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Marist Launches The FOLD Online Learning Community with Style at New York's Fashion Week

Marist College, which has honed its learning technology innovations for decades, unveiled its latest program, a student-driven online collaborative learning environment called The FOLD (Fashion Online Learning Domain) on the runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, February 12-14 in New York. Fashion icon Betsey Johnson (XOX), known for her support of student success in the fashion industry and Marist President Dennis Murray joined the festive event on stage, and a post-show reception was held at the famous Avery Fisher Hall.

Marist's Fashion Program — along with their Enterprise Computing Community — is one of the first academic centers to pilot the college's Academic Community Cloud (ACC), so The FOLD will serve as a model for the institution's strategic cloud initiative. The ACC is based on open source software from Apereo (, the nonprofit foundation that was formed out of the merger of Sakai and Jasig. Sakai and the Open Academic Environment (OAE) are the two key technology components powering The FOLD. Among The FOLD's initial offerings will be an open online community, free online mini-courses for fashion students and professionals, and a student-developed MOOC.

Marist has high goals for The FOLD and other academic learning communities forming under its academic cloud: especially to extend the reach of its learning communities to industry and global partners. "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 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."

About the Author

Mary Grush is Editor and Conference Program Director, Campus Technology.

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