LAMP Consortium wins Prestigious Award

The Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration

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December 8, 2008 — LAMP, the Learning Asset Management Project, was awarded the Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration today by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation at a ceremony in Washington, DC.  The LAMP member schools use Sakai, software that professors and students access through their Web browsers. Sakai allows professors to set up courses and projects online, and then collaborate with colleagues and students on coursework, research and much more.

“Sakai has enabled LAMP schools in two areas,” said CEATH Company’s Martin Ramsay, LAMP’s founder and facilitator. “First, it is open source. Our schools share a reasonable fee for Web hosting, support and management; there is no licensing fee. We can now afford state-of-the-art learning software.

“Second, the LAMP member schools share Sakai. That means they are able to collaborate with each other in ways few could have imagined even two years ago.”

Only 11 out of more than 60 competing projects worldwide received a Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration (MATC). The award recognizes important organizational contributions to open source projects. LAMP’s contribution: showing that even small schools with limited resources can work together to use advanced software.

Attending the ceremony in Washington, DC (l to r):  Scott Siddall, Managing Partner of The Longsight Group, hosting partner with LAMP, Paul Chewning, President of the Appalachian College Association, Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist for Google and representative of the Mellon award committee, Martin Ramsay, Director of LAMP and Managing Director of CEATH Company, Michael Mihalyo, Vice President for Academic Affairs of the Appalachian College Association, and Tim Wiblin, Faculty Development Director for LAMP,

"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, Vice President for Research in Information Technology.
“ACA/LAMP has shown the higher education community that it is possible for institutions having limited resources to install, operate, and sustain even the most sophisticated software, provided that they work together to meet their common challenges."
“LAMP’s implementation of Sakai is as big as a medium sized state university,” Ramsay said. “Professors are able to communicate and collaborate with hundreds of faculty at other member schools in addition to their local colleagues. For instance, faculty create courses online for use at multiple colleges, not just one.”
Other uses include campus-wide strategic planning, student government and study abroad communication. Ramsay said that usage continues to increase.
A key to LAMP’s success has been that “technology has become a non-issue” thanks to the project’s service provider, The Longsight Group. Scott Siddall, Managing Partner of the Longsight Group noted, “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 in owning and operating these technologies.  By tapping Longsight, who specializes in supporting Sakai for large and small institutions, LAMP schools are able to focus on teaching and learning outcomes instead of the technologies.”  Ramsay called Longsight “our partner, trusted advisor and outstanding service provider.”
LAMP went live in April 2006.  The project started with around 1,000 users. Now there are more than 14,000 active users.   According to Siddall, as many as 400 users are online simultaneously in the average day. More than 2,500 course and project sites have already been created.
Ramsay expressed his pride with what LAMP had accomplished.  “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. Appalachians help their neighbors. We hope that provides a model for other schools.”
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is a private philanthropic institution. It makes grants in six core program areas: Higher Education and Scholarship, Scholarly Communications, Research in Information Technology, Museum and Art Conservation, Performing Arts, and Conservation and the Environment. See for more.
The Longsight Group provides a broad range of information services to the higher education and non-profit communities. See for more.
For 30 years, CEATH Company has served hundreds of clients on three continents from its base in Berea, Kentucky. Clients range from academic non-profits to the military to Fortune 5 corporations. See for more.