What’s up w/ MoFo – February Update

February 13, 2009 § Leave a comment

Here is a brief Mozilla Foundation status update that I shared at this week’s board meeting.

The last month has been focused primarily on moving into action mode with Mozilla Education, and working to refine our ideas on Mozilla Research and our social movement experiments. It was also a significant month in terms of community outreach. Highlights:

  • Began work on Mozilla Education, finalizing plans and putting in place resources with Seneca, URJC in Madrid and others.
  • Also, we convened EduCamp in Brussels for people working on open source in higher education. Mozilla, Red Hat, Google Summer of Code, URJC, Oxford University, UN University and others participated.
  • Continued discussions on Mozilla Research and the social movement program, but still a number of things to clarify before we’re ready for board discussion.
  • Participated in Mozilla FOSDEM activities in Brussels, including Mark giving the opening keynote for the overall conference.

February will focus on getting a basic version of education.mozilla.org and helping with the development of new Mozilla Education assets at Seneca. The first meetings around the mozilla.org redesign will take place (this was slightly delayed). By the end of February, we hope to have a solid concept note for Mozilla Research and a more articulated picture of the social movement program.

Program Update

In January, we decided to move ahead with Mozilla Education (Frank) pilot activities, while at the same time continuing planning work on Mozilla Research (Mitchell and Mark) and small experiments with our social movement program (Zak). Specific progress we’ve made includes:

  • Refined the strategic framework for Mozilla Education based on feedback from last month’s board meeting and community comments. This is reflected in the Mozilla Education planning wiki and in a shorter executive summary written to provide people with a quick overview of the program.
  • Further definition of Seneca’s role in Mozilla Education. Dave Humphrey will spend almost all of this time this year focused on Mozilla activities: opening up his existing courses to students outside Seneca; setting up student collaboration infrastructure at education.mozilla.org; and developing a rich, regularly updated student projects database that covers not only Firefox but also Fennec, Thunderbird and other Mozilla projects. A draft grant agreement is in Seneca’s hands and is almost ready to sign.
  • Held first face to face meeting with Universidad Rey Juan Carlos from Madrid. They have confirmed plans to run a Mozilla course similar to Seneca’s starting in July. One week will be residential in Madrid and the rest will be online. Professor Gregorio Robles will take the lead, with support from Pascal Chevrel from the Mozilla Paris office. Gregorio will spend a few days at Seneca in May to share ideas and curriculum. Frank, Gregorio and Pascal are currently working out budget details.
  • Talked to Pascal Finette about the Mozilla Labs Design Challenge online course. This course will combine online lectures from Mozilla contributors (via a web conferencing system) with a design competition around future user interface design for the browser. We’ll work with Pascal to monitor the course structure and see if it could work for other Mozilla online courses. We will feature participating students and archive online lectures as a part of education.mozilla.org. We may also try online courses with Mozilla Evangelism or SUMO in parallel to monitoring what Labs is doing.
  • Wrote a series of blog postings explaining our thinking about Mozilla Education. Pushing the conversation out into the Mozilla community has surfaced a number of people who want to participate in Mozilla Education and, more impressively, a bunch of educational activities within Mozilla we didn’t even know about (e.g. a XUL course in Denmark).
  • Established a weekly public conference call for Mozilla Education. In general, we want to mirror how other Mozilla projects work out in the open – weekly call, a wiki, IRC, etc. This is a first step. Dave Humphrey and Frank will jointly lead these calls.
  • Met with Brendan, Mitchell and David Ascher to discuss Mozilla Research. The roadblock is finding an approach that is open and leveraged while at the same time being attractive to academics who need to publish. We came up with a ‘funnel’ model that starts with a research event and builds a network of researchers around a particular problem from there. A small number of grants may be available to people within this network. The plan is to write this idea up and refine it throughout February.
  • Began a small online video project that asks people to submit very short clips explaining ‘How the Net Has Changed My Life’. This is a part of an effort by Zak to help us articulate our thinking around social movement programming. It’s too early to tell what the results will be.

We’re also still talking about existing programs such as accessibility and community support. However, these are on ‘simmer’ mode as we think through the newer ideas outlined above.

Internal Operations

There was limited work on internal issues as a number of staff were on leave or traveling extensively. What we did do included:

  • Worked with investment committee to finalize recommendations for the selection of a new investment advisor.
  • Schedule initial meetings with the the web development firm and community members participating in the mozilla.org redesign.

We had hoped to finalize staff objectives and job descriptions this month, but made little progress. This is a priority for next month.

February Priorities

  • Implement decision on new investment advisor if current recommendation gets board approval.
  • Develop workable pilot plan for Mozilla Research for presentation at March board meeting.
  • Work with Seneca and others to set up skeleton of education.mozilla.org and start work on other Mozilla Education efforts.
  • Continue video contest and other learning activities on ‘Mozilla as Social Movement’ program. Begin assessment of whether we’re getting traction / what we’re learning.
  • Finalize 2009 objectives and work plans for individual team members.
  • Reach out and gather feedback as part of mozilla.org redesign process.

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