How do we help volunteers get involved with P2PU?


We’ve had several people asking where they can help out with P2PU in the past. This ranges from developers, translators, designers, etc. These are people that doesn’t necessarily want to create a new course.

How can we facilitate them to get from a willingness to work together to meaningfull collaboration?

Do we encourage people to propose their own projects or should we try to find something meaningfull for them to do?

Feel free to restate the question/problem. I don’t know if I’ve properly done that, but I feel that we need to start this discussion.


Yes - this is an important topic. I just read Tim’s post on how he got involved and it’s really about the sense of community. As a first step we should make it easier to deeply engage with the community. Working openly and sharing the things we are thinking about are a second step to make hooking into our work easier. There is a limit to how much we can help people get started or support them (to some extent they have to be self-reliable) but maybe we don’t make it clear enough that the doors and our arms are wide open.


I remember when John was working on SEO/searchability and Philipp specifically asked if there were people who were interested in finding out more about this to get involved and follow. I thought that was awesome.

One idea is to adapt our “Get Involved” section to include volunteer opportunities. I actually think it would be a good idea for each of us to work closely with a volunteer. Would give us the opportunity to set goals with them and make sure they are getting a positive experience. Would also be a great way to think about recruiting if we ever want to expand our little happy team.

I also know that at Harvard we had a myriad of opportunities to intern. We reached out to the site’s point person and signed an MOU-like document where we articulated what we hoped to learn.

Off the top of my head, I can think of:

  • Design help: Badges for School of Data, School of Open
  • Tech help: @dirk
  • Grantwriting help: Vanessa and @1L2P
  • Community Management / initiatives: @bekka?
  • Research / Education interns: @vanessa

Suggested next steps:

  • Change our “Get Involved” section to include “Intern or Volunteer Opportunities” (language is wonky)
  • Create a “Volunteer/Intern Interest Form”
  • Encourage interns/volunteers to meet with the relevant person
  • We could also write up some summaries of potential intern/volunteer descriptions

What say you?


+1, I also think this is important. Sometimes hard, but important.

Tech is a little difficult as it requires a big investment of time up front and the number of quick and easy contributions are limited. We can try to help tech volunteers to work on their own aligned projects (like mentoring) but maybe it moves away from volunteering at that point?

Does our community have a big list of awesome things they would have built if they could code/had the time?


are you guys even on github?
you want tech/dev support right?
get your butts on github. get the community worked up about it, have a few hackathons or webinars to ease everyone into github’s workflows…
github actually helps overcoming the big investment up front, as well as the time watching what others are doing…
they’re pull requests cannot be accepted until the owner of the repo lets them.

open source/free software is all about github and this approach, so no, you’ll be moving directly towards where you want to be.

also, if you had github, the account and each repo get their own “wikis”…so all of this stuff + everything else could already be on some big documented list.

do it!


a whole bunch of our stuff is on github.


lols. already forked it yo