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Re: Major interview

"Pete St. Onge" <pete@seul.org> wrote:
>Assuming that the political ramifications can worked out, there remains

>the question of credit. Assuming that we have a bunch of students
>working together on such a project. How would credit to each of the be

>apportioned? Are the educational students getting CS credits? Would the

>CS students get Ed credits? Seems to me that it would be easier for all

>involved to make such a course fall under the CS umbrella such that it

>would be an elective for the other students (Education students know
>that having CS credits is a good idea, and can help get them a minor in

>CS or whatever. Similar for students in bio, chem, phys, and so on...).

I'm not sure if a working program would come out of a for-credit class,
or even any class at all.  At least the Linux kernel and the GIMP
didn't... I can't think of any other examples, but I imagine this will
be widely true.

The motivation for creating a successful open source program seems to
need to be internal, not based on rewards academic or otherwise.  The
only other meaningful thing that can be offered is a bit of a community.
If that isn't enough I wouldn't expect the student to keep with the
project long enough to create a useful product, and if the core of the
program isn't done by the design and desire of a single person the
project will generally be doomed.

This isn't to say that the academic world doesn't have a lot to offer --
but we have to go directly to the students, offering them nothing but
the chance to create, and maybe a small number of people will come
forward.  But a small number is all that is necessary.

The other possibility is if a professor has the motivation to make
something happen, in which case the students will largely incidental
(though, of course, they can still create good work and documentation,
and justify the professor's time by way of a class).

Anyway, class structures -- even very flexible structures -- don't seem
to be successful.

In a related note, I was just reading an article/excerpt from Alfie Kohn
entitled "Rewards Produce Temporary Compliance":


I think Kohn actually comes from an educational background, though this
is directed towards management.  Anyway, I think this sort of applies to
the credit aspect.

  -- Ian