Interview: Dave Humphrey on Mozilla Education

February 5, 2009 § 4 Comments

In addition to blogging about the plans and rationale for Mozilla Education, I’ve also been wanting to describe the actual courses and content we want to pilot this year. As I noodled this, I realized: I’m the wrong person to describe these things. Better to have the educators and contributors who we’re working with talk about how they want to make Mozilla Education real. So, I’ve decided to do a series of interviews.

Humph Meeting Pic

My first interview is with Dave Humphrey from Seneca College. Dave has been offering a Mozilla-based course for a number of years. Now he wants to open up the materials, community and mentorship system he’s been using to students and professors all over the world. Here’s the interview:

For people who are more text oriented, some of the things that Dave touches on in the interview include:

  • Mozilla is a great place for students to learn because both the community and the technology are open. Students can do real work with Mozilla technology.
  • On top of the technical skills, students also learn what it’s like to work in a global community, collaborating across timezones and languages. This ability to work in an open source way is a benefit to students even if they don’t continue to work with Mozilla.
  • The opportunity for Mozilla in 2009 is to move beyond Seneca, collaborating across institutions. This sounds easy from a Mozilla perspective, but it’s radical in education.
  • Succeeding requires people in Mozilla who are willing to support and work with students. Seneca has been able to find mentors because their students are contributors from the beginning. We need to see if this can scale.
  • We need a site like to manage the the signal to noise ratio, creating a place that mirrors how Mozilla works but that is also a sandbox for students. This new site should also have Mozilla educational content and courseware.

In addition to extending the Seneca program for students and profs everywhere, Dave has agreed to help lead the process of thinking through and rolling out Mozilla Education. Frank Hecker and Dave will be hosting weekly Mozilla Education calls on Monday’s at 11am eastern time. Like other Mozilla calls, these are open to anyone who is interested.

Upcoming interviews: Gregorio Robles from Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid and Pascal Finette from Mozilla Labs.

§ 4 Responses to Interview: Dave Humphrey on Mozilla Education

  • Steve Lee says:

    good to hear humph’ s views as as(the) key leader in this important and rapidly developing space. Exciting times.

    BTW I seem to have right channel audio only rather than mono across both which is a little hard to listen to on cans.

  • […] I asked him if he had any advice for the rest of us, and here’s what he said. (Note: see also this interview with David posted by Mozilla’s Mark Surman.) My colleague, Chris Tyler, has written a paper outlining […]

  • […] MozLabs, Students and Open Innovation February 18, 2009 In addition to working closely with colleges and universities, the current education pilot will also include a number online courses offered […]

  • […] First, it was my first introduction to Dave Humphrey of Seneca College, who was an absolute pleasure to listen to and converse with (although to my chagrin I kept referring to him as David, not Dave throughout the discussion–my bad!).  His class projects are brilliant, he teaches Computer Science courses wherein his students actually develop code as part of the Mozilla open source community. A re-aligning of a traditional course that makes the work his students do during a semester immediately relevant to one of the biggest–if not the biggest—open source community in the world. You can read more about his project on Mark Surman’s blog here and listen to an audio interview about the course here. […]

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