries and I started a thread a month ago on how to encourage
software profs to assign open gov. projects in class.  Sorry for the
long delay in reply -- my previous reply, it seems, was eaten.  The
thread is here:

The gist of it was:

A. As a non-profit promoting open government in Canada, my
organization would like to create a framework for encouraging
professors to assign open government projects in class (these projects
are usually open source)
B. We have a small amount of money set aside for scholarships for this purpose
C. QUSTION: What, in addition to money, should exist to help software
profs learn about the projects and be motivated to assign them.  Are
there good examples to follow?

To answer the questions on my email that came up:

1.  What do open government projects look like (Dave)

The projects of MySociety and Sunlight Foundation are great examples,
some links:

>From Sunlight:

>From MySociety:

As well as other grass-roots projects such as civicdb:

We (http://visiblegovernment.ca) also have our own projects around
government expense visualization, and access to information in Canada.

2.  Do you know about MySociety and the Sunlight Foundation?

Yes, MySociety in the UK, and the Sunlight Foundation in the US, were
the inspiration for our organization in Canada.

3.  Have you had a look at HFOSS?

Thank you for the link to HFOSS -- that's a great example.  Though,
many of the links to projects on the HFOSS link back to the HFOSS main
page, so it's hard to get a good idea of the participation rate or
health of the projects.   Does anyone know how HFOSS first got
momentum?  What are the characteristics of the healthiest project
organziations that make them that way?

In general, any thoughts you might have on:

 - how to market the idea to get professors interested
 - what resources should exist for professors and students

Would be very welcome.

As an aside, some professors are already starting to create open
government classes.  Here is one from U of T:

And one from Princeton:

Jennifer Bell

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