Undergraduate Capstone Open Source Projects

Some Ideas for Next Term

Posted by Greg Wilson on 2009/11/16

Here are three suggestions for improving UCOSP next term [1]; comments would be very welcome.

1. Have every mentoring project put together a list of 1 small task per week per student for the first four weeks of the project. The goal is to make sure that the mentors and the students are more organized and on the same page by the time the main work in the project starts. It will also serve as a weeding out period: students who can’t get four small tasks done are unlikely to be able to hack the rest of the course.

2. Require every project to have a mailing list that anyone can subscribe to. Everyone “gets” e-mail, even if other methods dominate in the actual development process of the project, and interested people (like faculty) can lurk.

3. For each week, require that either each student have their milestone done by the end of the week OR have written a blog post explaining what problems they ran into that prevented them from getting it done. It’s the “no free lunch” idea — you can drop a task, but not “just because”.

[1] Assuming we get enough students to run it — so far, we only have seven (!). Please help spread the word…

4 Responses to “Some Ideas for Next Term”

  1. plorimer said

    I think that the milestone idea is a really really good idea. Maybe they could be cooked up at the beginning of every week, or at the code sprint. I just find it hard to make my own deadlines and stick to them. If I HAD to stick to them, they couldn’t get pushed.

  2. onitony said

    I’d weight in to second the “1 small task per week” idea. It’s important to have some read-made goals to get a running start into the new project. At the beginning of the term, with Basie, we sort of had a list of tasks (all the broken tests), but we all stalled as it seemed like a big task that was intimidating and without much direction.

    Looking back at it now though, it all seems so trivial.

  3. […] know that I still put in a good amount of work, but I would have liked to put in more.  I liked the idea that “Greg” had (I know your dirty secret on this one Greg, and it’s safe with me ),  but I think it still […]

  4. I like your Point 3:
    We need to be able to drop a task it always happen in real life
    because of bad time estimation …
    But we should say why we didn’t make it.

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