[OSCTC-planning] mentorship and other ways to follow up with Open Source Comes to Campus attendees

Shauna Gordon-McKeon shaunagm at gmail.com
Thu Jul 31 22:00:35 UTC 2014


I've been continuing to think about this.

Something I've really enjoyed doing lately is pairing.  I've paired with
several different members of the OpenHatch community, both as a mentor and
a mentee, and I've gotten a ton out of it.  I'd like to encourage more
pairing in the community.

There's a reason I'm saying "pairing" and not "pair programming".  While
most of the pairing I've done has been technical, it doesn't have to be to
be.  I'd like to promote "pair participating" which would be defined as two
people working in real time together on a specific task - whether that is
"fixing a bug" or "going through a tutorial" or "improving some
documentation" or "picking a project and learning more about it" or
"identifying a goal to work towards".  The pair doesn't have to have a
mentor-mentee dynamic.  I think both kinds of pairing have a special and
different value.

Here's a new proposal:

OpenHatch creates a new mailing list for pair participation.  Before
joining the list, people fill out a form where they list skills or tasks
they're interested in, and say whether they want to pair with someone who
can mentor them on it, whether they want to be the mentor, or whether
they'd like to work with someone who is also new on that skill.  (These
three things are obviously not exclusive.)  I imagine on this form we'd
list some common skills/tasks people ask about as well as providing free
forms for skills.

Folks could ask for people to pair with them directly to the list, or they
could ask me to match them up with someone using the form data people
submitted.  The latter I think would be especially useful for finding pairs
for things like "Applying to Google Summer of Code" or "Finding a project I
feel comfortable contributing to" or "Overcoming my impostor syndrome"
which might require a more experienced and trusted mentor.

Why I like this approach:
- It promotes pairing.  Yay, pairing!
- It's goal oriented.  There are concrete tasks that people are working on,
even if the concrete task is abstract and interpersonal.  We know when
we've succeeded.
- It's low commitment for both mentors and mentees.  You commit to doing
one pair session at a time.
- It allows people to share skills as they gain them.  The focus is not on
one type of person (a mentor) helping another type of person (a newcomer)
but on someone who has a skill sharing that skill.  This allows newcomers
to share their own skills right away, and to turn around and help others in
the way they've been helped.

What do folks think?







On Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 2:25 PM, Shauna Gordon-McKeon <shaunagm at gmail.com>
wrote:

> There's no particular need to rush on this.
>
> There could be a lot of value just in inviting people to take an open
> survey and publishing/discussing the results.
>
>
> On Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 2:20 PM, Heidi Ellis <ellis at wne.edu> wrote:
>
>>  +1
>>
>> But I’m working on a paper for the next few days….
>>
>>
>>
>> *From:* osctc-planning-bounces at lists.openhatch.org [mailto:
>> osctc-planning-bounces at lists.openhatch.org] *On Behalf Of *Shauna
>> Gordon-McKeon
>> *Sent:* Tuesday, July 22, 2014 1:35 PM
>>
>> *To:* Planning for Open Source Comes to Campus
>> *Subject:* Re: [OSCTC-planning] mentorship and other ways to follow up
>> with Open Source Comes to Campus attendees
>>
>>
>>
>> Hmmm.  We could write a guide or blog post about this.  Perhaps invite
>> contributions/suggestions from people who've done online mentoring about
>> what to look for?  I imagine people who do OPW and GSoC would have a lot to
>> say about this.
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 11:33 AM, sheila miguez <shekay at pobox.com> wrote:
>>
>>
>>
>> On Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 10:19 AM, Shauna Gordon-McKeon <
>> shaunagm at gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> I think it probably depends on the mentee - there are certainly
>> introverted people who'd prefer a calmer, quieter approach than I'd
>> instinctively provide them - but yes, I think *generally* speaking the
>> ability to be outgoing and actively engaged, is important.  Is it more
>> important than other abilities, such as empathy, creativity, and the
>> ability to explain things well?  I'm not sure.
>>
>>
>>
>> I also think you're right to differentiate online and in person mentoring
>> on this dimension.  I think more quiet, passive mentors might be able to
>> push themselves to interact and ask questions via online mediums in a way
>> that's hard to in person.  One can also introduce easier-to-evaluate
>> metrics that way, by asking a mentor, "How many email threads have you
>> initiated?" "How many questions has your mentee asked you?" "What kinds of
>> questions does your mentee tend to ask?" etc.  There's more opportunity for
>> reflection because you have the record of communication.
>>
>>
>>
>> I'd definitely love to learn more about this. I find it much easier to
>> talk to people online, and can help in that manner, but that is not to say
>> that I don't want to get better at in-person interactions.
>>
>> If people know resources for building up that skill for people who may be
>> shy or have confidence issues (like myself), please share.
>>
>> One thing I've been trying is watching how other people do this. I don't
>> often get a chance to do this since I'll end up helping instead of
>> watching. This means I am not sure how effective watching other mentors is.
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>>
>> shekay at pobox.com
>>
>>
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>>
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>
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