Building relationships with universities

  • Hi All,

    I have an idea that I would like to pursue for UBPorts.

    I believe a good way to strengthen the UBPorts team would be to start trying to build a relationship to some of the local universities we have here in Stockholm. It could be a good way to draw in new talents to the team, help promote Ubuntu Touch and in long term it might even help the project financially.

    My idea is to give presentations at universities about the Ubuntu Touch project and how to get involved in it.
    I might also, given that the interest is there from the schools and students, run a couple of workshops showing students how to get setup and maybe some basic app development.

    I would like to argue that this is a good thing from three perspective - from UBPorts perspective, from the universities perspective and from the students perspective.

    From UBPorts its pretty clear, it gives the project exposure and exposure to a good crowd. It would probably attract more people that can bring different talents to the team. And, probably on a longer perspective, it could bring money to the project.

    From the students perspective I think it would be interesting to work with ubuntu touch for multiple reasons. One of the things I want to touch upon is that involvment in ubuntu touch is a merit. Be it that you contribute with an app or even make contribution to the components of the OS itself, you have a solid merit which puts you at an advantage when looking for a job. I also belive that a lot of students would find it stimulating and exciting to be able to contribute to a project like Ubuntu Touch and it gives some real-life insights to what its like working in a software project.
    Developing for Ubuntu Touch also involves working with a lot of techniques that established software company use, which is also a big plus. Even if you dont manage to finish making a contribution to Ubuntu Touch you will have acquired real life work skills that are sought after by the software market.

    From the universities perspective, having a partnership with a project like ubuntu touch would also be beneficial. It is something that can separate you from other universities, making your university more attractive. It could be used for marketing, being able to say that you have a partnership with ubuntu touch. Students going to your school would know that there is an ongoing, world-wide software project that they can choose to get involved in to a large degree if they so choose - and know that there is someone physically there that they can reach out to. Having an established connection with UBPorts could help when creating courses, as you can use software from the projects to build your course around.
    The fact that everything is open source also means they can easily obtain and use it as they want.

    My suggestion is that I start out with reaching out to a couple of universities here in Stockholm and see if they would be willing to let me run a simple power-point presentation where I talk a bit about UBPorts and Ubuntu Touch. Given that there is interest, I could probably run a couple of workshops as well if the universities can help with letting us use their computer labs.

    If this turns out good and the interest is big enough, we could try and approach the universities with offering them some sort of a partnership/endorsement. So we could keep giving them presentations and offer them workshops. Further down the line, we could perhaps even try working on integrating courses with ubuntu touch - perhaps parts of the education could be taking a piece of the ubuntu touch OS and rewrite it in someway as a way of learning computer science topics.

    I feel that I need official support from UBPorts before approaching the universities at first. So that when I sit down with them and talk they know that they are talking to someone who is part of the UBPorts community. I think some sort of membership would be needed to act on this and that you can find me on the UBPorts webpage.

    Opinons on this?
    I know we have a board of directors, I would like them to read this and get a chance to get back on it, as well as hear what other members of the UBPorts think.

    /Jimmie Johnsson

  • @jimmiejohnsson84

    There is a community update tomorow. You can ask your question in that topic so that your idea could be discussed soon.

  • I've often thought that if education could be persuaded to adopt Open Source, then proprietary practice would be dealt a serious blow.

  • @jimmiejohnsson84
    I think that is a great idea, if you can reach something on universities, that they will look more on open source and UBports.
    I think that will be a hard job to convince them, using GNU Linux instead of Android and Windoze.
    My neighbor is a professor for computer science at university. When I talk about about Linux with him, some years ago, they are not interested. Windows is what they like and know, and what the industrie is aiming for to make money with...

    But go for it, if you can achieve something, GREAT!!!

  • @wlbi
    In Sweden, linux is a major thing at universities. All the big ones run linux, all the co-workers I have all say that they ran linux and in my university it was the only thing we had in the computer labs. Maybe its different in other countries but here in Sweden I would think it is what all the major ones use - at least the ones who have students in computer science.

  • I think your idea is awesome. I like how you have identified the 'benefits' to all three parties: students, universities and UBports. In Vancouver we started doing some 'ABC Ubuntu" programs for the 'general public' too and this was excellent for the brand and awareness. So these kind of 'in person' events are extremely effective for spreading the brand.

    I would completely support this initiative and also encourage similar ideas such as:

    -running free courses at community centres (ie. for seniors, parents, new refugee immigrants, etc)
    -setting up local meet ups
    -connecting with strategic local partners in your area

    My only question is whether or not universities are 'lost' like many other institutions and unable to see past their noses...

    Great work and thinking, Jimmie!

  • This is a great idea!
    The Portuguese Ubuntu LoCo, has a good experience with this sort of thing. So I guess you might have a good chance too.

    In one of the presentations the Ubuntu Loco did in one of the technical colleges in Lisbon we actually showed convergence at work.

    I encourage you to proceed. I'll try to do something like that too.

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