The following Press Release has just been made available by the Apereo Foundation and Marist College. It provides an interesting and exciting use case for usage of Apereo OAE and we'll definitely continue to report updates on how this is playing out.

Marist College launches The FOLD at NY Fashion Week Using Open-Source Software from the Apereo Foundation

Online learning gets fashionable! First-of-its-kind, student-driven online collaborative learning environment for all things fashion launches at MaristXOXBetsey show, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week collaboration between Marist and design icon Betsey Johnson

PRLog (Press Release) - Feb. 14, 2014 - NEW YORK -- Marist College has extended its leadership in educational technology with the launch of The FOLD, a student-driven, collaborative online learning resource for all things fashion, which is leveraging the power of two Apereo Foundation projects, Sakai and the Open Academic Environment (OAE), as part of the institution's strategic Academic Community Cloud initiative.

“Marist has been a leader in distance education for over a decade, yet we are constantly challenging ourselves to innovate these programs,” said Bill Thirsk, Marist Vice President of Information Technology and CIO. “We believe that the Academic Community Cloud concept will allow us to take the next major evolutionary step forward in online learning by going beyond providing a platform for outstanding courses, which Sakai has given us for many years, to bringing our entire academic community of scholars, educators, and students online, as well.”

The Academic Community Cloud (ACC), which is being piloted by a number of the college's Centers of Excellence -- including fashion, enterprise computing, and the Ray Rich Leadership Institute --  uses the Sakai open-source learning management system to support a range of formal online learning experiences, from small seminars to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).  At the same time, the ACC is leveraging the Open Academic Environment (OAE) to support more informal academic collaboration of the sort that has traditionally taken place on campus (e.g. research teams, student organizations, study groups, etc.), but which has been largely absent from online learning programs.

“The ability for users of OAE to control whether content and interactions are shared with just their group, the entire institution, across institutions, or even with the world is extremely powerful from a community building and collaboration perspective,” said Josh Baron, Marist Senior Academic Technology Officer and member of the Apereo Foundation Board of Directors. “The FOLD (Fashion Online Learning Domain) is a great example of how this new ability to support academic collaboration at a global scale is allowing Marist students to gain real world learning experiences through engagement with their peers, professionals, and scholars in the fashion industry.”

With The FOLD, Marist's renowned Fashion Program is taking full advantage of the college's leading-edge technology platform and recognized expertise in academic technology to provide to students around the world interested in all facets of the fashion industry:

  • A student-driven, academic fashion community available to anyone anywhere
  • Free online mini-courses for the fashion-minded student or professional
  • The first peer-to-peer online course about fashion trend forecasting “developed by students for students”
  • Insider's view on everything Fashion at Marist and far beyond

The FOLD builds on earlier pilots that were implemented last semester as part of the “Fashion in the Cloud” course taught by Radley Cramer, Director of the Marist Fashion Program, and Melissa Halvorson, a Professional Lecturer in the Fashion Program.  As part of this course, students studying abroad used OAE to share photos of street trends they were observing around the world and then engage in a global dialog about them.  â€œIt was thrilling to see our fashion students using OAE to engage in the real world experience of observing, recording, and sharing street trends from Hong Kong, London, Paris, and New York,” said Cramer. “Given the success of this initial pilot, we are tremendously excited about the launch of The FOLD and the chance to scale up this work.”

To see examples of the street trends students identify using OAE from the fall course go to:

Explore what's to come and register to participate at

About Marist

Located in New York State's historic Hudson River Valley, with a branch campus in Florence, Italy, extension centers throughout New York, and educational offerings around the world through its online programs, Marist College is a comprehensive, independent institution grounded in the liberal arts. Marist educates 5,900 students in 44 undergraduate majors and 12 graduate programs, including fully online MBA, MPA, MS, and MA degrees and is recognized for excellence by U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review, and Kiplinger's Personal Finance.

About the Apereo Foundation

The Apereo Foundation was formed by the merger of Jasig and the Sakai Foundation in late December 2012. Sakai and Jasig had been pioneers in the production and adoption of open source software for higher education for over ten years.  Apereo will take that work further, providing a more rational and improved organizational umbrella for a range of projects and software communities serving higher education. The core mission of the Foundation -- to "assist and facilitate educational organizations which collaborate to foster, develop, and sustain open technologies and innovation to support learning, teaching, and research" -- is discussed, along with the rationale for the merger, in more detail in the white paper “The Value of a Common Foundation: The Case for Apereo”.

About the Open Academic Environment (OAE) Project

The Open Academic Environment (OAE) supports learning and scholarship above the institutional layer by facilitating networks of content, people, and their collaborative activities.  The open-source project partners currently include University of Cambridge, Georgia Institute of Technology, Marist College, ESUP Portail Consortium and Research Professionals.  A project overview and blog can be found at: