Facebook launches Open Academy to give kids college credit for open source contributions

Lauren Williams's picture

A perfect GPA isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? Advancing an open source project. To help computer science students prepare for jobs (and boost its own recruiting efforts) Facebook today publicly launched Open Academy. The partnership with premier CS universities sets up a special class where students get college credit for contributing to open source projects.

After a successful pilot at Stanford last year, Open Academy is expanding to a total of 22 universities.

Open Academy students get paired with mentors and an open source project to which they’ll add code. At the start of the semester, all the mentors and students come to Facebook’s Menlo Park HQ for an intensive kick-off weekend. Then they work in virtual teams from their schools. Mentors teach students about open source, review students’ code and may give lectures too. The winter 2014 session will begin in February.

Through the pilot and ‘private beta’ with other universities including Waterloo and MIT, students worked on MongoDB, Mozilla Open Badge, Ruby On Rails and more Open Source projects. The expansion brings the program to schools including UPenn, UC Berkeley, and Carnegie Mellon.

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