DESIGNING FOR AN OPEN-SOURCE COMMUNITY: DATAMINING PARSONS
Parsons School of Design (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:dataMYNE is a faculty-led research initiative featuring open source software technology at Parsons The New School for Design. Utilizing an unique design process, tailored interface design and open source computing, dataMYNE augments highly standardized, commercial administrative systems that dominate the academic field with new ways to visualize and connect faculty, students and departments for greater interdisciplinary potential.
dataMYNE prioritizes information needs, expanding the limited functionality of commonplace “turn-key” systems of commercial administration software. Built as an open source platform, dataMYNE builds on existing administrative data sources while providing dynamic connections and interactive tools that reveal critical research and curricular interconnections. dataMYNE users have direct input for their own data to update and annotate their research interests and expertise, utilizing Web 2.0 technologies that facilitate extensibility and scalability.
Like the majority of colleges and universities, Parsons presently relies on Banner, an administrative software suite designed by SunGard Data Systems which prioritizes data security to the extent that it often hinders commonplace functionality. In relying solely on Banner to provide all administrative software services, the university is beholden to limited interfaces and restricted database procedures that often impede the ability to use information for even the most rudimentary functions, such as a simple keyword search. Lack of access to information has been compounded by the nature of Parsons, one of several divisions of The New School, an urban university with no campus ‘center’ and few resources for collaboration or interaction between departments or institutes.
Since the emergence of Web 2.0 technologies, several open source systems have been developed by non-profit and academic consortiums. Among these, the Kuali system designed for academic financial administration has gained significant attention from both early adopters and commercial competition. dataMYNE remains unique, however, in its design for visualizing and connecting multi-faceted components within an academic community.
As a cloud computing system, dataMYNE is scaled to bridge multiple sources of content, providing a single source to interface the most immediate, accurate information among multiple platforms-- web, mobile phones, and administrative databases. This network of content includes faculty profiles that extend standard biographical and professional information with keywords that map out areas of expertise and ongoing research, data feeds for current activity, streaming lectures, project documentation and a teaching history and syllabi. Course profiles streamline the curricular content to expand on course descriptions to articulate learning outcomes, keyword tags, program requirements, sample outcomes and projects. Robust search functionality provides methods for browsing and filtering data to allow users efficient, powerful information selections; and an array of visualization and mapping tools that reveal interdisciplinary opportunities and research connections.
Launched in Fall, 2009, dataMYNE is expanding within Parsons, and maintains the support of university administration. As a contemporary technology tailored to the information needs of an academic community, dataMYNE stands as a transformative venture in the emerging field of open source administrative systems.
Keywords: Social Media, Cloud Computing, Academic Technology, Web 2.0, Open Source, Relational Database, Relational Dataset.