Class credit for hacking? Facebook expands Open Academy


Facebook launched its Open Academy — an opportunity for college students to learn how to hack and develop software — last spring and has already seen great success. Now, as the program calls for winter 2014 applicants, the site’s engineers gave people a look at what students do and what they’ve accomplished.

The Facebook Engineering blog explains that the Open Academy was formed last spring when Facebook teamed up with Jay Borenstein, a computer science professor at nearby Stanford University. It integrates a practical, applied software engineering experience into a student’s computer science education, working closely with faculty members at top computer science programs across the world.

Facebook piloted the program at Stanford, then branched out to MIT, University of Texas at Austin, Cornell University, University of Toronto, Waterloo University, University of Singapore, University of Tokyo, Imperial College of London, Jagiellonian University, University of Helsinki, and Tampere University of Technology.

Facebook will expand Open Academy to University of Pennsylvania, UC San Diego, Columbia University, Carnegie Mellon University, UC Berkeley, Purdue, University of Warsaw, UIUC, UCLA, and University of Washington.

The Engineering team gave a glimpse into what happens in Open Academy:

At the beginning of the semester, students and mentors from open source projects come together for a weekend of learning and hacking. After this kickoff session, students return to their universities and continue to work in virtual teams. Open source mentors support their teams by helping students find and understand tasks and review code contributions. The course instructors at each university meet with student teams at regular intervals to review progress. Some instructors overlay a lecture series to provide further learning opportunities to students.

Readers: If Open Academy was available to you in college, would you have enrolled?

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