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 About the OpenMRS Internship Program

What is the OpenMRS Internship program (OIP)?

The OpenMRS Internship Program (OIP) is a program that offers developers the opportunity to write code for OpenMRS and is modeled after Google Summer of Code™ (GSoC). OIP is similar in many respects to GSoC, but focuses more on the developers within developing countries. More details of the Google Summer of Code™ can be found on the GSoC web site.

What are the goals of this program?

The OpenMRS Internship Program has several goals:

  • Get more open source code created and released for the benefit of all
  • Inspire developers to begin participating in open source development, particularly developers from developing countries and those working on projects in developing countries, like Africa.
  • Help open source projects identify and bring in new developers and committers
  • Provide students in Computer Science and related fields the opportunity to do work related to their academic pursuits during the summer (think "flip bits, not burgers")
  • Give developers more exposure to real-world software development scenarios (e.g., distributed development, software licensing questions, mailing-list etiquette)

How many interns does OpenMRS expect to take part in the program?

The number of interns within any cycle of OIP depends on several factors, including the number of projects available, the number of mentors available, and the number of student applications received. In general, we have between 2-10 OIP projects within any given period.

When can I apply for the OpenMRS Internship Program?

The OIP 2009 application period is closed. Stay tuned for future OIP opportunities.

How does the program work?

Here are the steps:

  1. OpenMRS publishes a list of available projects on its web site
  2. Interns submit project proposals online based on the project proposals listed on the web site or any other new or innovative projects
  3. Mentors rank intern proposals and perform any other due diligence on their potential mentees; intern proposals are matched with mentors
  4. Interns are notified of acceptance
  5. Interns begin learning more about OpenMRS and its community before coding work starts
  6. Mentors and interns agree on and publish specific goals and a timeline for the project before the intern receives the initial stipend.
  7. Interns begin coding work at the official start of the program, provided they've interacted well with their community up until the program start date
  8. Mentors provide mid-term evaluations of intern progress to OpenMRS. Following a successful mid-term evaluation, interns receive the 2nd stipend disbursement
  9. Interns continue working on and finalizing their projects
  10. Mentors provide a final evaluation of intern progress at close of program; interns submit a final review of their mentor and the program
  11. Intern uploads completed code to the OpenMRS repository
  12. Upon a successful final evaluation and submission of their code, interns receive the remaining stipend

How do evaluations work?

OpenMRS will provide the evaluation questions for both interns and mentors prior to evaluation deadlines. Mentors will fill out mid-term and final evaluations for their interns. Evaluations will be available to the mentor and the administrator(s). Interns will fill out a midterm and final evaluation of their mentors as well which will be visible to the OpenMRS administrator(s).

In almost all cases, interns will never see their mentor's evaluation of their progress, nor will a mentor see a intern's evaluation of her/his mentorship. In some cases, OpenMRS's program administrators may need to share the results of evaluations with the intern and mentor, such as to arbitrate when stipend payment should not be made; should this need arise, all parties will be notified in advance.

Applying to the OpenMRS Internship Program

How does a prospective intern apply?

Prospects must submit their applications directly by e-mail to email|apply|openmrs.org.

What should an internship application look like?

Your application should include the following: your project proposal (including the title of the project from the OpenMRS project page), why you'd like to execute on a particular project, and the reason you're the best individual to do so. Your proposal should also include details of your academic, industry, and/or open source development experience, and other details as you see fit. An explanation of your development methodology is a good idea, as well.

Proposals should not exceed five A4 pages in length and should be supplemented with links to external references. However, you should still plan to provide an abstract of your proposal, including a brief list of deliverables to ensure that your work receives sufficient review; terse applications tend to look like incomplete applications during the review process.

Can an applicant submit more than one application?

Interns may apply for multiple projects; however, an intern cannot be accepted for more than one project.

Can applicants already working on an open source project continue to work on it as part of the OpenMRS Internship Program?

Yes, as long as they meet all other requirements for program eligibility. Applicants should be sure to note their previous relationship with the project in their applications. New work will need to be done for the project as part of participation in OIP.

Should applicants begin working on their applications before OpenMRS begins accepting program applications?

That's up to you. Keep in mind, though, that our mentors will be publishing a list of proposed project ideas, so you may find that you'll want to revamp your application later, or create an entirely new one to address one of those ideas.

Can an intern work on more than one project?

While we're happy to having developers contribute as much as possible, each participant is only eligible for one OIP stipend.

Can a group apply for and work on a single proposal?

No, only an individual may work on a given project. Of course, accepted interns should feel free to collaborate with others to accomplish their project goals.

What happens if two interns are accepted to work on the same project, e.g. from out organization's "Project Ideas" list?

Only one intern will be assigned to a project.

Are proposals for documentation work eligible for the OpenMRS Internship Program?

While we greatly appreciate the value of documentation, this program is an exercise in developing code; we can't accept proposals for documentation-only work at this time.


Expectations of Interns

Interns will demonstrate through their application that they have the*ability, eagerness, and suitable time to complete their chosen project
Interns will*declare any possible conflicts or time commitments that might interfere with their project during the application process or as soon as they are aware of the potential conflict (whichever comes first)
Interns will*participate in the OpenMRS community in a respectful and courteous manner
Interns will register a blog with the OpenMRS feed and make at least*weekly blog entries describing their experience and/or plans for their project

  • Interns who have issues or difficulty with their mentor will seek guidance from their backup mentor and/or the program administrator(s) via email|oip|openmrs.org

Expectations of OpenMRS

OpenMRS will*provide mentoring to the intern throughout their project by identifying both a mentor and a backup mentor for the intern
OpenMRS will*disburse stipends following the intern's successful completion of program milestones


Who owns the code produced by intern developers?

Each intern (or her/his mentoring organization) must license all intern code under the OpenMRS Public License and publish the code into the designated OpenMRS repository.

What language should an intern program in?

Interns should program in a language consistent with inclusion in the core code base of OpenMRS (Java/JavaScript). The appropriate language and environment may vary with certain projects; however, the core OpenMRS API is written in Java and the web application in a combination of Java and JavaScript technologies.

Where must development occur?

All development occurs online; there is no requirement to travel as part of the program. OpenMRS makes no provisions for office space or travel to mentoring locations. Any such travel is undertaken outside the scope of the program. OpenMRS may organize a regional meeting in Africa for developers.

All code development must happen in the open and all code must be made available publicly. Interns may mirror development on their personal infrastructure if they wish. Interns must also provide a copy of their code to OpenMRS to be publicly hosted by us.

Important Dates

What is the program timeline?

  • 10 April 2009, 19:00 UTC – Deadline for proposals
  • 20 April 2009 – Notification of awards
  • 23 May 2009 – Interns begin coding on their projects, initial stipends sent
  • 13 July 2009, 19:00 UTC – Midterm evaluations due,we begin sending midterm stipends for successful evaluations
  • 24 August 2009, 19:00 UTC – Final evaluations due, we begin sending final stipends for successful evaluations


Are there any age restrictions on participating?

Yes. You must be 18 years of age or older by the application deadline to be eligible to participate in the OIP.

Who's eligible to participate as an intern in the OpenMRS Internship Program?

Any developer interested in learning about open source development and contributing to an open source project who can demonstrate (via their application) that they have sufficient time and can successfully complete a project. OpenMRS defines an intern as an individual interested in learning.

Who is not eligible to participate as an intern in the OpenMRS Internship Program?

People who are not interested in learning.

I would like to participate in the OpenMRS Internship Program (OIP) as both a mentor and an intern. Is this possible?

We've decided it is best not to allow participants to do both. We want to make sure that each project and intern receives sufficient attention, and we're concerned that this split in focus could create a bad experience for those involved. Please choose whether participation as a mentor or an intern is more appealing to you and plan to apply accordingly.

How much time is required to participate as an intern in the OIP?

The amount of time you will need depends on both the scope of your project. While OpenMRS may offer some flexibility around milestone completion dates, you should expect your project to be your primary focus. If you have another great internship starting soon or you're planning a month long backpacking trip, you likely won't be a good candidate for the program. It is important to declare any existing commitments within your application.

Stipends, Forms, and Other Administrivia

How do stipends work?

We are committed to the success of all of our interns, and believe it is important to provide the resources needed to allow for focus on software development. Stipends are therefore provided so interns can dedicate a majority of their time to work upon on their specific project, interact with mentor(s) and fellow interns, and generally participate in the OpenMRS community. Stipends are paid out in three parts only after mutually agreed upon project goals are met. Interns who fail to meet goals or receive unsatisfactory evaluations, may forfeit the remainder of their stipend.

Intern stipends are as follows:

  • 500 USD at the beginning of the project
  • 2,000 USD upon successful midterm evaluation
  • 2,000 USD upon successful final evaluation

I would like to use the work I did for my OpenMRS Internship Program to obtain course credit from my university. Is this acceptable?

Absolutely. If you need documentation from OpenMRS to provide to your school so you can obtain course credit, let us know. We will not provide documentation to you until we have received a positive final evaluation from your mentor.

Is there an IRC channel I can lurk on?

#openmrs on freenode.net

What about mailing lists?

OpenMRS community maintains public mailing lists for both developers and implementers (people using OpenMRS). Anyone is free to free to join these lists and view their archives.

We maintain a private mailing list for all interns and mentors.

Is there a t-shirt involved?

Yes, all successful participants will receive an OpenMRS Internship Program t-shirt (which will be really cool). As part of the application process, we'll ask for your t-shirt size. Your t-shirt will be shipped once you've successfully completed your development work.

Successful participants will also receive a certificate of completion at the close of the program.

What if I have a question not answered in this FAQ?

If the FAQs and wiki still don't answer your questions, you can reach the OpenMRS Internship Program (OIP) program administration team at email|questions|openmrs.org

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