Marist's Baron Elected Chair Of Sakai Foundation Board

Jan 18, 2010, 11:25 ET from Marist College

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y., Jan. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Josh Baron, director of academic technology and eLearning at Marist College, has been elected to a full-term as chair of the Sakai Foundation Board of Directors for the coming year. Baron, a resident of Stone Ridge, NY, was elected to the Sakai Board in December 2007 after filling an unexpired term since August.

The Sakai Project is a landmark venture creating open-source course management, collaboration, and online research support tools for the higher education community. Begun through a collaboration involving the University of Michigan, Indiana University, MIT, and Stanford University, it now includes more than 200 universities, colleges, and institutions of learning around the world.

Baron first got involved with Sakai in 2005 when Marist College began to investigate the Sakai Collaborative Learning Environment as a potential long-term course management system solution for the institution. During the following two years, Baron became heavily involved in the open-source community that supports Sakai, becoming "track lead" for the Using Sakai track of the 2007 International Sakai Conference held in Newport Beach, California. During this event he helped organize a "Community Gathering" focused on establishing the nucleus of a new teaching and learning group within Sakai. Since then, the Sakai Teaching and Learning (T&L) Group has become a prominent influence within the project and has been the primary group behind the Teaching with Sakai Innovation Award, now entering its third year. More recently, the T&L Group, in collaboration with a number of other Sakai groups, launched an effort aimed at helping to define the learning capabilities that Sakai 3, the next generation of the system, will support.

"For me, the most impressive aspect of Project Sakai is the collective wisdom, talent and creativity found within the Sakai Community itself, as it is from such human endeavors that truly great things happen," said Baron. "I am truly honored to be part of such a wonderful group of people and helping to make the vision of Sakai a reality."

In addition to the leadership role Baron is currently playing, Marist College has also been contributing to Sakai through the IBM Joint Study Project which has been engaged in a research and development initiative for several years based on Sakai. Most recently, IBM researchers, based on the Marist campus, have worked with computer science student interns to integrate IBM's WebSphere Application Server and DB2 Database into Sakai's infrastructure. This work was officially accepted into the Sakai 2.6 core release and is being used in several proof-of-concept projects. This initiative has not only provided the Sakai community with new options with regards to the infrastructure that Sakai can run on but has also provided Marist students with unique learning experiences stemming from their involvement in a real-world open-source project.

As director of academic technology and eLearning at Marist, Baron is responsible for supporting a wide range of instructional technology initiatives, including distance learning, faculty training and student support. He also plays a leadership role in strategic planning for the College in areas of academic and information technology. Before coming to Marist, Baron was the associate director of instructional technology at Stevens Institute of Technology. In this capacity, he helped lead a $10 million U.S. Department of Education technology initiative working at both the K-12 and college level. He was also a member of the Stevens WebCampus initiative and developed one of the first Stevens online graduate courses. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering and holds a Master of Arts degree (online) in educational technology leadership from George Washington University.

About Sakai

The Sakai Community develops and distributes the open-source Sakai Collaborative Learning Environment, an enterprise-ready collaboration and courseware management platform that provides users with a suite of learning, portfolio, library and project tools. Sakai collaborators – ranging from educators to engineers – share in their successes and challenges, honing the community's collective expertise to drive rapid development of this enterprise-ready platform. Sakai is distributed as free and open-source software under the Educational Community License. Sakai is an open-source software project driven by the Sakai Foundation, a worldwide consortium of institutions, organizations and individuals dedicated to providing collaboration, research and e-portfolio tools. The Sakai Foundation is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to coordinating activities around Sakai and the Sakai community to insure Sakai's long-term viability. For more information, visit

About Marist College

Marist College, recognized for excellence by The Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, Barron's Best Buys in College Education and Entrepreneur Magazine, is a highly selective comprehensive liberal arts institution noted for its leadership in the use of technology in and out of the classroom. Founded in 1929, Marist overlooks the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, New York, midway between New York City and Albany, the state capital. For more information, visit

CONTACT: TIM MASSIE (845) 575-3171

JOSH BARON (845) 575-3623

SOURCE Marist College