[TOS] Feed-back of the FOSSa conference in Lyon (France)

Mel Chua mel at purdue.edu
Wed Nov 2 19:33:18 UTC 2011

Hi, Ivaylo -- thanks for the writeup! (I'm sorry it's been so quiet 
here... I think everyone is dealing with the mid-semester crunch right 
now. I definitely am...)

> Albert also gave a brief overview of the activity of Research and
> Innovation Initiative on Free Software (Initiative pour la Recherche et
> l'Innovation sur le Logiciel Libre http://www.irill.org). It is a project
> between the  Universities of Paris 7, Paris 6 and Inria. It's main goal is
> to bring together researchers that do work on subjects close to the
> free/open source world.

I was looking at the website for IRILL, and was struck by the second 
part of their mission, which reads: "educational: adapt curricula for 
users, system administrators, and developers to prepare them for a 
computing infrastructure in which FOSS plays a prime role."

I wasn't able to find any more information about the education-specific 
activities, though... do you have any more information about what sorts 
of efforts are going on for the "education" part of IRILL's mission, and 
who we might get in contact with about it? (I apologize that I do not 
speak French, but others on this list do!) It sounds like there may be 
some natural overlaps of interest and potential collaborations here.

> After this talk, a talk by Benjamin Nguyen from Inria was given. He spoke
> about the experience in training high school CS teachers at the university
> UVSQ (http://www.uvsq.fr).  This initiatives was a consequence of the
> decision of the French education administration to create a CS class in
> the last year in the science grade in high-schools in France. Due to the
> lack of teachers in CS, some universities offered such a training for the
> wanna-be CS teachers.

I would love to hear more about this -- what role did open source play 
in the CS class? If there are any open course materials from the effort, 
there are some people on this list who are interested in high-school 
level CS education who might want to take a look.

> The next talk was one by Thierry Stoehr. He is involved with the promotion
> of Free Software technologies in his university (Paris 7). He is also a
> CEO of the Center for Free Software Training (Centre de Formation aux
> Logiciels Libres -- CF2L), a public structure which goal is to provide
> training on FLOSS technologies to the employees of the universities of the
> Paris region --
> administrative workers and teachers/researchers. The center is open for
> more than a year now and offers training courses in different technologies
> -- Mozilla (Firefox, Thunderbird), Libre/Open Office, LaTeX, Gimp,
> Inkscape etc... They also offer on demand training if sufficient number of
> people want to be trained on given technology.

It's great that there's software usage training happening in France... 
do you think Thierry and the others at CF2L might be interested in 
taking the next step and starting to offer classes on how to modify and 
contribute back to Free Software projects -- even incorporating it into 
the basic usage training?

For instance, let's say someone is learning to use Inkscape, and finds a 
bug or thinks of something that could be improved. If the class teaches 
the students how to get in touch with the Inkscape developer community 
-- how to find their mailing list, how to file a bug, etc -- the user 
could actually end up contributing back to the project.

> Finally Albert Cohen put an end of the Educational panel with a
> presentation of his experience on an Android teaching and his idea to
> create a Semester of Code program (SoC) inspired by the Google's Summer of
> Code...
> The efforts of Albert for now are focused in finding people to work with
> him on this initiative, to find companies that would like to provide some
> grants to students that wish to work on FLOSS projects and to create a
> web-site that would list FLOSS projects available to students.

In terms of projects available to students, I think Albert might want to 
get in touch with Greg Hislop, Heidi Ellis, and Ralph Morelli (all three 
are on this list) about http://xcitegroup.org/softhum/doku.php?id=about 
and also with others on this list about http://hfoss.org and 

We've also got a lot of Summer of Code people on this list from many 
different roles -- from students to mentors to the folks who were/are 
responsible for running the program at Google, and they have tons of 
awesome insight. Some of us have worked on programs inspired by Summer 
of Code; 
be a useful resource regarding how to think of the generic structure of 
the program. (I ran a "Summer of Content" program back in 2007 with One 
Laptop Per Child and the Commonwealth of Learning -- 
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Summer_of_Content_2007 is outdated now but 
maybe still useful in terms of people and organizations that got involved.)

Another program that might be useful to look at for inspiration is 
http://ucosp.ca/about/, which is for software capstone courses, and came 
out of Canada.

Ivaylo, if you could help us connect the speakers with the people on 
this list, that would be wonderful -- ask them to join the list and 
introduce themselves and we can start making connections directly. 
Thanks again for taking such great notes at the event!


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