Open Source Comes to Campus/Open Science/Development/Open Science Communication

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This is an activity development page for Open Science Comes to Campus

Topic: Open Science Communication

Notes about activity


Attendees should learn popular ways for open science communities and projects to communicate with each other. They should feel comfortable initiating communication with new projects or communities that they're interested in.

Specific goals:

  • Learn about popular communications tools such as:
    • IRC
    • Issue trackers
    • Mailing lists
    • Source Repositories
    • Also: forums, RSS feeds, social media (Twitter?),
  • Learn more about specific open science organizations and projects and how you can find their communication tools.
  • Students should begin communicating with at least one project.

Related work

This can be relatively straightforwardly adapted from the regular OSCTC communications tools presentation/activity.

Overall structure

I'd like to give these activities more context by having students apply knowledge immediately to open science projects. The presenter can use either the default project, Mozilla Science Lab, or if they're feeling adventurous, random suggestions from the crowd, to show how this is done.


(None, sorry! Am adapting a lesson I created a while back and most of the brainstorming has been done previously. But please feel free to add your own thoughts/suggestions here.)

The Activity Itself

Slide Outline: (no slides yet - not yet adapted from OSCTC)

  • New Slide:
    • Text: "Communication in Open Science"
    • Presenter notes: "Now we're going to learn about common ways that projects communicate with each other. We're going to try out these communication tools ourselves, and to do that, we'll need to pick projects to learn about. I'm picking Mozilla Science Lab. Can you all pick a project? It can be Mozilla Science Lab too, or something else you're interested in."
  • New Slide:
    • Text: "Websites & Social Media"
    • Presenter notes: "Most projects have a website and social media account which allows them to share the basic goals of the project. It also usually includes information about further communication tools. I'm going to find this information for Mozilla Science Lab." Find: website, blog, twitter. "Following a social media account can be a good way to start learning about a project. There's no commitment, just a way to follow what they're doing over time." Follow Mozilla Science Lab's twitter.  :) Ask students to do the same for their project.
  • New Slide:
    • Text: "Mailing Lists & Forums" (This is actually likely to be multiple slides, with screenshots/details from the presenter notes)
    • Presenter notes:
      • Cover the following: How does a mailing list work? What are the benefits and drawbacks? What are the different kinds of mailing lists (user v developer, for instance). How does it compare to a forum? What about a mailing list-forum hybrid?
      • Join a Mozilla Science Lab mailing list, join the Mozilla Science lab discourse instance. Ask students to do the same for their project.
  • New Slide:
    • Text: reuse these slides (press down to view)
    • Presenter notes: Students should download an IRC client if they haven't already during the laptop setup. Join Mozilla Science Lab and have students do so as well, demonstrating the features covered in the slides. Ask students if their projects have IRC channels, and if they do, ask them to join the channels.
  • New Slide:
    • Text: "Issue Trackers" (reuse these slides)
    • Presenter notes:
      • Issue trackers are like a to do list.
      • Important fields: status, assigned, date updated, "bitesize/easy/first task"
      • Read an issue from the Mozilla tracker together. Ask students how they'd try to address it. Emphasize that most issues assume knowledge of the project, so it's important to reach out to the community and get help before tackling an issue.
      • Ask students to find an issue in the tracker that they have a question about. Ask them to write the question down so they can follow up on it later if they want to.
  • New Slide:
    • Text: "Version Control" (reuse these slides)
    • Presenter notes: Ask students about how they share their research currently. How do they collaborate on projects? How do they track changes? Use Wikipedia to demonstrate the concept of version control. You can use the open science wiki page as the example page. Then, find the Mozilla Science repositories and briefly walk through github's structure, organizations with repositories, etc. Ask students to create github accounts and fork the project.
  • New slide:
    • Text: "Review"
    • Presenter notes: Have students go around and say how they've communicate with a project during the session. Ask if they've learned new ways to contribute to open science projects that can be put on the whiteboard.