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Welcome to Season of Docs!

Season of Docs icon

Fostering open source collaboration with technical writers

Write Code. Save Lives.

OpenMRS is excited to be a mentoring organization for Google Season of Docs™ 2020

Since 2007, we've enjoyed participating Google programs like Google Summer of Code and Google Code In. When Google introduced Google Season of Docs in 2019, we were excited to participate and became the only organization to work with three technical writers. This year, we're extremely excited about the projects and mentorship opportunities available. Documentation is critical for open-source projects like OpenMRS.  Google Season of Docs is a great way to get to know our documentation, our code and improve your writing skills. At the same time, your contribution will help benefit people in developing countries who are on the front lines of the battle against HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria, COVID-19 and other public health challenges. For a more detailed history of who we are and what we do, please see here.

This page is arranged as follows...

Program Timeline

See here for more info on the full GSoD 2020 program timeline.

PASSED  March 23, 2020 Season of Docs program announced

PASSED   April 13, 2020 at 20:00 UTC Mentoring organizations can begin submitting applications to Google

PASSED    May 4, 2020 at 20:00 UTC Deadline for organization applications

PASSED   May 4 -May 10, 2020 Google program administrators review organization applications

PASSED   May 11, 2020 at 12:00 Google publishes the list of accepted mentoring organizations

PASSED May 11 - June 8, 2020 Interested technical writers discuss project ideas with mentoring organizations

PASSED  June 9, 2020 at 18:00 UTC Start of technical writer application period and 

PASSED    July 9, 2020 at 18:00 UTC Deadline for technical writer applications

PASSED  July 9, 2020 - July 31, 2020 Proposal review period for organizations

PASSED   July 31, 2020 at 20:00 UTC Deadline for project selections by organizations

PASSED  July 31, 2020 - August 16, 2020 Proposal review period for Google

PASSED   August 16, 2020 at 22:00 UTC Google announces the accepted technical writer projects

PASSED August 17 - September 13, 2020 Technical writers get to know mentors, get up to speed with the open source organization, and refine their projects in collaboration with mentors

PASSED   September 14, 2020 Doc development officially begins

ONGOING   September 14, 2020 - November 30, 2020 Technical writers work on their project with guidance from mentors

AWAITING   November 30 - December 5, 2020 at 18:00 UTC Technical writers submit their final work products also known as final work products

AWAITING  December 3 - 10, 2020 at 18:00 UTC Mentors submit their evaluations of the success of the projects and their experience working with the technical writers

AWAITING   January 6, 2021 Google announces the results of Season of Docs 2020 for standard-length projects

AWAITING  March 1 – 8, 2021 at 18:00 UTC Technical writers in long running projects, submit their project reports also known as final work products

AWAITING  March 1 - 8, 2021 at 18:00 UTC Technical writers in long running projects submit their evaluations of the success and their experience working with mentors

AWAITING   March 4 - 12, 2021 at 18:00 UTC Mentors in long-running projects submit their evaluations of the success of the projects and their experience working with technical writers

AWAITING   March 15, 2021 Google adds the long-running projects to the results of Season of Docs 2020

AWAITING  March 23, 2021 Season of Docs program announced

Project Ideas

Project NameMentorsWiki Page

Extending User Friendly Github Documentation for REST API

Extend Existing Documentation for REST API with more Resources and Examples.

Developing Tools and Processes for Maintaining OpenMRS Documentation

Developing Tools and Processes for Maintaining OpenMRS Documentation

Developing User Friendly Github Documentation for FHIR API
Developing User Friendly Documentation for FHIR API
Developing a Suite of Volunteer GuidesDeveloping a Suite of Volunteer Guides
Improving Documentation for new developersImproving Documentation for new developers

How does it work?

Here's the high-level workflow of the Season of Docs program:

  • Open source organizations apply to be mentor organizations in this year's Season of Docs. They may submit a list of documentation project ideas with their applications.

  • Technical writers explore the list of participating organizations and choose the projects that interest them. A technical writer may contact the relevant organizations to discuss their ideas. The technical writer then writes up a project proposal and submits it to Season of Docs.

  • The organizations confirm the technical writing projects that they want to mentor.

  • The accepted technical writers spend a few months working with mentors from the open source organizations to complete their projects.

  • At the end of the program, the Google program administrators announce the projects that finished successfully.

The timeline shows the details of the steps involved and the key dates.

Participants and roles

Below are the primary groups of people who take part in Season of Docs and the role each group plays in the program:

  • Organization administrators are members of the participating open source organizations who act as the principal Season of Docs contact for their organization. The organization administrators submit the organization’s application to take part in Season of Docs, manage the mentors within their organizations, make sure the technical writing projects stay on track, handle the paperwork, and manage the distribution of the mentor stipend. See the administrator guide and responsibilities

  • Open source mentors are members of the participating open source organizations who’re accepted as mentors for this year’s Season of Docs. The mentors work closely with the technical writers to help ensure a successful project. See the mentor guide and responsibilities.

  • Technical writers are technical writers worldwide who’re accepted to take part in this year’s Season of Docs. Applicants must be able to demonstrate prior technical writing experience by submitting role descriptions and work samples. See the technical writer guide and responsibilities.

  • Google program administrators are program managers within Google who run the Season of Docs program.

Technical writer eligibility

Technical writers must be:

  • At least 18 years old at time of registration.
  • Able to demonstrate prior technical writing experience by submitting role descriptions and work samples.
  • Eligible to work in their country of residence during duration of program.
  • A resident of a country not currently embargoed by the United States. (See the Sanctions Programs and Country Information from the US Treasury.)

Expectations of Technical Writers

After being accepted

Responsibilities towards your mentor

  • Submit high-quality work.
  • Regularly communicate the work you have completed, what you intend to do next, and any blockers you encounter.
    • Ask for help when something is preventing you from achieving a goal.
    • Give some indication that you are working daily or at the agreed intervals.
  • Re-evaluate work scope when significantly ahead of or behind expectations.
  • Communicate with your mentor and the broader community.
  • Inform as early as possible when work capacity will be reduced (for example, due to family commitments, health, other work commitments).
  • Listen and respond to feedback.

Responsibilities towards the administrator of your open source organization

  • Let them know when there are:
    • Interaction issues with any mentor or community member.
    • Significant disagreements involving your work or changes to your work plan.

Responsibilities towards the Google OpenMRS Program administrators

The Google program administrators manage the program as a whole. This includes announcing when the program moves from one stage to another, providing the participant stipends via Payoneer, and announcing the program results.

Your responsibilities include the following:

  • Respond to registration requests within the stipulated time frame.
  • Submit your project report and evaluation within the stipulated time frame.
  • Let the program administrators know of any bugs or communication problems.

Warmup Practices for GSoD Technical Writers

  1. Signup for An OpenMRS ID , if you don’t have one (It’s what you will use to communicate)

  2. If you are new to OpenMRS, spend some time to understand OpenMRS community / Software / practices and its usages around the world , best place to start is our Wiki

  3. Read Through the OpenMRS GSOD Page wiki page and more so Technical Writer’s Guide

  4. If you have any question/s please use our official communication channels namely OpenMRS Talk, Telegram and IRC Channels

  5. Be active on OpenMRS talk forum ,by discussing project ideas with The OpenMRS Community. Ask as many questions as possible, or share articles to do with your Project Ideas

  6. Read through Hints on the Application / Acceptance Criteria

GSoD Mentor responsibilities

These are the responsibilities of the mentors within the open source organizations.

Responsibilities towards your open source organization

  • Communicate availability and interaction expectations
  • Inform when mentoring capacity will be reduced, as early as possible (for example, family, health, vacation)
  • Inform when there is an issue with a technical writer, including:
    • Lacking communication, activity, visibility, or progress
    • Participant Agreement violations (for example, plagiarism, harassment, fraud)
    • Bad fit for the project, or stepping down
  • Formally evaluate technical writer participation.
    • Communicate with organization administrator and technical writer before marking the project as failed

Responsibilities towards the technical writer

These are your responsibilities towards the technical writer that you're mentoring:

  • Help and/or teach the technical writer how to
    • be a part of your community
    • communicate more effectively and in the open
    • work with your organization’s preferred communication channel (IRC, Slack, etc)
    • use your organization’s version control system
    • ask good questions and get answers to their questions
    • provide convincing technical argument and constructive discussion
    • be independently motivated and productive
    • solve difficult technical problems
  • Keep track of their progress, keep technical writer informed about their status
  • Communicate on a regular basis:
    • Have regular communication at least twice a week
    • Respond to questions within 24 hours (occasionally under 36 hours is OK)
  • Give constructive feedback, be patient, and be respectful
  • Establish realistic work objectives and timeline expectations
  • Re-evaluate scope with technical writer when significantly ahead of or behind expectations
  • Work with developers and community to facilitate acceptance of technical writer work

Expectations of  OpenMRS  Aministrators

These are the responsibilities of the administrators within OpenMRS.

Your responsibilities towards Google

  • Define organization participation, organization selection criteria, and organization-specific operating procedures
  • Submit the organization application and be the organization’s representative
  • Serve as communication liaison with Google
    • Respond to any inquiries from Google within 36 hours
    • Report violations of the Participant Agreement (for example, harassment, plagiarism, fraud)
    • Report the withdrawal of a technical writer
  • Ensure all deadlines are met (for example, mentor evaluations, organization invoices)
  • Select and invite trusted, capable, and qualified mentors
  • Provide and maintain an adequate list of project and task ideas
  • Oversee activity of all mentors and technical writers, ensuring responsibilities are met

Your responsibilities towards your mentors

  • Define organization participation, mentor requirements, failure process, and procedure
  • Communicate mentor expectations before the program starts
  • Communicate technical writer selection, continued participation, and dismissal policy
    • Provide selection criteria for Season of Docs slot allocations
    • Describe how Participant Agreement violations and failure will be handled
  • Continuously evaluate mentor interaction with technical writers
    • Recognize conflicts of interest, interpersonal issues, and replace a mentor if necessary
  • Let mentors know when more tasks or project ideas are needed
  • Maintain regular communication with mentors before and during the program
  • Ensure adequate and appropriate mentoring coverage, particularly near holidays

Your responsibilities towards your technical writers

  • Let technical writers know how, when, and why to contact the organization administrator
  • Ensure technical writers are introduced and become appropriately integrated
  • Communicate organization-specific requirements (for example, time, coding, communication, licensing)
  • Communicate organization-specific expectations (for example, behavior, best practices, visibility)
  • Communicate deadlines, acceptance criteria, and failure/dismissal policy
  • Monitor communications and ensure inappropriate behavior is addressed
  • Ensure technical writers at risk of failure or dismissal are notified in advance

Next steps

  • Join the announcement mailing list at season-of-docs-announce to stay informed about when applications open and other important program events.
  • Check the timeline for important dates and milestones.
  • Introduction
  • Project Ideas
  • Participants and Roles
  • Expectations of Technical Writers
  • Expectations of Mentors
  • Have Additional Questions ?
  • Application Requirements & Questions
  • Get started by registering as a participant, whether you're a technical writer or a member of an open source project.
  • Read the FAQ if you have any questions.
  • Contact us if you need more help or want to join the discussions.

Important Links

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