[Discussion] workflow of support

Sameer Verma sverma at sfsu.edu
Fri Aug 12 16:09:24 PDT 2011

On Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 3:24 PM, Christian Einfeldt <einfeldt at gmail.com> wrote:
> hi,
> Thanks for your email, Sameer.  I think that your thoughts are really
> encouraging!  We have been wanting to get more volunteers for some time!
> On Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 12:53 PM, Sameer Verma <sverma at sfsu.edu> wrote:
>> First, in talking with Christian and Grant about supporting work at
>> CACS and Everrett I've gathered a few things:
>> We have two or three support models: 1) Grant goes by Everrett every
>> Wednesday or so and keeps an eye on things. 2) Christian keeps an eye
>> on KIPP and CACS. They call him when something breaks. 3) Grant goes
>> by CACS occasionally, talks to teachers, and finds out what's broken.
> This is not entirely correct.  James Howard is our server architect.  He has
> created a really super clever server package that allows us to do mass
> installs over the network and a whole bunch of other stuff that I think you
> would really enjoy seeing.  I recommend that you try to arrange time with
> him to pick his brain about his work for Partimus, because you might be able
> to duplicate it elsewhere.  He provides guidance many of the most complex
> issues pertaining to the server.  Elizabeth Krumbach is also an experienced
> sys admin to whom we look for answers to complex issues  There are also lots
> of contributions by other volunteers.  What you have outlined above is only
> a picture of the initial layer of contact between those two schools and our
> Partimus volunteers in terms of identifying the issues.

Good to know. I didn't mean to imply that my list was exhaustive in
any way...just what I have gathered thus far. I've seen James' work at
Everrett. I'd love to see more! Partimus is lucky to have a great
server architect. I hope if we can find interns, we can document all
this. We did try to get a student last year via another program and
attach him at Everrett, but that didn't work out (long story). I hope
we have better luck this time.

>> If projects have to grow and maintain momentum, there needs to be a
>> better workflow (in my opinion) for support.
> I agree.
>> Next, there is the issue of teachers and children learning newer media
>> and edu tools on an ongoing basis, which requires training, workshops,
>> etc.
> Yes, we could really improve our services by doing better social outreach.
>  James, Grant, Elizabeth, and our other gurus do a great job of creating
> powerful solutions, but we could improve on engaging with the end users,
> that is certainly true.

I sometimes use myself as a use case. I've had to go through the
discovery and learning cycle for Inkscape, Pitivi, Arista, Scribus,
Scratch, etc. so I can imagine what glee it would bring to teachers
and students once they discover these tools and how to use these

>> I run the internship program at SF State in Information Systems. What
>> I have in mind is to see if I can assign one or two interns in the
>> Fall to Partimus, and get them to work on gathering data, and mapping
>> workflow both on the teacher/student side and on the volunteers side.
> That would be great!  Please do be sure to engage with our core gurus
> (James, Grant, Elizabeth) in shaping systems.

Indeed. I envision this to be a two step process. First will be
largely collecting info through observations, interviews, etc. Second
will be the workflow representation (flowchart, etc). Then we can look
at all that and see what needs to happen next.

>> They will be assigned to Partimus, to work on CACS as a starter. I'd
>> prefer it if the interns worked via Partimus so that the outcome of
>> their internship can be applied to other schools as well. They'll
>> interview, observe, analyze and then we can figure out what's needed
>> - a ticketing system, inventory mgmt, etc.
> Our gurus have been talking about improving those systems for some time.

Do we have any ticketing systems already in use?

>> As for workshops for media and edu tools, we may be able to host some
>> of it at SF State through a new project called "The Commons
>> Initiative" but I'll work on that later in the Fall. Some of this will
>> intersect with what I am gathering from my OLPC projects in India,
>> Jamaica and Madagascar, but more on that later.
> Thanks for those thoughts!
>> Ideas? suggestions?
> I would like to see about having a meeting some Sunday soon to discuss this.
>  Would that work for you all?  I think a face-to-face meeting would be a
> great way for us all to have some input.  Thanks for your thoughts, Sameer!

We meet for OLPC SF tomorrow. http://olpcsf.org/ We finish around 2,
so if any of you want to meet up after that, or even come for the OLPC
SF meeting, let me know. I can do Sunday as well, with a bit of
advance notice.

Dr. Sameer Verma, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Information Systems
San Francisco State University

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