Putting Innovations into Practice for Education

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The Grapevine

Issue #5 - Winter 2006



Happy New Year from MERLOT's Executive Director











Happy New Year from MERLOT's Executive Director

We at MERLOT wish you, your family, and friends the very best new year.  As we look forward to an exciting new year, it's good to review what we've accomplished in 2005.

  • We had over 1,200 new MERLOT members per month by October 2005.
  • We added the MERLOT Discipline Portals. (https://www.merlot.org/home/Sites.po) that provide you discipline-specific guidance and resources for enhancing teaching and learning.
  • MERLOT has been or is being integrated into every major LMS (Blackboard, WebCT, Desire2Learn, and Angel Learning).
  • We had an outstanding MERLOT International Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. You can see the conference program and presentations at https://conference.merlot.org/2005/Web_Program_v2.4.htm.
  • We rolled out the first issue of JOLT (Journal for Online Learning and Teaching) at: https://jolt.merlot.org/ - special thanks to Ed Perry and Tracy Penny Light.
  • We delivered the first year of the MERLOT Grapevine newsletter to your digital doorstep. Looking for back issues of the Grapevine? Go to https://taste.merlot.org/portal/Archive/Grapevine_Archive.htm

These goals and many others were achieved because of your contributions, advocacy, and  leadership. This issue of the Grapevine will give you information about some of what's ahead.  We'll be rolling out a Workforce Development Initiative in 2006 along with other enhancements to the MERLOT website and community development programs. If you have any comments or suggestions for future issues of the Grapevine, please feel free to send them to our webmaster at webmaster@merlot.org.

You make MERLOT a success.  Thank you in advance for another year of your support.

- Gerry Hanley



ANGEL Learning announces new MERLOT search capability
angellogo ANGEL Learning and MERLOT have established a partnership which enables instructors to search, access, and incorporate rich learning objects from within ANGEL. The use of MERLOT 'advanced search' is unique in the commercial learning management system market.

Learn more about MERLOT’s strategy for working with LMS companies at: https://taste.merlot.org/initiatives/lms.htm. This initiative will bring MERLOT services directly into LMS's so that faculty and students have a seamless interaction in their LMS-enabled teaching and learning experience.  This document explains how and why we have undertaken this initiative, the benefits that we believe it brings to faculty who use these leading LMS systems, and the resources that MERLOT and the LMS companies expend in providing these benefits to our member community. If you have questions, suggestions, or comments about this initiative, please contact Sorel Reisman at sreisman@calstate.edu

New Media Consortium announces easy to use authoring tool
The New Media Consortium, a MERLOT partner for the last 4+ years, has recently announced the open source, easy-to-use authoring tool, Pachyderm, to create pedagogically sound, online multimedia learning materials. Faculty, staff, and students can choose from a variety of templates designed from different pedagogical principles, and add their content to produce customized online learning materials. For more information visit http://www.pachyderm.org Build a Pachyderm learning material and add it to MERLOT!

Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (JOLT) - Volume 1, No. 2 now available
The second issue of the Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (JOLT) with four joltbannernew papers addressing the scholarly use of multimedia resources in education is now available at https://jolt.merlot.org/currentissue.html. This issue includes the articles, "Multimedia Textbooks and Student Learning," and "Online Resources for Non-Statisticians Teaching Statistics," a case study entitled "Creating a Hybrid College Course," and a literature review focusing on discussion boards. JOLT welcomes papers and manuscripts on all aspects of the use of multimedia educational resources for learning and teaching. For more information go to https://jolt.merlot.org/            


User Survey new on MERLOT homepage
SurveyWe've recently added an online survey to help you tell us how we can serve you better. If you haven't already completed the survey, please do, and encourage others to do so too! A click on this logo (found on the MERLOT homepage) will take you directly to the survey. It takes less than a minute to complete and your responses will enable us to continuously improve MERLOT.

New MERLOT Acceptable Use Policy
It has come to our attention that our registration process for new members did not explicitly require them to agree to adhere to the MERLOT Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) (https://taste.merlot.org/policies/use.htm). Accordingly we have altered the “Become a Member” page (https://www.merlot.org/person/CreatePerson.po) requiring new members to explicitly agree to adhere to the policies shown in the text displayed next to the Submit Information button when they join MERLOT.

MERLOT Technology Blog
We are pleased to announce that there is now a MERLOT Technology Blog! You can find it at https://taste.merlot.org/blog/technology. It is primarily for our Director of Technology, Martin Koning-Bastiaan to discuss current and proposed technology projects and to get back your comments.

MERLOT's Executive Director shares his thoughts on MERLOT
In the summer of 2005, Sun Microsystems interviewed Gerry Hanley, Executive Director of MERLOT and Dave Megill (Editor of Music) to produce the video, The MERLOT Project. It was highlighted later that summer on the Sun News Today website. The video illustrates Dave Megill’s innovative use of MERLOT in the classroom.

Gerry addresses a number of compelling issues about online learning, virtual communities, and MERLOT.  To learn more about MERLOT, view the question and answer exchange, as well as The MERLOT Project video at:  https://taste.merlot.org/consortium/sunvideo.htm.



Without a home, how do we educate? MERLOT, Katrina and the Delgado Community Collegedelgadographic

Delgado Community College, an institution of the Louisiana Board of Regents with campuses in New Orleans and Covington, Louisiana, was one of the colleges impacted by Hurricane Katrina. The academic year had just begun when the storm hit, closing the college, and leaving faculty and students displaced and scrambling for shelter in other parts of the region. In an effort to salvage the academic year, Delgado administrators started looking for solutions. One solution began with a phone call from Cindy Siegrist, in Delgado's Office of Faculty Development, to Michael Waguespack, a former Delgado faculty member, now teaching at Northern Virginia Community College of the Virginia Community College System.

Siegrist and Waguespack brainstormed about how Delgado could quickly bring more courses online to resume instruction for its students. The need was to find quality online materials that had been classroom-tested and that were ready to go. Waguespack immediately thought of MERLOT as a solution. He contacted NVCC colleague, Laura Franklin, Co-Editor of the World Languages collection of MERLOT, who in turn contacted MERLOT administration for help. A project was born.

Various MERLOT discipline Editorial Boards have since mobilized to create annotated Personal Collections within MERLOT, matching content to the syllabi of Delgado instructors. These collections contain materials to help Delgado instructors move forward in their instruction without ‘reinventing the wheel.’ Two new collections in English as a Second Language have been started as a result of this activity. They are the ESL Reading Collection and the ESL Writing Collection.

MERLOT has received requests from other Delgado faculty, and other Editorial Boards have answered the call. The early success of this project can be attributed to the productive interaction of two MERLOT partners. Both the VCCS and the Louisiana Board of Regents share a longstanding commitment to development of the MERLOT collection. Faculty members from these institutions have collaborated as Editors and Peer Reviewers for years. MERLOT has afforded these systems the opportunity to become a community in the most human sense of the word, making collaboration much more meaningful for all partners of MERLOT.

It was also due to MERLOT’s maturity as a collection that it was possible to quickly build such a solution. The collections started in this Delgado project, due to their public availability, will be of equal value to users of MERLOT throughout the Gulf region and those in the rest of the world. Faculty members who create collections will enrich their own courses and make MERLOT a richer resource for everyone. Through this collaborative effort, MERLOT members and others have discovered a valuable resource in our Personal Collections which enable instructors to have immediate access to learning materials used by others. For more information on how you can use Personal Collections see https://taste.merlot.org/portal/Archive/Winter_Issue.htm#Personal_Collection

Volunteer Corner – Get to know our Volunteers
Business Volunteer Peer Reviewers make presentation
business Angela Stanton (Radford University), Irvine "Bud" Clarke (James Madison University), and Kathy Micken (Roger Williams University) recently participated in the panel session entitled, MERLOT: A Peer Reviewer's Perspective of the Evaluation Process at the Society for Marketing Advances conference in San Antonio. The session included an overview of MERLOT, the peer review process, and benefits of joining the MERLOT team of reviewers. Other members of the MERLOT Marketing community in attendance included Cathy Swift (Editor of Business), Theresa Flaherty (Associate Editor of Marketing), Ralf Schellhase (Darmstadt University), Karen Norman Kennedy (University of Alabama-Birmingham), Dawn Deeter (Ohio University), Pam Kennett (University of New Orleans), and Adel El-Ansary (University of North Florida). Want to become a MERLOT peer reviewers? Find out more at https://taste.merlot.org/catalog/peer_review/



2006 EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI, formerly NLII) Annual Meeting
The ELI meeting, "Advancing Learning: Insights and Innovations" will take place January 29–31, 2006 at the Westin Horton Plaza Hotel, San Diego, California (http://www.educause.edu/eli061). The meeting will explore the fundamental assumptions about what, where, and how we educate. It will focus on the ways institutions can enhance student learning, going beyond specific examples of innovation, to the processes and practices that enable systemic progress towards more effective learning. For links to news and information on ELI activities, visit http://www.educause.edu/Activities/5540#_ELI_News or the ELI home page.

New Media Consortium Summer Conference
The NMC Summer Conference is a one-of-a-kind event, attracting an audience of highly skilled campus professionals knowledgeable about and interested in integrating emerging technologies into teaching, learning, and creative expression. The conference will be held June 7-10, 2006 in Cleveland. Hosts are Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Please visit the conference home page at http://nmc.org/events/2006summerconf/index.shtml

Lilly South Conference on College and University Teaching

February 17-19, 2006 in Greensboro, N.C. Lilly Conferences combine workshops and discussion sessions with opportunities for informal discussion about excellence in college and university teaching and learning. Internationally-known scholars join new and experienced faculty and administrators to discuss topics such as gender differences in learning, incorporating technology into teaching, encouraging critical thinking, using teaching and student portfolios, implementing group learning, and evaluating teaching. For more information visit http://www.uncg.edu/tlc/lillysouth.

Blackboard Annual Users Conference

bb Mark your calendars for February 28 - March 2, 2006 when the Blackboard users conference will take place in San Diego, California. More details coming soon from Blackboard, http://blackboard.com/company/events/bbworld.aspx

WebCT !MPACT 2006 Users Conference

Educators, designers and system administrators will gather to share their knowledge of WebCT and online teaching and learning at IMPACT 2006 - the 8th Annual WebCT User Conference, in Chicago, July 10-14, 2006.  Submit a proposal by February 10, 2005 at http://webct.com/2006

MERLOT and TLT Group partner to deliver two faculty development programs

1. Group Webcast – MERLOT: Teaching with Technology
In April of 2006, MERLOT and the TLT (Teaching, Learning and Technology) Group will offer the three week, online, participatory workshop, MERLOT: Teaching with Technology.  The workshop will focus on how the MERLOT collection and services provide faculty with valuable resources in the design, delivery, and assessment of courses offered face-to-face, entirely online, or in a blended (hybrid) format. The workshop is one of many planned activities in which MERLOT and its partner TLT are cooperating. The first of the three part series begins April 5th and runs from 3:00 to 4:00 pm EST. Other session are April 12th and April 19th.

Ray Purdom, Editor of MERLOT’s Teaching and Technology discipline, will coordinate the series and conduct the workshops with members of the TLT Board and other MERLOT discipline boards. For more information and to register visit http://www.tltgroup.org/OLI/Schedule.htm. For information regarding other TLT events click on http://www.tltgroup.org/Events/EventsCalendar/Chronological%20View.htm

2. TLT Group Presents On-Line Events
The Teaching, Learning, and Technology Group (http://www.tltgroup.org/) strives to motivate and enable institutions and individuals to improve teaching and learning with technology, while helping them cope with continual change. For a list of scheduled events, go to http://www.tltgroup.org/OLI/Schedule.htm.

TLT hosted a series entitled, Clothing the Emperor, in December and will continue with a series of four topics in January and February. The series addresses the kinds of misrepresentation and misunderstanding suggested by the story of the “Emperor’s New Clothes.” Each session will attempt to reduce the hype and confusion associated with a controversial topic – in many cases, where the controversy itself has been buried or obscured. For more information go to http://www.tltgroup.org/Events/clothingemperor/mainpage.htm.

2006 MERLOT International Conference
merlotThe 2006 MERLOT International Conference, hosted by the Cooperative Learning Object Exchange (CLOE), will be held at the Westin Ottawa and Ottawa Congress Centre, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada August 8-11, 2006. Conference information will be posted at https://conference.merlot.org/




Webmaster image

Dear Webmaster,

It seems I am the only one on campus who doesn't have earphones in my ears, listening to an MP3 player. Turns out that a lot of students tell me they are listening to podcast courses, not just music. Podcasts are popping up everywhere: in the classroom and on websites such as NPR and CNN. Can you tell me more about this?

Out of tune?

Dear Out of Tune,

podA "podcast" is an audio or video program distributed over the Internet. Podcasts are digital audio recordings that can be downloaded and listened to on a computer or mobile player such as an Apple iPod or Pocket PC. Vodcasts are downloadable video movies. Podcasting's essence is all about creating content (audio or video) for an audience that wants to listen when they want, where they want, and how they want.

Educators are quickly learning how to make use of podcasts in their teaching and learning. For example, Georgia College & State University (GC&SU) is podcasting training materials for new faculty through the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL). picture of Deborah Vess Dr. Deborah Vess, one of the innovative teachers at GC&SU, states, “I am using enhanced podcasts ... in my graduate level Historical Methods course to provide hands-on interactive training in the use of various databases and styles of research.” For more information, go to http://info.gcsu.edu/intranet/cetl/podnovations.htm.

Stanford University
is making lectures, music, sports and more available to the public free of change with Stanford on iTunes. New lectures are being uploaded weekly, and soon users will be able to access descriptions of each track and watch videos of select programs. Duke University too has a multifaceted digital initiative. Duke provides incentives for faculty to incorporate iPods into the teaching and learning process.

We can expect to see a huge explosion of audio and video learning resources in higher education. MERLOT members can now contribute materials to the MERLOT collection and categorize them as "podcasts." You can also search the MERLOT collection for the term “podcast” to find new examples of podcasts that have already been contributed. If you are creating and/or using podcasts that you find useful, please consider contributing them to the MERLOT collection.

- MERLOT Webmaster




Making it easy to keep up with what's new on the Web and MERLOT: Using RSS
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is like reading a daily newspaper delivered to your doorstep.  You don't have to travel the world every day to find out what's new. Instead, you can set up a delivery service to send the news to a place where you can quickly and easily review it. MERLOT's RSS "news services" offers a daily delivery service of new MERLOT materials.
Here is an example of a MERLOT feed - http://pdc.cvc.edu/common/merlot.asp.

To have the news (feeds) delivered, first download an RSS reader. For a list of RSS readers go to the MERLOT RSS page. Some readers such as Sharp Reader can be downloaded and installed free of charge.

After you have downloaded an RSS reader go to https://rss.merlot.org to access available MERLOT feeds. Fill in the information on that page. You will then be taken to a page to select the MERLOT URLs for the feeds you want. For Sharp Reader, select Open RSS Feed from the File menu. Type the MERLOT RSS address into the text field. Check Subscribe to feed and click OK.

Once you have signed up for MERLOT feeds, you will have access to the 30 free MERLOT "channels" - recent materials added to the collection as well as recently peer reviewed materials.

For information on how to obtain customized RSS feeds, please contact the webmaster at webmaster@merlot.org.


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To Subscribe: If you have been forwarded this email newsletter and would like to subscribe to The Grapevine, you may do this 1) automatically by becoming a MERLOT member at https://www.merlot.org/person/CreatePerson.po  or 2) without becoming a MERLOT member by signing up at https://lists.merlot.org/newsletter/index.htm?action=add

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