Moodle has been involved in Google's Summer of Code program since 2006. This program pays students to work on open source software products for about three months (over the northern hemisphere summer), mentored by existing developers of those products. The work usually adds a new feature or a new module. The intention is that this new code improves the software, as well as helping new programmers to become familiar with developing in an open source community.
Applying to be a GSoC student with Moodle
If you are a student older than 18 years and wish to participate in the GSoC with Moodle as the target project:
- check out what's involved in the Google Summer of Code (which can change from year to year);
- look at the list of projects for new developers, or think up one of your own; and
- find out how to apply to complete a GSoC project with Moodle.
Matching students and mentors
Mentors are regular Moodle developers who volunteer to help guide and support students in the program. The final decision on who can be a mentor is made by Martin Dougiamas. Successful mentoring is quite a commitment, so this task should not be taken on lightly.
Students apply for projects via Google. The project applications are then passed on to Moodle are evaluated and selected by the full group of Moodle mentors.
Once students and mentors have been matched with projects within Moodle, our process runs something like this:
- Create a project specification page
- A page will be created in Moodle Dev Docs (this wiki) for each project when they are selected. On the wiki page students should start developing a detailed specification with feedback from mentors. The page should include database table designs, GUI mockups, class structures and other implementation details. The document should be clear and logically organised.
- Seek and utilise community feedback
- Students should introduce the project in the appropriate forums on Using Moodle to help draw attention to it and to stimulate some discussion around their development. The more feedback we have the better, especially if it includes a wide variety of users (developers, teachers, students, etc). Students should be responsive in those forums to build a dialogue with the community.
- Evolve the specification
- Students and mentors should use the feedback to evolve the specification into something that all users are happy with. Sometimes it's worth doing more research to find the "best" way to do something without adding Yet Another Option.
- Set up tasks in the Moodle Tracker
- Once the specification has settled down, it's time to start work. The mentor should create a new issue in the Moodle Tracker (in the CONTRIB project) and assign it to the student (after they added to the "contrib-developer" Tracker group). Students should add sub-tasks in roughly chronological order for different parts of the project. This helps students keep track of where they are, but also allows the community to "watch you" develop and to help you where they can.
- Develop in Git and link to tracker
- Students can develop their code in Git repository. When projects are producing an independent plugin, a single repository can be used. For more complex integrations involving changes to Moodle core, working with a branch of the Moodle repository will be necessary. Git commits will be related to tracker issues and should note the issue number at the beginning of the commit message. If you are new to Git development, have a look at this documentation.
- Advertise milestones in the forums
- Major milestones should be posted in the forums, to maintain community interest and draw in new testers and more feedback.
- Finish off projects
- Once the time is up, finished projects need to be assessed; Google need to be given access to the result of the project, as per their instructions. Hopefully the code is also good enough to be shared in the Plugins Directory or possibly go into the next Moodle release, although neither is guaranteed.
- Presets for Database module project notes
- Integrated bug tracker project notes
- AJAX course format project notes
- Admin page cleanup project notes
- Global search project notes
Overview and results: GSOC/2007
- New question types
- Enterprise-level improvements
- Chat revamp
- Messaging improvements
- Automated grading of programs
- User Management Improvements
- Email interface
- Social Networking features
Overview and results: GSOC/2008
- Usability issues
- Animated grade statistics report
- Language editing interface
- Feed aggregation library
- Customisable theme
- Blog improvements
- Further messaging improvements
- Automatic accessibility checking
- Progress tracking
- Secure RSS feeds
- Moodle IDE
Overview and results: GSOC/2009
- Record audio repository plugin
- Timeline course format
- Improve Moodle user experience consistency
- What you paint is what you get
- Google Gears integration
- Improve SCORM 2004 Support
- Plagiarism API improvements
- Email reminders for calendar events
- Audio/Video Capture repository plugin
- Self-assessment activity using the question bank
- SCORM player rewrite
- Global search
- Course search
- Pronunciation evaluation question type
- A Moodle plugin for determining Quiz authorship
- Portfolio plugin for Evernote
- New question types
- SCORM improvements