I hope some of you will be interested in signing up for this new Open Wonderland course organized by one of our most active community members.
Learning in a Different Way
By José Domínguez (aka Josmas Flores)
Trinity College Dublin
Hello all! My name is José Domínguez (aka Josmas Flores) and I am a researcher at Trinity College Dublin, in Ireland. I have been a member of the Open Wonderland community for the last number of months, and you can generally find me on the forums or the development meetings on Wednesdays. It’s been such a great experience so far that I thought it would be a great time to give back to the community by organizing a development course. The course will be delivered through the Peer to Peer University (P2PU), an online community of open study groups.
The Peer to Peer University is a bit different. All work is done through P2P collaboration, and courses generally run for 6 weeks. You do not need to be an expert to organise a course, mainly because you will be a facilitator, as opposed to a teacher/lecturer. All you need is a collection of open accessible resources to run a course (you can also create your own), and make participants understand that they are ultimately responsible for their own learning.
I think this model fits the software profession perfectly, if you compare it with the individualised approaches of any ‘normal’ university. It reflects quite well how programmers learn after finishing ‘formal’ education, when we have to join the workforce.
You will not get a degree after finishing a course at P2PU, but you might get much more out of it.
About the course
Target audience: I am targeting participants with at least 2 years Java programming experience, be it in commercial environments or College/University.
Although you do not need any knowledge about Wonderland itself, you do have to be willing to work on your own, as well as in groups, with the documentation and resources available.
Participants are expected to know how to use tools such as subversion and ant, and be comfortable with working from the command line. The course will not cover these basics.
Please review the sign-up task before applying for the course.
In a pure peer-to-peer spirit, the syllabus is open to participants. My main idea is to create different groups, depending on the interests of the people attending, but all these can be organically changed.
Initially, all participants will join a “General Development ” group, that will tackle Wonderland module development with the goal of getting people up to speed in how to create modules. Work can continue through a “Scripting” group, with the intention of exploiting the vast possibilities of the scripting engine. We will also be exploring when scripting is more appropriate than Java module development.
Other groups that might emerge during the course are “SCM” (a software configuration management group to explore building and automation of the system, including source control and dependency management) , or “Automated Testing ”, a group to test the system from within.
During the course, I also intend to organize ‘Software Craftsmanship workshops’, in areas such as pair programming, software katas, randori, TDD, BDD. The idea is to introduce the techniques, and then try to find ways in which they could fit within a Wonderland development context.
This is a ‘distance learning collaborative experience’, and I do not expect people to be meeting face to face, but I do expect meetings avatar to avatar. It is definitely not the same, but in my opinion, is the closest experience to the real thing that I’ve experienced so far.
The initial idea is to meet at least once a week (for 1 hour) on one of the Open Wonderland community servers. Times will have to be decided after the sign-up process, and will reflect the geographic locations and timezones of the participants. I am willing to organise as many meetings as needed to accommodate all participants.
In summary, if you are interested in learning through technology, be it software development, testing automation, SCM, and so on, and you want to do it within an existing system, and more importantly, in a collaboratively, community-based way, please have a look at the course.
Dates: Starts on January 26th (2011), and runs (initially) for 6 weeks.
For schedule and syllabus, please follow the course link.