Facebook publicly launched Open Academy , a partnership with universities to create a class where students studying computer sciences are able to earn college credit for contributing to open source projects. The project expanded to 22 universities after the pilot program proved successful last year at Stanford University. The pilot and “private beta” programs took place at various schools, including MIT, where students worked on a variety of open source projects such as Mozilla Open Badge, Ruby on Rails and many more. The recent expansion of Open Academy is open to schools like the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, Purdue University, UCLA, Carnegie Mellon University, just to name a few. Open Academy pairs students with a mentor and an open source project, which they’ll begin to code. Students are able to work on collaborative teams in cyberspace from various schools across the country. According to a statement released by Facebook , “Software development as a profession has many features that are distinct from computer science as a subject.” The project offers students the opportunity to gain real world experience, creating programs and systems that people will actually use – rather than computer science projects within the classroom. Facebook also stated, “Projects are often larger than the people who participate in them; project management and interpersonal relationships can have as much impact on software design as technical issues; and systems are ultimately evaluated by user satisfaction rather than technical merit.” Mentors take on the role of professor, teaching the students about open source, review the students’ coding work and have the option to give lectures as deemed necessary. Students admitted to the program are the crème da la crème of those studying computer sciences, which is why it’s likely that many will be offered employment at Facebook upon graduation. This initiative will help Facebook recruit the top talent since competition is fierce. Open Academy undoubtedly will help both parties - students are able to develop their talent and the social media site will benefit from that talent for years to come by recruiting the best and brightest young talent to recruiting for the site. This will also give the participating students an advantage when looking for a job upon graduation, since their software development is actually being utilized by people everywhere. The next session, winter 2014, launches in February and is still open to students interested in the program. To learn more about Open Academy, visit Facebook’s Open Academy program details page.