Presenting at Open Apereo 2018

This post is also available on the Website and Communications blog space.

Earlier this year I presented our work surrounding Notifications to the Apereo community at Open Apereo 2018. As an international event dedicated to developing and sustaining innovative open-source software solutions for education, it was a great opportunity to share what we have been doing at Edinburgh and within the Incubation Process we entered earlier in 2018.

The view over Montreal after a hike up Mount Royal.

What is it we are doing?

This excerpt from our Incubation proposal offers a clear overview: “The Notification Backbone aims to transform task-related communications within higher education institutions, through delivering a cross-system solution for personalised notifications and emergency communications, enabling notifications to be created-by and consumed across multiple services and communication channels. It is hoped it will improve end-user experience, increase efficiency and effectiveness of internal communication, and standardise and simplify key communication processes.”

The Presentation

The bulk of my presentation shared with the community the journey we had embarked on over the previous year; what had been achieved, what didn’t go so well, what we’ve learnt and how we were working towards delivering a sustainable Service, for ourselves at Edinburgh and the wider community. Here our the slides from the presentation: Rolling out a central notifications service.

The Feedback

It was great to share this work and to hear of interest from others. A colleague had previously delivered a similar presentation the year before when we were about to embark on this piece, so many were aware of what we were hoping to achieve. What I found most interesting was hearing alternative use cases for the Service, some that hadn’t come up in our early conversations. Part of our Incubation Process involves sharing code on an open repository. This hadn’t been done in time for the conference, and was my main takeaway to ensure we did this; sooner rather than later! Sharing everything in the open is the first step in building a community of interest and engagement around the project.


Prior to the conference I had planned out which sessions and talks I had wanted to attend, and felt if I went to these alone (and made notes) it will have been a successful experience. Whilst I took a lot from each of the talks, actually being present and able to chat face-to-face (in some cases over dinner!) regarding current developments, challenges and approaches was by far the most invaluable experience I took from the 3 days. Presenting our work to others who have similar interests and needs was encouraging and confirmed we’re on the right path, and I hope our discussions continue between now and the next one.