GSoC/GCI Archive
Google Summer of Code 2012

Learning Unlimited, Inc.

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Learning Unlimited (LU) creates opportunities for middle school and high school students to explore a variety of topics --- from quantum mechanics to urban design to modern poetry to street drumming --- so that students can find what they love to learn. Our mentoring and support enables college students to run independent educational programs on their campuses where they teach their passions, sharing them with younger generations.

We support programs now running at 17 universities (up from 10 at this time last year) across the US, including MIT, Stanford, the Univ. of Chicago, and Duke. The programs involve over 1,000 volunteer teachers and administrators and reach over 7,000 secondary students annually. We continue to mentor new startup organizations and expect to continue rapid growth.

LU maintains an extensive open-source Web app that provides the automation needed for small teams of college students to run programs that scale to hundreds of classes and thousands of participants. This system allows teachers to register classes, students to sign up for classes, and administrators to schedule classes. Web sites running on our code have complex user searching, querying, and e-mailing capabilities; automated generation of printed materials such as course catalogs and attendance sheets; and heavily customizable front-end interfaces. Our chapters are starting to make use of the generic automation features (custom forms and data querying/export) that were implemented during last year's Summer of Code and incorporated into our main code branch. We're looking for bright students to take on the challenging problems of serving these logistically complex events with helpful online tools that save everyone time.


  • Database improvements through decreasing dependence on datatree and userbits The website has a rather heavy reliance on an overly dynamic tree-based structure which negatively affects usability and development. The aim is to break that reliance by reworking the parts of the site that use it, all the while improving the overall quality and maintainability of the code-base.
  • Implement generic templates through a WYSIWYG editor, and improve ease of use of a new website. This project implements a web based Editor that admins can use to customize the appearance of their website without any knowledge of web technologies. Generic templates are implemented in the form of skins. Use the editor to customize these. The skins are based on template overriding in Django, and are bundled with accompanying CSS and Javascript. Fix the currently broken and patchy bare-bones website that a new user starts with when he downloads the code. Populate it with useful defaults and include essential modules. Provide things like a wizard to setup the static pages so that new user frustration is kept to a minimum. Also simplify the user registration process by being lazy about asking for information.
  • Mobile Apps This project seeks to facilitate logistics during the event and increase the accessibility of the chapters' sites. I propose to develop a separate mobile web app using Sencha Touch framework. This app will be integrated with the existing codebase, with some changes required in the server-side code to handle client requests.