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Marist Sakai Case Study 2009
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Marist Sakai Case Study 2009

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Case study of Marist College successfully using Sakai.

Case study of Marist College successfully using Sakai.

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  • 1. CLIENT SUCCESS STORY MARIST COLLEGE INNOVATION. SUPPORTED. MARIST COLLEGE AND SAKAI Marist College, located in Poughkeepsie, New York, is known as one of the most technologically advanced comprehensive MARIST COLLEGE AND rSMART Marist partnered with rSmart, a company dedicated liberal arts colleges in the United States. Marist, with its to open source software support and services in 4,300 students and 1000 staff, is a proud recipient of the higher education, for implementation and operational Campus Technology Innovators Award and recognized by support. William Thirsk, Vice President and Chief The Princeton Review and Forbes as one of the 25 “Most Information Officer at Marist College, explains Marist’s Connected Campuses” in America. perspective for the value of partnering with rSmart: “As both an IT leader and a small liberal arts college, In early 2006, Marist College embarked upon a rigorous we approach technology development differently two-year assessment of Sakai. Josh Baron, Director of than a large, research university. Strong partners Academic Technology and e-Learning at Marist College, led that support our vision are critical to our success; we cannot achieve what we do alone. rSmart brings the learning management system decision-making process a strong, fully verified and supported Sakai instance at Marist College. and excellent support and maintenance services. As our partner, rSmart focuses on our institution’s needs and interests, they invest with us in the development efforts most critical to our college, and they maintain ...no other system compared with Sakai’s ability an ongoing dialogue about how to optimize our to enable teaching and learning innovation. relationship for the greatest mutual benefit.” A significant example of this optimization is the support rSmart provided for Marist’s Sakai-SIS “We looked at five decision criteria when we evaluated Sakai: (Student Information System) integration. Working functionality requirements, available support, the health of with rSmart’s development team, Marist’s IT offices the Sakai community, innovation factors, and reliability and were able to leverage Sakai’s course management stability.” After a thorough analysis of Sakai, Marist College API to tightly integrate their legacy SIS system with Sakai course sites. This work automated the concluded that Sakai met their requirements under these enrollment and “drop/add” process for courses, criteria, and that no other system compared with Sakai’s saving Marist 72 people hours per year, resulting in ability to enable teaching and learning innovation. an overall productivity gain of 4%. rSmart’s services significantly reduced the development resources needed to implement the integration. In addition, once the integration was completed, rSmart provided “just-in-time” support to make sure technical issues were addressed quickly, ensuring an extremely positive user experience as the integration was rolled out.
  • 2. To migrate to Sakai, Marist College had to address questions of how to educate faculty M I G R AT I N G A rSmart Sakai CLE to the opportunities of the new system, how CAMPUS TO to engage their interest, and how to optimize their ability to translate their knowledge into SAKAI improved teaching strategies with favorable, tangible outcomes. Marist implemented effective communication and educational strategies to address these issues. One of these strategies included a summer educational program, initially geared specifically to faculty in charge of fully on-line courses. This evolved into the “Academic Technology Institute,” a program that was adapted to meet specific faculty needs, with flexible offerings such as weekend availability for adjunct faculty or a fully online version of the workshop, run in Sakai itself. The results of efforts like these have been positive and significant. Setting goals for faculty conversion, Marist College consistently surpassed benchmarks. The fall 2008 goal was to have 15% of faculty opt to move to Sakai. Actual faculty conversion was 65%. Spring 2009’s conversion goal was 75%, with actual conversion being 85%. Marist’s ultimate goal is that by fall 2009, all faculty will have transitioned to Sakai. Given the expedited rate of conversion experienced thus far, Mr. Baron feels comfortable that this goal will be met. SAKAI AFFORDS IMPROVED Dr. Mark Van Dyke, an associate professor in Marist College’s School of Communication and the Arts, was intrigued by the possibilities of Sakai’s collaborative TEACHING STRATEGIES WITH learning environment, and early in the implementation process, he integrated Sakai into his teaching strategies. FAVORABLE, TANGIBLE For the spring semester of 2008, Dr. Van Dyke created separate work sites, using Sakai, for two sections of a OUTCOMES public relations case studies course that would be the beginning of a year-long project. These sites promoted active learning among students within each section. However, Dr. Van Dyke wanted to take the course collaboration to the next level, to allow collaboration among students in different course sections. Building upon the success he was experiencing with Sakai, Dr. Van Dyke moved the project forward to a fall 2008 communication capstone course. He created two more Sakai worksites for each section of the course and he added a project collaboration site. Course materials were then migrated from the spring and fall courses into the project site. The collaboration site connected all students from both sections of the fall course and created a bridge to the experience and knowledge gained by students in his spring course. As he explains, “The collaboration site was like the hub of a wheel, with the spokes being the connection between the collaboration site and unique course sections.” The students were largely responsible for populating the collaboration site, which they did, adding forum discussions, chats, blogs, podcasts, wikis, resource folders, contact lists, and more. Ultimately, the project site facilitated collaboration among 70 students working in 15 teams from four different course sections, over two semesters. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT As remarkable as his success with Sakai has been, so is the fact that neither WWW.RSMART.COM Dr. Van Dyke nor his students had ever used Sakai before or had received any specialized training other than what was offered to all faculty and students. OR CALL TOLL FREE In fact, he explains, “we completed a couple of tutorials, and the students 866.874.4338 took to it right away.“