This year we have six students undertaking projects for the Google Summer of Code (GSoC), those of you who have been following The Perl Foundations 2011 students will know that two weeks ago there was an evaluation period known as the Midterm. This period is when the students, and their mentors, submit reports on the situation so far, this includes making an analysis of the work completed and the general abilities (including mentor support, student progress etc.) of those in the program.
Google uses these reports to assess if the student/mentor can continue to the end of the summer, it is a useful pause to take stock and to catch any failing students (which does happen sometimes through no specific fault).
I have the pleasure of reporting that our students have all passed their midterm evaluations, the submissions by the mentors were positive and showed how well they had advanced, there was also quite a deal of praise from the students about the mentors which is always appreciated.
A lot of the reason to why this year is going so well, it seems to me, is due to the overall organisation of the event and the dedication of the students and mentors. We have learned a lot over the past few years and we have now started to implement sensible techniques and guidelines and to write these down for future use. There are still areas we are testing and refining but the midterm point shows that we are doing well. A short list (not all inclusive) of some of the standards we have introduced to ensure we progress well are:
1. A repository for tracking documents and information;
2. A guide for students on what to expect from their mentors and for mentors on how to work with their students;
3. Each student has a back up mentor (we assign 2 mentors) so that we can cover any gaps in attention and also so that the student has a route to discuss any issues with a secondary person;
4. A channel in which all the mentors and students can discuss;
5. Weekly reports from the students so that their progress can be cleanly monitored.
I will report again as we come close to the end of the GSoC period and of course will keep you informed of the final projects. There has already been some community buzz around this years projects and we are all positive that the final pieces will reflect the great effort the students (and mentors) have made.
On a final note I have to once again point out that a great deal of the organisational choices and direction are down to one man, rafl (Florian Ragwitz) who has made a great deal of effort in bringing this year's undertakings into a formal system that can be used in the future for continued success.