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Applying to work with Sakai for GSoC

We don't require you to have worked on an open source project before, or to have worked on (or even used!) Sakai. We're just looking for enthusiastic people with great communication skills and the ability to create and build really usable web-based user interfaces. We hope that you'll find our application template fairly easy to fill out.

Please note that we can give you feedback on your applications to help you make them stronger. If you have a draft application, contact the project mentor and we will try to provide feedback and suggestions. The earlier you get in touch, the better we can help you make your application.

We often get asked what we're looking for.  I've made a list of things which have distinguished some previous successful applicants - however, don't think you have to tick all the boxes!  It's very unlikely that anybody will.  It's just to help you improve your application, not to put you off:)

  • you've familiarised yourself with Sakai and how it works
  • you're interested by Sakai's design choices and philosophy
  • you've got relevant skills for the project
  • you're realistic in your planning - what might you find hard?  what can you can achieve in 13 weeks? a good rule of thumb is to aim to get all the hard stuff out of the way in the first half of the project, then have time to work on integration, extension, polishing and documentation in the second half.  Planning is often where you can benefit most from getting some feedback before the final deadline
  • you've worked in a development community before, or at least a development team
  • coming up with new ideas and deciding how you're going to make them happen makes you happy
  • you're not afraid to look at and skim through large amounts of code
  • you know the importance of user-centric design, especially for user-facing projects
  • you're a competent communicator - working in open source needs a lot of to and fro!  So how you write your application can have an influence.

Just use the application template to tell us about yourself, give us some evidence of your skills and experience, and tell us why you'd like to work on a GSoC 2011 Sakai project.

Application Template

  1. Do you have a blog, home page or other feed? If so, what is the URL?
  2. Where are you at in your education? What are your educational and career plans and hopes?
  3. Why Sakai?
  4. Which project from the Sakai GSoC ideas page are you interested in?
  5. Why have you chosen this particular project?
  6. Explain how you plan to succeed in that project within the short time frame of the summer.  (Goals, risks, project stages, tools - we don't expect you to know everything already, but show us your thinking)
  7. Tabulate or list your language experience. Include any major frameworks, libraries and standards too.  Give a very brief summary of experience in each. Give links us to examples if you can.
  8. What experiences do you have participating in open source projects or development teams? Please back these up with links wherever possible.
  9. Do you have any other activities this summer that will take a significant amount of time? (This is not about vacations - it is about responsibilities that you have in addition to the Summer of Code effort)
  10. (optional) Tell us anything else that would illustrate the qualities we're looking for.
  11. What are the best ways for us to contact you?
  12. If your resume isn't on your home page, please paste it as text here.

Now head on over to to submit your application.

Thanks for your interest and good luck!

How will applications be reviewed?

All our mentors help rank all the applications we receive, but each mentor gets final say about who gets to work on their projects.  If you want to apply for more than one project, you'll need to put in an application for each.  Sakai is asking GSoC for 4 'slots', which sets how many GSoC students we can accept.  The aim is that each mentor gets one student.

What happens if I'm successful?

First of all, congratulations! 

During the project you'll need reliable access to a computer and network connection, obviously.  You'll be posting regular updates on your progess and thinking on the Sakai GSoC projects blog, so anyone involved in Sakai can see what you're working on, but you'll be working most closely with your mentor, who will help you get started and get used to working in a community project.  Your mentor will also be on hand to help you throughout your project.  It'll be up to you and your mentor to work out how you want to work together, but its important to understand that your mentor is not your boss.  They probably won't tell you what to do - rather, they'll discuss with you and you jointly agree what to do.  Ultimately, this is your project!  It can seem daunting, but your mentor is there to help you, and its a major reason GSoC is such a great experience.

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