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QuickWire: Facebook Supports Open-Source Movement With an Open Academy

Facebook—a high-profile user of open-source computer code—on Wednesday unveiled a project in which it’s collaborating with a Stanford University professor to match computer-science students with open-source mentors and tasks and let the students earn academic credit as they work. Called Open Academy, the effort has expanded to 22 institutions in the United States and elsewhere, including Carnegie Mellon University, Imperial College of London, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Helsinki.

Jay Borenstein, a computer-science professor at Stanford, created the pilot course for the program in 2012. Open Academy students come together at the beginning of each semester—at Facebook’s expense—to meet their mentors and enjoy what Facebook describes as “a weekend of learning and hacking.” After that, the students return to their institutions, where mentors help them find open-source projects to work on in virtual teams. The mentors also review the code the students contribute, while the students’ instructors meet with them regularly to check on their progress.

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