Rebelsky Work Log

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This page is my attempt to explore what it's like to use a Wiki as a work log. It should include notes on my work on the Ushahidi in CS2 project. (I wonder whether this would be better off on my 'blog. Oh well, we'll see.)


Prehistory (before 2013-06-24): Lots of background work

My work on this project started with the POSSE workshop - thinking about what I wanted for my class (computing for social good), exploring possible H/FOSS applications to leverage, considering options, etc. Lots of other things happened in this time period that I don't think I'll write about yet. (They may get added as relevant.)

2013-06-24 (Mo): Revised Proposal

My primary goal for this day was to rethink and revise the proposal for the class. I spent most of the time rethinking the list of assignments and working on possible ways to assess the project. I now have more than a dozen potential exercises listed. I'm not sure how many I will be able to implement. (I've promised six-to-nine. I expect to do more.)

2013-06-25 (Tu): Exploring Course Directions with Students

I have a team of three student research asssistants who have agreed to work with me on the course. Their primary responsibility is to help build the software to support the course. They also help me think about whether my ideas are likely to resonate with students. The students have been excited about the idea for computing for social good. They really like the idea of using Android. However, they've been frustrated by (a) trying to get the Android App to build; (b) trying to figure out how interesting Android development can fit into the course; and (c) understanding the big picture.

We spent awhile hashing out these issues. The RAs noted that "We always feel much more confident and energized after these meetings." They also decided that, rather than using the existing Android App, they would build a second Ushahidi Android App that the students in the class will work with. This App will support (at least) two basic operations: Reporting on incidents (so that students can play with different ways to report - experience with sorting, searching, and such) and approving reports (so that students can play with different ways to present the reports that need approval).

2013-06-26 (We): Support for API

The RAs working on the simplified Java API for Ushahidi hit some serious obstacles. They've been able to connect to an arbitrary server using the Web API and to parse the data. However, the documentation on the Web API is somewhat vague. For example, if they provide a starting id, it doesn't necessarily start near that id. (E.g., when they start with 1, they get 100-120, even though there are some in the range 1-100.) The default is to return only a subset of the incidents. And there's no clear way to ask for all of them. So we explored a variety of options.

2013-06-26 (We): Meet with Outreach Coordinator

My RAs and I met with Susan Sanning, Grinnell's Service and Outreach Coordinator. It was a very successful meeting. We identified a good Ushahidi project to use as the data feed for the course '('Grinnell Volunteers - an attempt to track where students, faculty, staff, and alums volunteer around the country and around the world). The RAs will be setting up this site in the next week or two.

Susan also identified a variety of projects that it would be useful for the class students to implement and some potential clients. I've put the notes in a Google doc.

2013-06-27 (Th): Miscellaneous Administrative Stuff

It's Thursday, the day the foss2serve Ushahidi team meets on the #foss2serve channel. Time to do stuff to get ready for the meeting (and to meet).

  • I put this document together
  • I made some minor changes to my proposal
  • I added a Ushahidi CS2 Exercise Template
  • I made assorted changes to the Wiki
  • I met with Cam on the #foss2serve channel. We seemed to be the only folks in the meeting.
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