Are you a University of Washington undergraduate interested in gaining web development experience and making programming more playful, global, and accessible?

Already registered for INFO 499 with me already? We'll be meeting in BLD 070 on Tuesdays from 5:30-6:30 pm, starting Wednesday, September 26th, 2023. It's a basement, but it's cozy, and has flexible tables, so it will do.

I'm recruiting students to join our Wordplaypen, a team that helps design, build, and maintain Wordplay. Wordplay is a playful programming platform for creating accessible, interactive typography that celebrates the world's languages. Our vision is to create a global platform for creative expression with language that celebrates every indivdual's culture, identity, and values, while also enabling youth to learn about the power and limits of computing.

I'm excited to work with any University of Washington undergraduate excited about that vision and who has:

  • A passion for equity and justice.
  • (Optionally) lived experience with disability and/or fluency in non-English languages. This is because a major goal of Wordplay is accessibility and global inclusion, and we can't meaningfully achieve that without your knowledge and lived experience.
  • Basic web development knowledge (e.g. from CSE 154, INFO 340, or other experience). And I do mean basic — it's okay if you're still just learning. This is an opportunity to strengthen your skills.

You don't need to know how programming languages are built, but you'll probably learn about it by contributing.

Here are some things you might contribute:

  • Designing and redesigning the language and platform
  • Implementing new user interface features
  • Improving correctness and reliability of current features
  • Localizing to one or more of the world's languages
  • Writing automated tests
  • Verifying accessibility
  • Providing peer feedback
  • Teaching peers, including programming, testing, software engineering, and design skills

Why should I contribute? 🔗

Many reasons!

  • Learn TypeScript, Sveltekit, and/or Firebase, and strengthen your knowledge in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
  • Gain practical skills in software engineering, including bug triage, Git workflows, code reviews, verification, and programming languages. (INFO 442 is a great place to do that too, but this will be 100% hands-on.)
  • Contribute to a programming platform that centers equity and inclusion, and research on how to achieve that.
  • Be credited on the Wordplay website and repository as a contributor, which can be helpful for resume building.
  • Get a letter of recommendation from me about your contributions to the team. Because of the number of students contributing, I'll need you're help writing these, so I'm not overwhelmed by letter requests. See the guidelines in my FAQ and additionally send me one paragraph describing in detail what you contributed to the project and how you view it's level of quality.

How do I join the team? 🔗

First, ensure you are available at the day, time, and location listed at the top of this page. We'll run hybrid sprint planning meetings each week at that time, and attendance is mandatory unless ill. (In-person is preferred, but virtual will always be possible for reasons of illness, travel, commuting, etc.)

Then, register for INFO 499 for anywhere from 1-5 credits by the start of the quarter. As part of your proposal, indicate:

  • Why you want to participate,
  • What skills and lived experience you would bring to the project, and
  • How much time you are willing to commit.

The INFO 499 proposal form (which I don't control) don't quite align with the questions above. Just put answers wherever they fit best. I'm the only one who reviews these, so you're not going to be rejected for filling it "wrong" because there is no wrong.

iSchool student services can be slow to process these, but I expect to approve all proposals. Don't worry about trying to convince me, or writing some big epic essay, or being rejected. This isn't a competitive admissions process, I just want some context for your goals and availability, so I can prepare a good experience.

Your proposal can be very short; just a few sentences in each section would suffice.

Participation is quarterly and at a minimum will involve:

  • Onboarding, if you haven't yet done it.
  • A weekly sprint planning meeting with Amy to build community, identify and assign issues, and offer guidance. The first meeting we will identify issues in Wordplay's GitHub repository that are suitable for your time commitment and skills.
  • Asynchronous collaboration on Slack and GitHub on issues.
  • An end of quarter celebration of everyone's contributions!

More credits just means more commitments, so sign up for how much time you want to commit. Your INFO 499 grade can be graded or credit/no credit; your final assessment will be based on meeting the milestones you set in the first week of the quarter, but mostly as a disincentive to overcommit.

Other questions? Find me on ComputingEd@UW Slack and DM me. I know it's scary to write professors, but I'm friendly, I promise!

CC0 To the extent possible under law, Amy J. Ko has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to the design and implementation of Amy's faculty site. This work is published from the United States. See this site's GitHub repository to view source and provide feedback.