Open Education Collaborator Onboarding

Open Education Collaborator Onboarding - Omdena

Guidelines for Omdena Open Education Collaborators

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, French writer and pioneering aviator.

The above quote very well describes Omdena environment. It is often difficult for newcomers to Omdena to grasp the idea that we do not have a top-down structure, no one is going to give them orders, and they have to self-drive and self-manage, but when they get it, they love it. As described by one fellow collaborator:

“What happens in such projects is pure magic.”

So let the magic begin!







Our Values:

  • Collaborative Learning — If you are stuck, ask others for help, there are no wrong questions.
  • Trust— You don’t have to ask permission to take responsibility. Trust in you and do it.
  • Diversity — You are unique and we harness different perspectives to solve problems.
  • Fun — We are not too serious, laughing is essential for what we do. Enjoy the moment!


Your Benefits:

Once you get accepted to collaborate on local chapter projects you’ll get access to the Omdena Local Chapter Community, which includes:


— Learning how real-world data science projects are solved by getting hands-on experience. 

— Developing your DS/AI skills and showcasing them through open-source solutions

— Networking with chapter members and leads from 25+ countries. 

— Preferential selection to the Omdena core challenges and future access to the Omdena members benefit platform.                                                                             









Four Key Principles in Every Omdena Open Education Project



    • Bottom-up Collaboration: Everyone is free to pursue their own ideas about addressing the problem. There is no hierarchy on the team and no one will tell you what to do. It’s up to you to leverage the resources available, jump in and collaborate. The first couple of weeks can seem chaotic and that’s by design.


    • Transparent Communication: For the good of the entire community, discussions must be held openly in the slack channels. Private direct messages (DMs) are discouraged and will not be considered as participation. All interactions should be in the slack channels and not via direct message or email. Please do not create channels for sub-groups other than the working task groups. Discussions should happen openly in the discussion channel.


    • Active Participation : We believe, the only way to learn is to do. For that reason, we highly encourage you to be active throughout the project. This includes contributing to slack discussions, pushing code to github and being active in team meetings. Those who  participate actively, will be identified throughout the projects and given preferential selection to the Omdena core challenges. 


  •     Engage: Reach out to a Task Leader and offer to pitch in. If you need further guidance, reach out in the #support channel for others to help you. 



Our Learning Methodology


Our learning model is inspired by Self-Organized and Initiated Learning-Environments (SOLE), which brings tremendous benefits to accelerate your growth. You can watch a video on a SOLE use case here.


How the tasks are organised

The problem is already broken down into the necessary tasks required to solve it. You will get an overview of those tasks during the kickoff presentation. A task is something that generates data or code. Each task forms a group, called a task group, which has one task leader, who represents the task and coordinates activities between the members within the task group. Each task will be in a separate channel in Slack. Since it is a self-organised environment, anyone is allowed to join another task group. If you think of a task that can help solve the problem, feel free to suggest it in the #tasks channel tagging the product owner and they will assess. If there is general consensus that the task should be created, they will create a channel for it.  Each task group has to present their work weekly. On average 10-20 people actively participate per task group. 


After the kickoff call, the Product owner will create all of the task channels discussed and announce them in the #task channel for the rest of the group to see and join. For example, we will start with labeling and name the channel task1_labeling. Read more about the task rules below:


  • Each technical task has 1 task leader. At max 5-7 people actively participating. 
  • For the labeling task, there can be multiple subgroups (3 max ). At max 15 people actively working. 
  • Preferably, each person is actively participating in one technical task, but if you can take multiple tasks, go ahead. 
  • Try to take up the role/responsibility most appropriate for your level of experience. But of course, over time, we would encourage you to take up other tasks especially more complicated tasks. 
  • Each week every task group presents their work, and those who are not performing in a group will be asked to leave or put on the watch list. 


When you want to actively participate in a task, please add yourself to the task channel. Each task channel details can be found in the topic of the channel.


If you are a task leader, announce yourself and if others agree, feel free to represent the task group. You can maintain the task document and progress of the task. Every week each task group presents the work done by them, the task leader conducts the presentation via slides. 


Benefits of being a task leader

As written by one of the previous task leader:

If you really enjoy working with others and learning from other people, you may want to be a task leader. As mentioned by one of the past task leaders, “Being in charge of this task pushed me to stay motivated and not to be afraid to test various different methods to the same problem”. Another collaborator said that her experience as a task leader in an Omdena project was highly appreciated by her job interviewer and helped her land the job.


The Technical Infrastructure 

TOOLS – You are free to use Google Collab, Microsoft Azure notebooks or other solutions if you prefer. We may provide access to other tools specific to the project. Those will be announced during the kickoff call.


CODE – Community members are encouraged to constantly push their code to the subgroup’s GitHub repository. We will give you access to the repo.


COMMUNICATION – Written communication happens in Slack. We have different channels for different purposes.

  • Channel #community_stories – A place where community members introduce themselves. You can see examples below. Feel free to share whatever is on your mind, we are not too serious ;P.
  • Channel #discussions – A place to discuss the project.
  • Channel #meetings – A place to announce upcoming meetings, including the Kickoff call.
  • Channel #problem_statement – A place to discuss and refine the problem statement for the project. Look at the pinned information to find the initial Problem Statement document.
  • Channel #questions – A place to post your questions to the chapter lead/product owner. It is a good idea to tag them.
  • Channel #support – A place to voice anything you may be stuck on for others to help with. 
  • Channel #task_summaries – A place were task leader will post weekly progress summaries.
  • Channel #tasks – A place where task management happens. Later in the project, most of the communication happens within task groups while results sharing happens for the entire community. For each task, you can read the details in the document linked from the topic of each channel.
  • Channel #tools – A place to learn about the tools available for the given project.
  • Channel #task-0-knowledge – A place to share useful resources to solve the project (links, tutorials, meeting notes, task outlines, objectives). A document will be linked from the topic of the channel to store all the resources used.
  • Channel #project_results – A place where the task leaders will collectively craft a document or presentation that captures the work done and the findings of that work (this channel will be created halfway through the project).


The role of the Project Owner

There will be a project owner appointed to the project who will make sure the project is executed successfully in the 1 month timeline. He/She will be responsible for scheduling the weekly team meeting, providing project status reports and communicating with the Omdena core team on progress. It is not the project owner’s responsibility to assign task leaders or contribute to the technical solution building.



In Summary


  • Our projects encourage creative thinking: Only if you can think independently and problem-solving oriented, you can make an impact.
  • Improves communication skills: You will present your work to your peers and the community. One of the most important skills is to be able to communicate your results and ideas clearly, at Omdena you will learn it. 
  • You will improve intercultural skills and make friends beyond borders: Our community represents people from over 25 countries. Connect and learn from each other.


‘What seems a bit chaotic at first, one starts to appreciate the experience and realise the relevance of working in self-organising environment, where crucial conclusions and optimal solutions eventually emerge as winners. It is very well welcomed and a valuable experience. It makes me proud to be a part of it.’

 — Vjeko Hofman – Omdena Collaborator



If you have any questions during the project, send an email to [email protected]

Now, let’s build a meaningful career. 🙂