Inside the Black Box: Open Source and Higher Education Systems

AIM1 Applications, Integration and Mobile

Location: Steamboat

MONDAY, 8:30 - 9:15 a.m.

Modern applications are not built from scratch. Instead, we combine together a variety of open-source components, frameworks, and libraries to efficiently create products that meet our users' needs. But when it comes to higher education, the open-source landscape feels sparse: where are the components to process government file formats? Where is the framework for creating a campus tour? Why don't we have libraries for common financial aid calculations? In this session, we will explore how institutions can embrace the open-source development of their core systems, from student information systems to financial aid management, by breaking open these black box systems and viewing them as a composition of parts, parts that can be shared and developed across schools. Through this more granular perspective, higher education institutions don't have to view participating in open-source as a daunting "all or nothing" prospect. Instead, by sharing pieces of our systems, we create an open, collaborative ecosystem that allows us to leverage the contributions of our fellow campuses to remain flexible to the needs of our users. At the end of this session, you will have a better understanding of, and tangible strategies for, how your institution can participate in and benefit from a higher education open-source ecosystem.

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Logan Franken
Development Tech Lead, Financial Aid Information Systems, University of California, Santa Barbara

Logan Franken is a Development Tech Lead for the Financial Aid Information Systems Team at the University of California, Santa Barbara, his alma mater. He is passionate about collaborating with his colleagues in higher education to create sustainable, student-focused systems. Franken has given several talks and workshops at conferences, including HigherEdWeb West and the UCLA MMWCon. He now works remotely from his home in Seattle, Washington.