Came for the software, stayed for the people

It all started with me stumbling around on MDN trying to find a good open source project to try and contribute a little to because 99% of the work I do is not accessible to the public. There were two driving factors behind this. One, I selfishly want a more publicly accessible portfolio. Two, I use and love so many open source products that I figured it was about time I gave back.

After many clicks and tangents across the internet I found myself at the School of Webcraft page. I looked around, did a couple of the beta challenges, and quickly scrolled down to the ‘Get Involved’ link. I did some further perusing of the lernanta github page and set up an instance to play around with. I had not worked with django before so this made the project sound even better as it would expose me to a new platform as well. I had just finished a course from edX which sparked my interest in online education. So having sufficient tech and non-tech interest I decided to sign up for the mailing lists, Google groups, etc and see what the community was like.

I lurked in the background for a few weeks watching some of the communication and played around with my install of lernanta every now and then. I had decided to hold back on trying to contribute as I was pretty busy and you were right in the middle of getting a big update ready so I figured a lot might be changing anyways. So, I kept lurking…

A little while later School of Open was getting ready to launch their next set of facilitated courses. Life was busy blah, excuse, blah, blah, and taking up time so I decided to hang back and not jump into the middle of a busy time for the group. There were a lot of discussions going on and it was really interesting to see SOO and P2PU at a high level of activity.

Then a topic came up that I couldn’t resist jumping in on. Someone had a problem and I had a potential solution, I just had to try and help. I started talking to some of the people in SOO which eventually led to me introducing myself to the main P2PU group. I had some good back-and-forth with people and my interest in the community grew. It has even led to me working with someone outside of P2PU and SOO.

I watched a couple of the On-Air recordings of the community calls and kept my eye on the Google group threads. The more I watched, the more I realized that I really liked and believed in the idea of P2PU. I then had the fortune of being sick for almost two weeks. Yes, I said fortune. Normally, I am at work during any of the scheduled, live calls so this enabled me to attend two community calls as well as a special call on badges. It was great to see the core of P2PU and SOO talk about what is going, what they had planned, and what their ideas were in general (even if I didn’t talk much myself). Everyone is so passionate and genuinely invested in what they are doing. Just learning more about P2PU and the people involved has sparked many interests and ideas for me.

Even among the many online learning projects popping up P2PU stands out. I knew it had become more than just an interest in some nifty open source project I found when I realized that I do not care if I am not actually involved. I just hope that P2PU continues to succeed because it is awesome.

So there’s my story of how I went from looking for just some software to contribute to to finding a new concept and community that I believe in.

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