Bill Yock, the associate vice provost of enterprise information services and the office of information management for UW, said the move to the new software was a strategic investment to replace a student information system that had been in use for 30 years.
The Kuali Community, which UW has been an investing member since 2008, has approximately 3,000 participating members who create back office software for institutions of higher learning at a fraction of the cost of other software companies like Oracle or PeopleSoft. The community also helps new members adopt the software for their institutions by taking them through the process of using the technology.
My Plan is an academic planning module enabling students to better plan their time in college. The idea was presented to the Kuali Community, as part of the process of all Kuali software implementation, and also presented to the student body of UW. It was accepted by both and the funding for building the software was funded by the students’ technology fee, which was part of the students’ agreement.
Yock said the software is for academic planning and offers students a tool to plan their learning objectives.
“Kuali Student (the umbrella software) holds the promise to let students plan their own education,” he said. “With traditional models, the faculty set out the plans. Today’s students are demanding more flexibility to obtain their objective.”
Becoming an investing partner in the community allows Yock and UW to have a large role in the progress and process of the software development of the My Plan software. Their role in the development has been shared with other community developers from all over the world.
“We’ve been getting used to the collaborative effort,” he said. “It’s been a big cultural shift especially training the staff on the new technology. It was difficult. We come from a culture where we build on our own.”
Yock added that having a number of different developers on the same project made it easier and benefitted the pace of putting together the software.
The first version of My Plan was established last year and was reviewed by the UW student body. According to Yock, after receiving feedback from the students it was proved to be a success.
“We were in a unique position to see all of the projects come together to solve a specific problem,” he said. “It brings pride for the University of Washington and the Kuali Community on what we can do together. It’s very rewarding to see how we’re proving the Kuali Community model as it was intended.
“It’s been powerful to see the domino effect and to see the end effect. I hope it snowballs into something really big.”