ACA & LAMP win MATC Award

logo_lampYesterday, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation announced the winners of the Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration (MATC).  The Appalachian College Association received an award for leadership of the LAMP consortium (Learning Asset Management Project) that, among other activities, provides Sakai for the ACA.

The Sakai support is provided by the Longsight group, a Sakai Commercial Affiliate, and CEATH (many of you know Martin Ramsey).

This is a significant and well-deserved honor. Please join me in congratulating everyone involved!

mellon-award_2

Martin Ramsey receiving MATC award

You can read the full press release from Lamp below and find Mellon press release here.  You’ll also notice that the Foothill College won an MATC award as well for its work on Mneme.  More on this later.

APPALACHIAN SAKAI PROJECT WINS PRESTIGIOUS MELLON AWARD

December 8, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Appalachian College Association today received a prestigious 2008 Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration for the consortium’s project, “Learning Asset Management Project” or LAMP.  LAMP brings together 14,000 students and faculty members of 16 of the Association’s member institutions in a shared instance of Sakai, a leading open source collaboration and learning environment.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation of New York announced the award at a ceremony on December 8 at the annual meeting of the Coalition for Networked Information in Washington, D.C.  Paul Chewning, President of the Appalachian College Association, received the award on behalf of the ACA.  Also on hand at the ceremony was Martin Ramsay of CEATH Company and founder and facilitator of LAMP, and Scott Siddall, Managing Partner of The Longsight Group, the hosting and support provider behind LAMP.  The Longsight Group has partnered with the project from inception through its rapid growth and success today.

Sakai has provided LAMP participants with a reliable online learning environment and has provided a crucial step towards intra-institutional sharing and collaboration.  LAMP has served as a model of cost-containment but additionally, has fostered shared courses and disciplinary content, improved small group collaboration for both academic and administrative purposes. Siddall noted that “Campus leaders in LAMP recognize that it is more strategic to access and share a rich set of pedagogical tools than it is to invest limited resources owning and operating these technologies.  By tapping Longsight’s expertise in supporting Sakai for large and small institutions, LAMP schools are able to focus on teaching and learning outcomes instead of the technologies.”

Longsight hosts and supports the latest version of Sakai for LAMP.  One to two LAMP coordinators at each school provide end user support. Coordinators participate in monthly LAMP project conference calls to review policy issues, discuss upgrades and new tools and plan next steps. Users of the system receive a customized theme to match their institutional colors and coordinators from each institution have elevated privileges to help support their institutional users.  Longsight provides aggregated authentication services for the institutions that leverage the campus LDAP directories and provides batch user creation tools for campuses without centralized user directories.  In addition, Longsight built a system to provide aggregated, detailed statistical reports on system usage by institution, course, participant, tool and content.

The MATC awards provide the recipients with opportunities to strengthen their commitment to inter-organizational collaboration and open source software development.   This award provides $50,000 as recognition of important organizational contributions to open source projects which currently or potentially provide significant benefits to at least one traditional Mellon constituency.  According to Ramsay, “Smaller schools don’t have the resources of large institutions,” he said. “Instead of competing our way out of that problem, we collaborated our way out.”  Siddall added, “This project demonstrates that Sakai is not just for research universities.  Combined with experienced support and hosting, Sakai is a strong framework for teaching and learning at institutions of all sizes.”

The 2008 recipients were selected by the MATC Award Committee, which includes Sir Timothy Berners-Lee (Director, World Wide Web Consortium), Mitchell Baker (CEO, Mozilla Corporation), John Seely Brown (former Chief Scientist, Xerox Corp.), Vinton G. Cerf (Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist, Google, Inc.), John Gage (Chief Researcher and Director of the Science Office, Sun Microsystems, Inc.), and Tim O’Reilly (Founder and CEO, O’Reilly Media).   “In recognizing the Appalachian College Association’s work in creating and leading the LAMP project, the MATC Award Committee noted the importance of new sustainability models to the long-term success of open and community source software initiatives,” said Ira Fuchs, Mellon Foundation Vice President for Research in Information Technology.

Longsight and CEATH have partnered to help other consortia contain costs while accessing extraordinary teaching and learning tools using this model of a shared learning environment. Contact either firm for more information.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is a philanthropic organization with offices in New York City and Princeton, NJ. The MATC awards (http://matc.mellon.org) are a project of the Foundation’s Program in Research in Information Technology (RIT).

The Appalachian College Association (http://www.acaweb.org) is a consortium of 36 small, private liberal arts colleges serving 42,000 students in the Appalachian Mountain region of the eastern United States.

The Longsight Group (http://longsight.com) provides hosting and comprehensive support solutions to higher education based on carefully selected open source software including Sakai (http://sakaiproject.org).  The CEATH Company (http://ceath.com) has clients on three continents from academic non-profits to Fortune 5 corporations.

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For more information, contact Longsight at 740-599-5005 or information@longsight.com

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