Blackboard Appoints Sakai Foundation Board Member Charles Severance to Lead Company’s Sakai Initiatives

WASHINGTON, March 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Blackboard Inc. today announced the appointment of Charles Severance, a longtime leader and one of the founders of the Sakai community, to a senior role to lead the company’s initiative on the Sakai open source learning management system (LMS).

Severance’s work is part of a new business launched by Blackboard – Blackboard Education Open Source Services – to support institutions using open source learning management systems like Moodle and Sakai. The new business includes the teams from Moodlerooms and NetSpot, two leading providers of services and support to institutions using Moodle that were acquired by Blackboard.

Severance has worked in a series of roles to advance the Sakai project. He previously served as Executive Director of the Sakai Foundation and was the founding Chief Architect of the Sakai Project. He is currently a Board Member of the Sakai Foundation, and he serves as Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information.

“We’re excited to welcome Chuck to our team,” said Michael L. Chasen, Blackboard CEO. “He’s been a tireless leader in the learning technology and standards communities, and he brings a tremendous amount of expertise and insight that will be critical to our support for institutions using Sakai.”

In addition to his work in the Sakai community, Severance has also been an advocate for open standards in education technology and has worked closely with the IMS Global Learning Consortium as part of that work.

“Blackboard is doing some extraordinary work and challenging preconceived notions of how companies can add real value to the industry,” said Severance, who will be Chief Sakai Strategist at Blackboard. “I’m looking forward to leveraging Blackboard’s new focus and investment in open source to bring new value to institutions using Sakai.”

Severance is author of several books, including Sakai: Free as in Freedom, describing the early days of the open source Sakai project.

For more information about Blackboard’s work to support open source, please visit http://www.blackboard.com/opensource and http://www.blackboard.com/latestnews. An open letter from Blackboard CEO Michael Chasen and Ray Henderson is available at http://www.blackboard.com/openletter.

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