GSoC and Outreachy 2019: What is the plan?

Hi All,

As @LN pointed out in this thread: Facilitator wanted for monthly calls, she will not be the org admin for GSoC and Outreachy this year as she will be on maternity leave. Its up to us to make a plan!

Some things to figure out:

  1. Who will be the org admin this year?
  2. What would it take to participate/what do we need to do to prepare?
  3. Who can mentor?
  4. What projects would be good fits?

Some hopefully useful links:

I think the big one is finding someone to step up for the org admin role. @yanokwa could you provide some context on how this role works, such as duties, rough time commitment, etc (I'm assuming @LN is already unavailable). Can these duties be shared between two or more people?

Personally I am interested in mentoring or co-mentoring a project this year, though I do not yet have any specific projects in mind. I am happy to help work through the logistics of this, but I do not have the bandwidth to take the lead myself through November and December.

Tagging @Shobhit_Agarwal and @ggalmazor.


Thanks for getting this conversation started, @Jeff_Beorse!

One thing I want to first make sure is clear is that there is likely the option to offer projects under an existing umbrella organization such as DIAL. That could possibly relieve some of the pressure off of an org admin. That said, if there are multiple ODK projects, I do think it's important to have someone with a big picture view of what's going on who can help make sure they're all going in the right direction.

The GSoC manual has a section on the org admin role. Here are the things I have done as org admin:

  • Filled out all the application forms. I have shared all of these publicly in previous threads and it should be possible to reuse most of the content.
  • Solicited mentors and projects.
  • Helped the mentors write their project descriptions.
  • Wrote posts for the message board to orient applicants (these should be re-usable).
  • Came up with good issues for first time contributors (ideally mentors do most of this).
  • Reviewed code and helped orient potential applicants (ideally mentors can take more of this on).
  • Reviewed applications and helped facilitate the intern selection process.
  • Supported mentors as needed (providing backup code review, helping re-scope projects, etc).
  • Worked with mentors to address communication, timeline and expectation issues as needed.
  • Coordinated with Outreachy and GSoC leadership as needed (e.g. to adjust timelines with Outreachy).

@yanokwa has been a co-org admin and has provided input and support on many of those things.

During the pre-application period, I would say that the time commitment for me has been around 5 hours a week, sometimes going slightly above that. During the internships, it has varied a lot depending on how smoothly things are going.

Note that one of the big challenges in participating in such programs is that we get hundreds of eager but very inexperienced people descending on the project. They're wonderful but it leads to quite a bit of chaos. In particular, coming up with good issues for them to take on is time-consuming and review is difficult because the quality varies quite a bit.

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Hi folks. Just a note to follow up on the excellent points above by @LN & @Jeff_Beorse .

Yes, we are planning to apply again this year as an umbrella org at DIAL, and that means we'd offload quite a bit of the org admin work. We'll be working with a variety of projects that serve at the nexus of international development & humanitarian response, so ODK of course would be a perfect fit alongside the other projects.

We still ask for a "sub org admin" to be the point of contact overall, but that could also be someone mentoring. Also, we ask our sub orgs to provide at least 3 mentors total, to make sure that (a) there is always a backup available for students if a mentor is away, and (b) there is still a backup available even if a mentor has to drop out.

Yes, it seems early to be talking about GSoC 2019, but keep in mind org applications opened on 4 January last year! :spiral_calendar:

Finally, I wanted to highlight this 4-minute video we recently made, that talks about what a good mentor does during the program. If you're curious, take a look, and feel free to reach out to me or any other past GSoC mentor to learn about our experiences!

Having DIAL as org admins sounds like a super good idea.

Next year's logistics are going to be tough for me. If everything goes well, my wife and I will have a child next March! I don't know how much free time will that leave me, but I'd hate to step aside and miss all the fun :smiley: I think that I could participate as a co-mentor, or backup mentor.

Some specific proposals for next year

Learning from this year's experience, I wanted to suggest we did some pre-internship sessions focused on giving the candidates a better sense of what's expected of them and showing some useful tools:

  • How regular check-ins work and why they're important
  • Introduction to iterative-incremental development process
  • Tools to build a scaffolding to guide their work:
    • Defining a backlog of smallest possible (1-2 hours work) user stories and technical tasks
    • Defining an MMF that should be due for the first month of internship
    • Defining one-week deliverable bunches of user stories
  • The Elephant Carpaccio technique
  • Design as Knowledge Acquisition mindset

These are tools and topics that could be covered in 2-3 one hour sessions. All candidates could assist and we could record them to reuse for next editions.


These tutorial sessions are fantastic ideas IMHO! Remember the students once accepted have the "community bonding period" which many of these would be great for.

Optionally, someone might also be interested in doing a "how to create a strong project proposal" which could touch on things like project planning, features/scope (and scope creep!), and how to interact with the ODK community & mentors. Of course this would be during the application period but the more serious student applicants would probably find it useful to try to get some advantage. :slight_smile:


I totally agree @ggalmazor, those sessions seem like a fantastic idea. And congratulations on the new family member!

Regarding @downey's post, I am interested in being a mentor, but I'd be focused on ODK 2 projects. I will discuss with some other ODK 2ers and see if I can find a 2nd and 3rd mentor, as well as brainstorm some project ideas. I'll post here if I have success.

Is anyone else interested in mentoring for an ODK 1 project?

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Hi folks! Just following up on this topic to check in on what folks are thinking about GSoC 2019. We'd be more than happy to host you all through the DIAL umbrella organization if you like!

Any thoughts from @Jeff_Beorse @Shobhit_Agarwal @ggalmazor or others?


I'm interested in mentoring or co-mentoring a project for ODK1.

Do we have any doc for the proposed project ideas similar to last year?

I am interested in being a mentor for an ODK 2 project. I have one more co-mentor lined up, but we are still looking for a third. If anyone else is interested in being a mentor for an ODK 2 project please let me know!

As I'm getting closer to my paternity, I'm gradually realizing that I won't be able to do much extra stuff :slight_smile:

Sadly, I won't be involved in this instance.

I think if ODK is going to be in GSoC, we need to own it so we can continue to build capacity. I'll be glad to be an org admin for ODK if I can get a co-admin or two. Would you be interested in working with me, @Jeff_Beorse? If so, then like last year, we can rely on DIAL as a backup if we aren't admitted.

As far as the application process, I've done the following:

  • Written up the application due on Feb 6. You can see that at ODK GSoC 2019 Application. It's written a bit broadly and will be scoped down based on the interest we get from mentors. Everyone has comment privileges if you'd like to leave feedback.
  • I've contact some potential mentors to see if we can identify committed mentors and project ideas. I would like to see two mentors on each project, with a minimum of one highly technical mentor. Commitment to me means that the mentors:
    • Are responsive and friendly on Slack and GitHub and can commit to spend 3-5 hours a week
    • Have identified and tagged "quick win" and "contributor friendly" issues on the relevant repo
    • Take the lead on generating ideas for their projects that are thoughtfully scaffolded
  • Opened up a ODK GSoC 2019 Project Ideas for those who have project ideas to write them. If we have committed mentors and project ideas by Feb 4th, we can move ahead. If we don't then we'll try again next year.

Does this seem reasonable to folks?


I'm also interested in being a mentor or co-mentor for an ODK1 project.

Apologies for the slow reply @yanokwa. I'm open to being a co-admin. Would love to chat offline about what this would entail.

If I can be a co-admin and a co-mentor, then @linl33 and I can mentor an ODK 2 project. I'll reach out to him to start working on tagging quick win issues and writing project ideas in your shared doc.

Just a reminder that we need to have committed mentors and project ideas by Feb 4th, before we can move ahead! If you'd like to be a mentor, please write your project ideas in the ODK GSoC 2019 Project Ideas document.


We've identified enough committed mentors (@dcbriccetti, @Shobhit_Agarwal, @dexter21, @Jeff_Beorse, @linl33) with project ideas, so we'll be proceeding with GSoC!

I've finalized the application and it'll be submitted tomorrow. According to the GSoC timeline, we will know by Feb 26th if we've been selected or not and I'll update this topic at that time.


We've been accepted into GSoC 2019, so I've kicked off the program at Welcome GSoC 2019 applicants!.