Putting Innovations into Practice for Education

The Grapevine

Issue #9 - Winter 2007











Message from the Gerry Hanley - Executive Director of MERLOT

grape2Dear MERLOT Community,

MERLOT is beginning its 10th year of services to the educational community. We would not be here if it weren't for you! Your contributions to the open community resource of MERLOT have enabled us to accelerate our growth each year. We now have over 40,000 registered MERLOT members and more than 15,000 online materials. I believe your reach into so many communities to personally share MERLOT is a core reason for our growth.

DARK SIDE: We’re also continuing to learn how best to protect the open community services in a World Wide Web where everyone does not respect the principles of sharing. Early on the morning of December 12th, MERLOT experienced a breach in security that allowed our email system to send out spam to our members. The breach occurred on a system that houses our listservs; but rest assured that the email addresses or any other personal data were not harvested. We have taken every precaution to ensure that this problem is fixed. It has always been MERLOT’s priority to protect its members’ personal data and it saddens us greatly that this happened. We thank you for your patience and understanding while we work to keep the MERLOT community a trusted place for sharing teaching and learning resources.

BRIGHT SIDE: MERLOT is starting our yearly cycle of progressive strategic planning to keep MERLOT in step with the needs of faculty, students, librarians, academic technology staff, and administrators. MERLOT’s ability to serve this complex set of constituents with integrated and inclusive services is our growing strength. MERLOT will be aligning its current and future services to your institution’s initiatives and priorities and addressing them in clear ways. For example, if your campus has an “Academic Transformation” initiative, what are the challenges faced by faculty, department chairs, deans, and provosts to implement the initiative in a timely and successful manner? How can MERLOT help each of these groups to overcome these challenges efficiently, effectively, and in ways that are welcome? MERLOT is working towards programs to address these and other challenges facing our members' institutions.

I wish you all a wonderful and enjoyable New Year. May MERLOT help your New Year resolutions come true.

Holiday Cheers,



MERLOT International Conference - Call for Papers

hanleyIn the Fall 2006 issue of The Grapevine we shared stories and pictures about the 2006 MERLOT International Conference. We hope that you discovered that the conference is a great opportunity to meet colleagues and to learn about new technologies and how they impact education. The Call for Papers for the 2007 MERLOT International Conference is now online, so you can submit your proposal now. The conference will be hosted by the Louisiana Board of Regents and will take place in New Orleans August 7-11th..

MERLOT provides a full pre-conference day of workshops. These interactive, hands-on sessions can enhance professional development and provide value for your travel dollar. Workshop details will be announced on the MERLOT conference website as soon as they are scheduled.

The conference theme is Jazzing IT (Instructional Technology) Up with MERLOT. The Highlighted Community of Practice this year is Humanities, but proposals are encouraged for all seven Conference grape3Tracks:

  • Authoring Learning Objects
  • Research and Scholarship
  • Faculty Development
  • The Digital Library
  • Case Studies
  • Students Jazzing IT Up
  • Communities of Practice - Humanities

The conference is devoted to faculty development in the design, creation, utilization, and evaluation of online teaching and learning materials, and provides opportunities to share, learn, and participate in conversations about teaching and learning with technology. Presenters are asked to encourage audience participation and feedback; there will be additional opportunities to earn MERLOT certification for workshop attendance.

The Call for Papers deadline is January 29, 2007. Go to the conference site and submit your proposal to ensure acceptance for the conference. We hope to see you there. The website is: https://conference.merlot.org/2007/

MERLOT Advocate Spreads MERLOT to Africa

Moustapha (Mous) Diack, MERLOT Chemistry Editorial Board Member, has been appointed to the eLA (eLearning Africa) Advisorydiack Committee. eLA is a Pan-African eLearning conference on technology-enhanced education, training, and development that is hosted annually by different African countries. The first eLearning Africa conference, "eLearning Africa 2006," was the largest and most international capacity-building event on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)- enhanced education and training ever held on the African continent. It was hosted by the Ethiopian Minister for Capacity Building and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and supported by the Ford Foundation, international corporations, and the European Commission. More than 800 experts gathered at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Conference Center in Addis Ababa, 70% coming from Africa.

This second eLearning Africa, “Building Infrastructures and Capacities to Reach Out to the Whole of Africa,” will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, May 28-30, 2007, under the patronage of the newly elected Kenyan Minister for Education, Science, and Technology. Mous will be presenting a four hour workshop entitled, "The African Taste of MERLOT: Harnessing the Wealth of Free Global Digital Learning Resource Repositories" - a discussion and exploration of a potential partnership between MERLOT and eLearning Africa.

If you've ever dreamed of visiting Africa, turn your dream into a faculty development opportunity and attend the eLearning Africa conference; also attend Mous' workshop. More information about the conference can be found at: http://www.elearning-africa.com/conference.php

MERLOT Innovation Projects

Tom Carey, Chief Learning Officer at MERLOT, continues to be involved in several innovative projects. The first is the CASTL Project (Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning). The CASTL Project team  is developing strategies for adding the scholarship of teaching into the mix of teaching expertise and digital content within the MERLOT collection. This is part of a larger initiative in the scholarship of teaching and learning sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation. Currently, the MERLOT partners in this project are the California State University System, the SUNY Teaching Learning and Technology Program, the UNC TLT Collaborative, and Seton Hall University. You can visit the wiki for this project at: http://www.seedwiki.com/wiki/ELIXR_CASTL

lightbulb The second project which recently received a FIPSE grant, involves collaborations with a number of partners and organizations. The MERLOT team in this project is developing new collaborations between learning resource repositories and faculty development centers. A collection of video narratives on best practices in teaching and learning with technologies is being developed. Creating powerful stories told by faculty and students about how learning success is produced by specific pedagogical practices is the goal of the video project. The stories will allow faculty, faculty development personnel, or anyone to learn from experts when they are ready, rather than when a workshop is scheduled. The MERLOT system partners in this project include the California State University Center for Distributed Learning, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, the University System of Georgia, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Other partners are Coastline Community College (from the California Community College system), Indiana State University, Brigham Young University, the Ohio State University, and the Teach the Earth portal for Geoscience faculty hosted by the Science Education Research Center at Carleton College. The wiki for this project can be found at: http://www.seedwiki.com/wiki/FIPSEELIXR



Sorel Reisman Hits the News

awardAt the recent EDUCAUSE meeting in Dallas, Texas, Sorel Reisman, Managing Director of MERLOT, was interviewed for one of the EDUCAUSE series of podcasts. He was asked to discuss the current state and future hold of MERLOT. You can read…er…hear all
about it at:


The results are in for the 2007 IEEE Computer Society Elections and Sorel Reisman, Managing Director of MERLOT has been elected to the office of Second Vice President of the Society. Sorel is currently serving a 2 year term as Vice President of the Electronic Products and Services Board for the IEEE Computer Society. Congratulations Sorel!!!

In the Fall 2006 issue of The Grapevine, we mentioned the webinar that Sorel Reisman did with Ali Jafari (Indiana University), demonstrating how MERLOT resources can be dynamically integrated into the Epsilen Learning Environment. Epsilen provides the framework for the next generation of eLearning. In case you missed the webinar, you can see and hear the archived session at http://cdl.breezecentral.com/p78096118/

JOLT – Journal of Online Learning and Teaching - December 2006 Issue Now Available

sorelThe December 2006 issue of JOLT, (Journal of Learning and Online Teaching) has been released. JOLT is a peer-reviewed, online journal that addresses the scholarly use of multimedia resources in education. JOLT welcomes submissions on multimedia educational resources for learning and teaching, including papers on research, theory and/or concepts, position papers, case studies, and instructional design notes. If you are interested in becoming a reviewer or have an article ‘in the making’ and wish to publish in JOLT, contact Tracy Penny Light or Ed Perry at: tracy@temagami.uwaterloo.ca or eperry@memphis.edu. For more information and to view the Guidelines for Authors or go to https://jolt.merlot.org/.

And, if you want to discuss any of the articles or any issues about the journal, the editors welcome Letters to the Editor. Your letter should be submitted via e-mail, clearly indicating the article(s) you are commenting on; be sure to include your full name, affiliation, address, and phone number for verification. Letters may be edited for clarity, style, and length. Published letters will include the writer's name and affiliation.

Sympathies Extended

joltOur sympathies go out to the family of David Adams of Macon State University. David won the 2006 MERLOT Classics Award for Information Technology with his site, Web Tutorials: XHTML, DHTML, ASP.NET, JavaScript. David passed away on October 21st. His wife says that he valued his award a great deal.



Fire Safety Editorial Board a Reality

MERLOT recently announced the new Workforce Development initiative and the first Editorial Board in the initiative is Fire Safety, directed by our Academic Partners. Members of the Fire Safety Editorial Board include: JD Brown (Oklahoma State), Don Beckering (Minnesota), Fred Landry (Louisiana)fire, Steve Gervais (Louisiana), and Bill Goswick (Oklahoma).

JD Brown has started working on the Fire Safety portal, and the Editorial Board will soon begin peer reviewing the 130+ materials that have been added to the collection. As more fire trainers become aware of the new portal, we are sure that the collection and membership will to grow.

If you know anyone involved in Fire Safety programs, please let them know about this new collection of materials. The Fire Safety portal can be found at: https://firesafety.merlot.org/. You can view the collection of Fire Safety materials at: https://merlot.org/merlot/materials.htm?category=2671

In November, Phil Moss (Interim Chancellor of the Oklahoma Board of Regents) and Cathy Swift (MERLOT) visited the Fire Protection Publications (FPP) Department at Oklahoma State - responsible for most of the publications used in training fire fighters around the world. Their publication, Introduction to Firefighting has been translated into Spanish, Hebrew, German, and Icelandic. grape6

Pictured to the right are Phil Moss and FPP employees Chris Neal, JD Brown, Nancy Trench, and Cindy Finkle. The department will be posting some of their publications in the MERLOT collection and also will promote the use of MERLOT materials to many firefighting-related professional organizations.

Editorial Board Members Awarded

 Elizabeth (Beth) Smith, a University of Louisiana at Monroe mathematics grape4instructor and MERLOT Mathematics Editorial Board member, was honored with the 2006 Louisiana Association of Teachers of Mathematics (LATM) Outstanding College Mathematics Teachers Award at the Louisiana Association of Teachers of Mathematics/Louisiana Science Teachers Association Joint State Conference.

Beth has participated in several grant-funded workshops for in-service/pre-service teachers, given numerous presentations at state, regional, national, and international conferences, presented workshops, and developed several online courses. She is a member professional organizations including the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Louisiana Association of Teachers of Mathematics, the Mathematical Association of America, the International Society for Technology in Education, and Kappa Mu Epsilon. Beth has been an active MERLOT editor and contributor since 2004.

grape7Jim Rutledge, Editor of the Mathematics Editorial Board, was nominated by the provosts at St. Petersburg College for the 2007 Instructional Technology Council (ITC) Outstanding Distance Learning Faculty Award (http://www.itcnetwork.org/ ). His project-based online Liberal Arts math course was also nominated for the ITC Outstanding Online and Blended Course Award.

Jim has written a project-based textbook, Math Is Everywhere! Explore and Discover It! that promotes active learning and makes extensive use of MERLOT resources. He has been with MERLOT since the inception of the Mathematics Editorial Board in 2000.


MERLOT Online Webinar a Success

rayRay Purdom, Teaching and Technology Editor, and John Prusch,
Teaching and Technology Board presented the workshop, “MERLOT: Teaching with Technology,” in conjunction with The TLT Group’s Steve Gilbert. There were more than 30 registered participants, some of which were locations that broadcast the event to a number of other attending faculty members. During the workshop, participants were shown how to use the collection of MERLOT resources and features. Ray continues to provide excellent workshops to help people become more familiar with all that MERLOT offers. Thank  you, Ray, for being such a great steward of MERLOT!

Peer Regrape5viewer Success

David Wicks of Seattle Pacific University, the 2006 Volunteer of the Year award winner, recently published a chapter in the book, Using Wiki in Education, by Stewart Mader. David’s chapter is entitled, “Navigating the Wiki Maze - Using a Wiki Tool Within a Course Management System.” David is providing the first two chapters free to MERLOT at https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=222122
Congratulations on your work, David.

University of Michigan Forms New MERLOT Group

grape8grape9The University of Michigan brought 11 people to the MERLOT International Conference in Ottawa this past summer, expecting them to attend the Peer Review Training workshop. Those attendees are now meeting on a monthly basis as the “MERLOT Community of Practice.” The group has discussed adding U of M learning materials to the MERLOT collection as well as tying more U of M events to MERLOT. Thank you Nancy Kerner, MERLOT Chemistry Editor and Victor Wong, University of Michigan Project Director for finding ways to spread the word about MERLOT on your campus.




A TLT Group Online Seminar

Diversity, Engagement, Technology & Civil Discourse -
Thursdays, January 11, 18, and 25, 2007 4:00 pm EDT
Leader/Presenters: Steve Gilbert, TLT Group, and Naomi Story, Mesa Community College, with special guests
How can faculty weave together diversity, academic engagement, and technology without asking too much of themselves or their students? What kinds of diversity matter most when we strive to use technology to engage learners and teachers more actively and effectively with course content and with each other? How can we foster more civil, constructive interaction in this context? This workshop addresses these central questions. For information about this and other TLT Group workshop, go to http://www.tltgroup.org/OLI/Schedule.htm.

To Register for this 3-part workshop, go to https://www.tltgroup.org/Registration/Registration/MulticulturalLearningStyles.htm.

Workshop Pricing - $150-TLT Subscriber (institutions)

Click here to see if your institution is a TLT subscriber

$185- TLT Co-Sponsoring Organizations - click here to see if you are member

$225- Non-members

These prices are for single participant registration. If you plan to register as a group, please see information about the Group Pricing discount at http://www.tltgroup.org/Events/grouppricing.htm

Desire2Learn FUSION 2007Announces Call for Proposals

Desire2Learn's Fourth Annual Users Conference, FUSION 2007, July 8-11th, 2007 will be held in scenic Duluth, Minnesota. This year's conference features post conference training workshops, July 11-12th, 2007 and will be co-hosted by Lake Superior College and The University of Wisconsin-Superior! Conference sessions take the form of a lecture-style presentation, poster session, roundtable discussion, panel discussion or hands-on workshop format. Presentation proposal are due February 16, 2007 so don't miss your chance to submit a proposal. Download the proposal form at http://www.Desire2Learn.com/Fusion/speakers. If you have any questions please email FUSION2007@Desire2Learn.com  

Save the Date for the 2007 MERLOT International Conference

micnolaThe 7th annual MERLOT International Conference will be held August 7-10, 2007 in New Orleans, LA at The Sheraton Hotel.  The MERLOT International Conference is the venue for educators, administrators, and technologists who have interests and expertise in technology-enabled teaching and learning and who recognize the need to remain current in this rapidly advancing field of educational practice and theory. For more information, go to https://conference.merlot.org/2007/



Dear Webmaster,

I've been a member of MERLOT for years and recently noticed that when I contribute materials, the new subject category selector is different.  Why did it change and is there an easy way to select categories?

- Category Challenged

Dear Category Challenged,

First, thank you for contributing learning materials to MERLOT; contributions such as yours are an essential part of our value to MERLOT members. As for selecting the appropriate or best fit subject category for your submission, follow these simple instructions and you will have your materials posted in no time. 

  • Once you are ready to contribute material to MERLOT, log in to https://www.merlot.org.
  • Click on the Learning Materials tab at the top, then select the Contribute A Material button at the top right of the page. (You can also start the process right from the home page on the right side, under the heading “Contribute a Material.”)
  • I will use an example of adding a site that teaches about Spanish culture for a Spanish class. To begin, complete Step 1 (shown on the page) by entering the Title and URL of the material; then complete Step 2, the description of the material.   
  • In Step 3, from the subject Category drop-down list, select your primary category.  In this case, Humanities. It will be shown above the drop down menu (as a link).
  • The drop-down then shows, “Select sub-categories in Humanities” and repopulates with a more detailed list of sub-categories for the primary category, to narrow your focus.  Now select World Languages. Again, above the drop-down you will see another link for this selection.
  • Continue to select sub-categories, Spanish and Culture (from the repopulated drop-downs)
  • Each category selection you make will be displayed, above the drop-down, as a link. If you want to change any level of your selected categories, click on the link above the drop-down menu and you will be taken back to that category level in the drop down.
  • By selecting UP from the drop-down, you can remove your most recent choice of category or sub-category selection and you can then select a different topic.

 Note that you will be able to add additional subject categories, so don’t be concerned that you are limited in your choices.

- MERLOT Webmaster




MERLOT is offering a new service for its Higher Education Partners of jobsposting brief job listings.  The job listing itself is only available for MERLOT Higher Education Partners – both System Partners and Campus Partners.  However, anyone may apply for the positions. If you are interested in any of the following positions, please see the link below for more information.

Educational Technologist

Daniel A. Reed Library, State University of New York at Fredonia

The State University of New York at Fredonia seeks an experienced and creative individual, beginning January 2007 for a full-time (12-month) position as an Educational Technologist for the Educational Technology office, located at the Daniel A. Reed Library. Requirements include:

  • Masters Degree in Instructional Technology or related field
  • Background in pedagogical theory and practice
  • Teaching and training or instructional design experience, especially at the university level
  • Experience with course management systems and other cutting-edge learning technologies
  • Hands-on multimedia experience
  • Experience with SQL queries and reporting tools

Review of applications began November 16, 2006 and will continue until the position is filled. To apply, consult the specific guidelines for this position on the Human Resources page of the SUNY Fredonia website: http://www.fredonia.edu/humanresources/professional.htm




______________________ Information about The Grapevine__________________

The Grapevine is a free service provided to all members of MERLOT who wish to receive it as well as to non-members who choose to subscribe. Links from previous issues of The Grapevine emails are not supported. You may access previous Grapevine news via the Archives navigation links on this page.

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/merlot/join.htm  or 2) without becoming a MERLOT member by signing up at https://lists.merlot.org/newsletter/index.htm?action=add

To Unsubscribe: If you no longer wish to receive The Grapevine, please remove yourself from the mailing list at https://lists.merlot.org/newsletter/index.htm?action=remove  If you are a MERLOT member, this will not delete your membership.

Join MERLOT.ORG: If you would like to join MERLOT.ORG  to take advantage of our content and services, go to  https://www.merlot.org/merlot/join.htm

Your input about The Grapevine: If you have comments, suggestions, or news items to contribute to The Grapevine, contact the MERLOT webmaster at webmaster@merlot.org

Information in The Grapevine regarding third parties, their products, and/or services is provided for your information. Since third parties provide the information to MERLOT and MERLOT relies on the information without performing any independent investigations, MERLOT makes no warranty or guarantee concerning the third party products or services.

© 2007 MERLOT.ORG. All rights reserved.