Putting Innovations into Practice for Education


Summer 2005 - Issue #3










MERLOT International Conference 2005 – July 25-28 in Nashville, TN

The deadline for hotel reservations at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel is fast approaching. The hotel has agreed to extend the MERLOT cut-off-date to July 1st for the MIC05 group rate of $135/night. This year we are expecting a ‘full house’ so be sure to make your reservation today! For details, visit https://conference.merlot.org/conference/2005/hoteltravel.html.

MERLOT plans to provide live Web-based broadcasts of a few selected conference sessions using Macromedia’s product, BreezeLive. Look for more information in coming weeks.

At the Conference, learn more about how your campus can benefit from becoming a MERLOT Partner. The MERLOT International Conference is a great way to experience how we bring together a broad spectrum of people and organizations in higher education to focus on improving teaching and learning with technology. Contact the MERLOT Webmaster (webmaster@merlot.org) for more information about attending sessions specially designed for those interested in becoming a MERLOT partner.

Angel Learning Becomes Corporate Partner for 2005

AngelOn June 2, 2005, ANGEL Learning Inc., developer of ANGEL|LMS, announced its partnership with MERLOT and demonstrated its MERLOT search capability at the 3rd Annual ANGEL|LMS User Conference.

Blackboard Announces Availability of MERLOT Building Block

BbBlackboard CEO Matthew Pittinsky announced the availability of the free MERLOT Search Building Block at his keynote address at the 7th Annual Blackboard Users Conference. Contact your campus Blackboard administrator to arrange for the installation of the MERLOT Search Building Block.

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative’s New Focus on Student Learning and Technology

educauseEDUCAUSE's National Learning Infrastructure Initiative (NLII) recently adopted a new strategic direction and namethe EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) (http://www.educause.edu/eli ). Under the leadership of Dr. Diana Oblinger, ELI will focus on learners and successful learning to achieve its mission of advancing learning through IT innovation. As part of this effort, MERLOT and ELI will work to disseminate knowledge about learners, learning principles and practices, and learning technology so faculty can design learning experiences resulting in successful student learning outcomes. Interested MERLOT members should review EDUCAUSE’s recent e-book co-edited by Dr. Oblinger, Educating the Net Generation (http://www.educause.edu/educatingthenetgen). Available online at no charge, this e-book provides thoughtful and quality scholarship on student learning expectations and behaviors with and without technology.

REALIA Project Awarded NEH Grant

realiaThe National Endowment for the Humanities has granted Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) $199,874 for the REALIA Project (Rich Electronic Archive for Language Instruction Anywhere). This grant will enable ACS to transform their prototype collection into a sustainable online archive of royalty-free materials for teaching foreign languages and cultures. The collection focuses on digitized realia (objects that convey the essence of a culture, such as pictures or sounds of everyday life) and serves a wide population of foreign language instructors and learners. This searchable collection contains over 1,000 images with cultural commentary and suggested pedagogical applications from faculty contributors. The REALIA Project is one of the featured sites on MERLOT's World Languages Portal Site.

SUN becomes a MERLOT Partner

sunAs a MERLOT Corporate Partner, Sun Microsystems and MERLOT are planning programs to support the community of Java developers who are producing high quality online learning materials.  The themes of our outreach and community building activities are i) participate, ii) open technologies, and iii) sharing what works. We are grateful for Sun’s financial support of MERLOT. Sun servers are also used to run MERLOT applications.



MERLOT Awards Program Honors Authors and Volunteers

MERLOT supports the following three awards programs to MERLOTparticipants:.

  • Editors’ Choice and Classics Awards honor the authors of high quality learning resources from our 15 editorial boards.
  • Our Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes volunteers who serve as peer reviewers, faculty developers, and advocates for MERLOT. 
  • Our Distinguished Service Award honors a MERLOT member whose outstanding leadership has been instrumental in the growth and success of the MERLOT community and its services.

Editors’ Choice and Classics Awards

Authors of the award winning materials will be showcasing their sites at the MERLOT International Conference. Please join us in recognizing and congratulating our 2005 award winners. At the conference, authors will demonstrate their work, discuss how they use it, and how it impacts on their teaching and student learning.

MERLOT Editors Choice Awards


Mathematical Visualization Toolkit James H. Curry and Anne Dougherty, University of Colorado at Boulder


Music Acoustics Joe Wolfe, University of New South Wales

World Languages

LangMedia Foreign Language Archive (Editors Choice) Elizabeth Mazzocco and Amy Wordelman University of Massachusettes-Amherst

MERLOT Classics Awards


Water on the Web Bruce Munson, University. of Minnesota*


Design Your Own Movie Theater Tom Novak, Vanderbilt University


WebElements Mark Winter, University of Sheffield


Thermal Power Plant Micro Module Jim Bugg, University of Saskatchewan

Health Sciences

Native American Elders Health Care Series Gloria Craig, Kay Foland, Tish Smyer, South Dakota State University


Valley of the Shadow Edward L. Ayers, University of Virginia

Information Technology

Boolean Operators Marybeth McCartin, New York University


Hyperphysics Rod Nave, Georgia State University


ePsych Gary Bradshaw, Mississippi State University


StatCrunch Webster West, University of South Carolina

Teacher Education

The Paper Project Charles J. Kazilek, Arizona State University

Teaching and Technology

Active Learning with PowerPoint Paul Baepler and Bill Rozaitis, University of Minnesota

*Additional authors of Water on the Web include: Richard Axler, Cynthia Hagley, George Host, Glenn Merrick, Carl Richards, Scott Robertson, Elaine Ruzycki, Norm Will.

MERLOT Volunteer of the Year Awards

Volunteers of the Year were nominated by MERLOT editors and selected by the Project Directors’ Council. This year’s awardees impressed the Project Directors with their dedication to MERLOT and its goals, their unquenchable energy in helping to further the efforts of their respective editorial boards, and their commitment to spreading the word about MERLOT. Our Volunteers of the Year will be at the MERLOT International Conference and share their experiences and discuss the impact that MERLOT has had on their careers and their profession.They are:

Susan Moncada (Business) - Indiana State University

Judy Serwatka (Information Technology) - Purdue University North Central

Jane Moore (Teacher Education)- National-Louis University

2005 Distinguished Service Award

This year’s Distinguished Service Award will honor Chuck Schneebeck, the 'founding father' of MERLOT. Through Chuck’s vision and perseverance, MERLOT’s rootstock ‘took hold’ and created the vines that are sustaining today’s services, programs, and innovations. Chuck will be honored at the awards ceremony at the MERLOT International Conference on Wednesday, July 27 in Nashville, TN.

For more information on the awards ceremony visit https://conference.merlot.org/conference/2005/program.html. The awards will be presented Wednesday morning, July 27th.



WebCT !MPACT 2005 – July 18 – 22, 2005 in San Francisco, California

7th Annual User Conference – For details visit https://programs.regweb.com/go/webctimpact2005/index.cfm?page=intro


2005 Distance Learning Conference – August 3 – 5, 2005 in Madison, Wisconsin

21st Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning. For details visit http://www.uwex.edu/disted/conference/


2nd International Desire2Learn (D2L) Users Conference – August 7 – 10, 2005 in University of Wisconsin - Madison, Wisconsin.

For details visit   http://www.desire2learn.com/uc2005/


EDUCAUSE 2005 Annual Conference – October 18 – 21, 2005 in Orlando, Florida

For details visit http://www.educause.edu/conference/annual/2005



Webmaster image

Dear Webmaster,

I’ve heard that faculty and students can search the MERLOT collection of materials directly from within Blackboard.  Our institution uses a different learning management system. Are there any plans for other LMS vendors to offer such search capabilities/functionality?


Dear Searching,

When we enter into a relationship with an LMS vendor, we work together to define product or system strategies that will benefit the MERLOT members and partner institutions.  Each of our vendor partners has its own approach for accomplishing this and when they are ready to announce their system-enhancements, we work with them to inform the MERLOT community.  ANGEL and MERLOT have just announced their integration of services. (See section in this month’s Grapevine Partner News.)  In the months ahead, our other vendor partners, WebCT and Desire2Learn, are also planning to make announcements. Stay tuned!

- MERLOT Webmaster




The Virtual Speakers Bureau – a growing community of experts

The Virtual Speakers Bureau (VSB) is a recent addition to the resources available at MERLOT. This newly-formed service is MERLOT’s way of helping you to expand the world of experts available to you and your students by bringing guest speakers to your classes, virtually.

Through the MERLOT Virtual Speakers Bureau, faculty members, faculty development specialists, and administrators have identified themselves in their MERLOT member profiles as potential speakers. They list their areas of expertise, topics they can discuss, the format they prefer, and any special arrangements necessary for their participation. Guest experts can be easily located at https://www.merlot.org/person/VSBDirectory.po  You can invite guest speakers to your courses, professional development workshops, and special online events. You can even use it to invite content experts to visit your classes face-to-face.

You can join the VSB and share your expertise, too!. You need to be a MERLOT member (it’s free to join).  Go to www.merlot.org and click on the “join now” link at the top of the page.  Once you have received your password, log into MERLOT and click on your name on the top of the navigation bar. You can then add more information about yourself, and join the VSB.


At the VSB page you will be prompted to complete the following information about yourself:

  • Topics of expertise
  • Titles of presentations
  • Technology formats
  • Best way to contact, and
  • Availability/fees/special terms

Locating a Guest Expert is Easy too!

To find speakers who are experts in a wide variety of fields follow these steps, starting at the MERLOT home page (www.merlot.org):

  • Click on the “Member Directory” link in the Navigation Bar.
  • Under “Search the Member Directory,” click the “Virtual Speakers Bureau” link.
  • On the MERLOT “Search the Virtual Speakers Bureau” page, you can browse the VSB by topic area.
  • Or search by member name or by area of expertise.

Once you find an expert, click on the name to access the Member Profile to find his or her contact information. Remember that the Virtual Speakers Bureau is a peer-to-peer service.   We encourage you to contact the speaker and negotiate the terms on your own. MERLOT takes no responsibility regarding any arrangements made by either party.


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