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Starting as a mentor soon

After a long time talking this as a mere potential would-be-nice thing, finally we are putting some action behind our words: One week from now, Sergio Mendoza and I will start a ~2 month long extracurricular course on Debian. The students? We have 12 students of the Facultad de Ciencias at my University. The students are pre- and post-graduate (licenciatura and maestría), from the Phsyics and Astronomy areas. Sergio got this group as he is a teacher and researcher at Instituto de Astronomía.
While this first iteration is completely extra-curricular, unofficial and by invitation only, we expect this pilot course to be later presented as an official course in the Faculty.
Many people will remember I usually don’t like general courses on Unix, Debian or whatever. What made me accept this time - even more, be enthusiastic about it? First of all, the requirements: We assume the students already know their way (at least as users) in a multiuser Unix-like system, so we won’t be hand-holding them all the way through. Second, the focus: Sergio (who is among the first Debian users in Mexico and who got us our first full Debian mirror - which is actually a bit sick, but awaiting for prompt hardware upgrade ;-) ) wants them to focus on becoming developers. Not only developing science-oriented applications and libraries, but properly packaging and integrating them in Debian (and, hopefully, some of them will become interested in joining the project). We will also spend a good portion of the course on teaching them good practices on system adminsitration, teaching the principles behind what we do (i.e. I’m looking forward to participating, and in this case as one of the more students, in the sessions where different cryptography-related topics will be explained, starting from their mathematical foundations and going all the way up towards the implementation, where I’m more comfortable at).
It will be a nice experiment. I will be away for at least five of the lessons (Blame Debconf!), but I’m really looking towards the process and the results.
We will be making rough documentation of what we teach. We don’t have a planned complete program, as we want to go with the group’s real skills and interests, planning not more than three lessons ahead. This will be, however unofficial it is, my first time in front of a group in a university-esque setting (i.e. not short sessions, not capacitation built for a company, but with people eager to learn what we want to teach. I’ll post again on this topic :)


bonovoxmofo 2007-05-16 12:59:08

Can I join?

Can I? (I know you stated it as no-no-no situation, at least I wanted to try :) )

Good luck, this seems to be very interesting and promising.

Gunnar 2007-05-17 08:03:56

Re: Can I join?

Sorry, not this time - But I guess that next time around it will be open :)

Mahomedalid Pacheco 2007-05-17 07:27:38

Re: Starting as a mentor soon

Good luck!