Operating principles for group...

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Matt Jadud

Apr 3, 2012, 8:22:03 AM4/3/12
to craftofel...@googlegroups.com
Hi all,

For some, The Open Source Way is "old hat" from being at Red Hat. (Ha!
Always start with a joke, they say...) However, I want to drop one or
two things to the group about the principles that should help frame
our discussion. Danny, given that you're stepping into a space with
people you don't know, it is my hope that you trust me and take these
ideas to heart.

The reason we formed this group/list is so we can discuss and design a
first course in Electronics that 1) meets the curricular criteria laid
out for Berea (with the knowledge that some parts of that might evolve
over time), 2) is motivated by the hands-on craft of electronics in
the AC and DC realm, and 3) is open.

You have expertise in the one place that is most important: Berea. In
this regard, your voice is critical and invaluable. So, when it comes
to working with myself, Mel, and Sebastian, never hesitate to share
what you're thinking in this space.

In fact, a few principles:



As we discuss and begin development of material, do not be afraid to
contribute. Do not continually ask for permission to suggest things,
edit things, or throw things out. We will typically work with systems
that automatically preserve the complete history of what we are doing,
so that we can all *be bold* in making changes to our own and others'
work. Anything that doesn't work well can always be reverted---and,
hence, no change has even the remotest chance of being "damaging."

Likewise, you are a full peer in this dialog (as are we all). Mel (who
you will meet later this summer) is just starting her PhD at Purdue in
Engineering Education after having kicked around the world of open
source and community building for a few years. (That's an
oversimplification of Mel; I recently saw her described as a
"superhacker extraordinaire," but I digress.) Sebastian is wrapping up
his second year at Olin College, has been diving in and contributing
to open source projects for years, and brings some timely experience
in exactly the kinds of courses we're going to be trying to design. I
think you know Dr. Jan.

My point being: don't hesitate to join in. It does not matter what you
do or do not know; it does matter if you are silent, and that isn't
what we're looking for. We're currently just brainstorming and
exploring as a lead-up to the summer work, and you should chime in
anywhere and everywhere you think is relevant.


Actually, I've just encapsulated most of The Open Source Way:


1. We believe in an open exchange.
2. We believe in the power of participation.
3. We believe in rapid prototyping.
4. We believe in meritocracy.
5. We believe in community.

See the link, and that sums things up. I'll stop blathering. Ah. One other.


We're going to be working in the open on this project. That means
we'll be discussing ideas before they're "fully baked," and the intent
is that we will generate a better final product by sharing our
thinking and work at every stage of development (as opposed to waiting
until it is "finished.") In fact, the explicit acknowledgement of this
model is that nothing is every *done*, it is just *due*. We won't be
"done" with this course by September, nor will we be "done" with it in
December. It will simply be *due* by September, and we have to deliver
it and evaluate it over the coming term. Then, revision happens.

So, we release our work early (even if it is partial), and we release
it often (or, continuously, if it is open). Hence, while we may debate
things with vigor, and triage ideas like they're going out of style,
we know that whatever we come up with is just another step.


These principles are typically different than any coursework you've
done in the past. Dive in, contribute, and help us make this
excellent. Likewise, the openness in this process means that anyone
can join in the discussion and contribute. If you have classmates that
you think would like to be part of the conversation, they should feel
free to join, to whatever level they feel is appropriate.

I think that's enough for now. When I have infinite time, I'll turn
this into a page on the website. In the meantime, it's fine here, and
we can point to it in the discussion archive for any other people who
join us.

Welcome to the team. :)


Mel Chua

Apr 3, 2012, 8:53:48 AM4/3/12
to craftofel...@googlegroups.com
For the record:
(if enough blogging on the topic starts to happen, we'll set up a
blog/aggregator/thingy, but for now it's out there and that's fine with
me because I should be writing a paper instead.)

Matt, that was one of the best explanations of what it means to practice
the open source way for an academic (or any sort of) project that I have
ever seen. I will be shamelessly stealing it for all sorts of stuff.
Thank you, sir.


Mel Chua

Apr 8, 2012, 7:23:48 PM4/8/12
to craftofel...@googlegroups.com
> Actually, I've just encapsulated most of The Open Source Way:
> http://opensource.com/open-source-way
> 1. We believe in an open exchange.
> 2. We believe in the power of participation.
> 3. We believe in rapid prototyping.
> 4. We believe in meritocracy.
> 5. We believe in community.

As a break from talking about learning objectives, this video
encapsulates some of these principles of momentum-building in a few
minutes: http://www.ted.com/talks/derek_sivers_how_to_start_a_movement.html

Excerpt from transcript:

First, of course you know, a leader needs the guts to stand out and be
ridiculed. But what he's doing is so easy to follow. So here's his first
follower with a crucial role; he's going to show everyone else how to
follow. Now, notice that the leader embraces him as an equal. So, now
it's not about the leader anymore; it's about them, plural. Now, there
he is calling to his friends. Now, if you notice that the first follower
is actually an underestimated form of leadership in itself. It takes
guts to stand out like that... So first, if you are the type, like the
shirtless dancing guy that is standing alone, remember the importance of
nurturing your first few followers as equals so it's clearly about the
movement, not you.

Mel Chua
PhD student, Open Source & Education focus
Purdue University, Dept. of Engineering Education

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