Issue No. 20, Fall 2010

news features tech stuff upcoming events the numbers



2010 MERLOT Conference – A Partnering Success

2010 conference bannerIn July MERLOT joined forces with the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) and Moodle to present the Emerging Technologies in Online Learning Symposium in San Jose.   More than 750 attended the conference and 188 more attended online.  If you missed a session, you can find the following online:

  • Virtual Sessions and TechSmith Recordings – recording of more than 100 sessions, including keynotes.  
  • Conference Proceedings – You can download presentations under the "2010 Program" tab on the conference site.  Only presentations or handouts that have been provided by presenters are available.


softchaslkSoftChalk Offers Easy Authoring and Publishing to MERLOT

SoftChalk, a leading provider of eLearning software and a strategic MERLOT Partner, has released a significant update to their content authoring solution, SoftChalk 6. SoftChalk now offers hosting services of authored learning materials that can be shared openly with the MERLOT community.

The update allows SoftChalk users to publish learning objects, lessons, and eCourses to CONNECT, SoftChalk’s Learning Object Repository. Once the content is hosted in CONNECT, it can be directly submitted to the MERLOT collection from within the application.

Visit SoftChalk’s Quick Tour Video to see just how easy this process has become!  For more info, visit and

SoftChalk Webinar - Learn to Use MERLOT and SoftChalk Together
Wednesday, October 27th at 3:00PM EDT, attend MERLOT and SoftChalk present....OER Authoring in the Age of Cloud Computing. Learn how you can use MERLOT and SoftChalk to author and publish Open Education Resources (OER) under Creative Commons licensing.  The session will end with a Q&A. SPACE IS LIMITED. Reserve your Webinar seat now at:



Free Sloan-C Membership for MERLOT Members

sloancAs part of our developing relationship, Sloan-C is currently offering a free, 3 month individual Sloan-C Membership to MERLOT members. This membership gives MERLOT members full online access to Sloan-C resources without committing to a full individual membership. Benefits include:

For additional information contact  Use this coupon code on the payment page:  Discount Code: IND-MERLOT_3MT.  Click here to registerBy registering, you will be signed up for the Sloan-C mailing list. You may opt out at any time.


MERLOT Launches Partnership with New OCW Search Group

MERLOT is excited to be the first user of the new metadata API from OCW Search ( Working together, MERLOT and OCW Search designed and implemented this new API to provide full metadata access of more than 2,400 OpenCourseWare courses from 10 university collections. The new OCW courses are now being harvested and will soon be included in the MERLOT collection. OCW Search will be expanding to include all types of Open Educational Resources. Keep up to date with OCW Search by registering


MERLOT is Creating New Editorial Boards

MERLOT has launched two new Editorial Boards -- Agriculture, and Communication Sciences and Disorders --  bringing the total to 22.  If you are interested in working on the following “taskforces” that are developing new Editorial Boards, or want to start another, contact Cathy Swift at

Now in development and seeking participants:

    • Geosciences
    • Jewish Studies
    • Native American Studies
    • Virtual Environments


MERLOT Gets Better with Age

We are continuously enhancing with new and exciting changes. Some that we've made this year include:

Save time and search across a wide range of digital libraries simultaneously!

  • We've added MIT Open Courseware, YouTube, Flickr, OCW  Consortium and OER Commons digital libraries to the “ Search Other Libraries” list.  You type in your key word(s) and MERLOT will do the work for you by simultaneously searching multiple digital libraries picked by YOU.
  • You can now link to the Search Other Libraries page from any page in MERLOT. Just look for the Search box at top of any page.
MERLOT expands it support for multiple languages

  • Translate any page in MERLOT with Google Translate, including materials found in the collection or through Federated Search. Just look for the "translate tool" in the bottom left of the MERLOT page footer.
  • Contribute and catalog learning materials in any language within MERLOT.
  • Making It Easier to Contribute More to MERLOT
Making It Easier to Contribute More to MERLOT

  • We've added "New Member" types, including Content Developer/Author, Teacher (K-12) and Consultant.
  • There is now a richer function text editor for members to use in Member Comments page.
  • The Content Builder has new functions to allow users to better maintain their CB learning materials. We have also added How-To videos to help users learn more about the Content Builder. You must be a member and logged in to access the Content Builder.
  • You can now perform advanced search on Learning Exercises.
  • We have released new web services for material and member search, member comments* and Joining*. - Go to our Technology page for more information.

To see previous enhancements to MERLOT, visit (*for partners only)




line features


2010 MERLOT Annual Awards

The following awards were presented at the Emerging Technology Symposium in June:
MERLOT Classics Awards for Exemplary Online Learning Resources:

Biology Virtual Transgenic Fly Lab Howard Hughes Med. Institute
Business eClips Cornell University
Chemistry Periodic Table LIVE! John Moore (U of Wisconsin)
English Guide to Grammar and Writing Capital Comm. Coll. Foundation
Fac. Dev Brief Hybrid Workshops Ray Purdom (UNC at Greens.)
Math Algebra2go Larry Perez (Saddleback  Univ)
Music Noteflight Noteflight, LLC
Physics Java Optics Course Grup d'Innovació Docent
Statistics ARTIST University of Minnesota
Teacher Ed VoiceThread VoiceThread


MERLOT Institutional Stewardship Award recognizes efforts to promote MERLOT at an institutional level.

Eli Shmueli, Project Director of the MEITAL/MAOR project.  MEITAL is a consortium of Israeli universities that partners with MERLOT.  MEITAL has been a leader among MERLOT Partners in specifying new technology requirements that enable us to extend our worldwide community beyond English-only users and countries.  MEITAL’s activities have served as an outstanding use case for our Chilean Partner INACAP, whose needs are similar to MEITAL’s.

California State University’s Noyce Scholars Program led by Elizabeth Ambos and David M. Andrews.  The CSU Noyce Scholars program was granted an NSF award to use the MERLOT collection and Teaching Commons to develop services to support student and new teachers in high need schools in California.  Although the design of the website is focused on serving the needs of CSU Noyce Scholars, the website is an open educational resource for everyone to use.


Partner Awards, based on longevity of their MERLOT Partnership.

Distinguished Partners (10 or more years of partnership)

    • California Community Colleges
    • Louisiana Board of Regents
    • Oklahoma State Regents of Higher Education
    • South Dakota Board of Regents
    • Tennessee Board of Regents
    • University of Michigan

Outstanding Partners (5 or more years of partnership)

    • Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
    • Queens College (CUNY)
    • Troy University

MERLOT would like to thank all our Partners and their constituents for their continuing support of MERLOT, and their contributions of partnership fees and in-kind support of Editorial Board Members and Project Directors.

MERLOT Service Awards

  • The MERLOT House Cup recognizes Editorial Board contributions to the MERLOT collection during an academic year.  This year’s winner is the Teacher Education Editorial Board with Jane Moore of National Louis University as Editor. This Board contributed 720 materials, accounting for 19% of all Editorial Board contributions.
  • Distinguished Service Award is MERLOT’s highest honor, exemplifying the vision that brings our members together to create the MERLOT community.  This year’s winner is Laura Franklin (Northern Virginia Community College), Editor of the World Languages Editorial Board.  Laura, who has worked on MERLOT since 2000, has been a champion of MERLOT, serving as an Editorial Board Editor who has also developed MERLOT 101, a course used to integrate MERLOT into all campuses within her system.  She has worked on the MERLOT MERLOT Africa Network project and attended the e-Learning conferences in Africa.


MERLOT Partners Keep Busy

customLogo.pngCalifornia Community Colleges - California Virtual Campus
The California Virtual Campus (CVC) is a statewide technology project funded by a grant from the California Community Colleges (CCC) Chancellor's Office to support distance education efforts for all  CCC students. supports California's colleges’ CVC is transitioning into a new phase that will offer a full suite of distance education services through the CVC Unified Services Portal website, services intended to build connections:

  • Among faculty, through fellowships, communities of inquiry, and communities of practice.
  • Among California Community Colleges System-wide student services applications, so students and prospective students have positive experiences with engaging, accessible, integrated tools.
  • Between students and faculty, through social learning platforms and outreach.
  • Among courses and a pathway to graduation and meaningful work, through academic planners and ePortfolios.

As a part of the transition to the new portal, CVC will be drawing on MERLOT services and resources to better serve faculty and students, seeking ways to incorporate advanced search, RSS feeds, webservices, MERLOT Teaching Commons, and other tools.


Louisiana Board of Regents

LouisianaThe University of Louisiana at Monroe, Louisiana Tech, and the Louisiana Board of Regents Office of Information and Learning Technology sponsored a series of webinars to help faculty transition to the Moodle LMS platform. The seven week-long series' sessions were recorded and archived. For more information on the topics, and links to the archives, go to:

Along with advocating the use of Moodle and other open source projects, other areas of emphasis being promoted within the Louisiana higher education system include MERLOT integration within campus e-learning programs, quality assurance of online content through peer review, and use of Creative Commons. For other activities of the Louisiana Board of Regents Office of Information and Learning Technology, click here.


Become a Peer Reviewer for MERLOT

grapesNew Fall sessions of MERLOT GRAPE Camp are now scheduled. GRAPE Camp is a series of three webinar training sessions focusing on the MERLOT peer review process, open to anyone wishing to do peer reviews for MERLOT. The Fall GRAPE Camp sessions are:

    • October - Thursdays (Sept 30, Oct 7, 14) - 2 PM Eastern/11 AM Pacific
    • November - Wednesdays (3, 10, 17) - 3 PM Eastern/noon Pacific
    • December - Thursdays (2, 9, 16) - 11 AM Eastern/8 AM Pacific

Learn more and register at:  Also encourage your colleagues to participate.



JOLT - Journal of Online Learning and Teaching - September Issue Now Available

The September 2010 issue of the Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (JOLT) is now online at – with article titles and abstracts also in Spanish.  Our thanks go to INACAP, our Academic Partner in Chile, who is providing these translations.  Now celebrating five years of publication, JOLT has published 256 papers from 608 submitted manuscripts, and receives  60-70 manuscript submissions each issue. Some highlights about JOLT during the past year:

    • Over 100,000 visits to the JOLT website
    • Over 250,000 pages viewed on the JOLT site
    • Over 225 manuscripts submitted
    • Over 400 reviews completed
    • Over 75 papers (800 pages ) published
    • RSS feed initiated for JOLT
    • 3000th subscriber added to listserv
    • Visitors from over 180 countries (99 languages represented)
    • First 1000+ visitor day

The acceptance rate of articles was 35% for the most recent year, trending toward that of many of the leading scholarly journals, (25%-35% range).  Well done, co-editors Ed Parry and Michelle Pilati.

Reviewers Needed
With a record number of submissions for the Winter issue (80 at this time), more reviewers are needed.   Please contact either Ed ( or Michelle (




tech update

Sloan-C16th Annual Sloan Consortium International Conference on Online Learning (November 3 - 5, '10) Attend MERLOT's Pre-Conference Workshop

The Sloan Consortium, MERLOT’s annual conference partner, is holding its own Annual Online Learning Conference, November 3-5 at the Caribe Royale Hotel and Convention Center in Orlando.   The keynote speaker is Peter P. Smith (Kaplan Higher Education), and plenary speakers are Barbara Means (Center for Technology in Learning, SRI International), and Julie Young (Florida Virtual School).   

Attend MERLOT staff’s (Barbra Sperling and Sorel Reisman) pre-conference workshop, “MERLOT: A Model of Open Education Resource Services,” on Wednesday, November 3, 9:00am-12:00pm.  The workshop will present an overview of MERLOT focusing on MERLOT functionality and services and their relationship to Open Education Resources. Participants will gain an understanding of MERLOT, a sensitivity about issues related to Open Education Resources, and have continued access to MERLOT resources for their ongoing classroom use.

Register before October 15 for Early Bird registration pricing at or visit



WCETMERLOT at WCET 22nd Annual Conference (November 11-13, 2010)

WCET's annual conference, to be held in La Jolla, California, is the premier professional development event in the field of eLearning.  Attendees gain practical solutions, expand their professional networks, and have the opportunity to influence future WCET initiatives. MERLOT will be featured in a session by Gerry Hanley, MERLOT Executive Director. For more information go to


2010 Global Education Conference Accepting Proposals (November 15-19, 2010)

globalconfMERLOT’s Partner, Elluminate, seeks proposals for their free-to-attend new conference at
All sessions will be presented on the Elluminate platform. When submitting a proposal, please indicate that MERLOT has invited your submission.  Your presentation will then be showcased on the MERLOT conference page at






Upcoming Events

Learn how to publish lessons to MERLOT directly from SoftChalk

SoftChalk now provides functions to enable publishing a link from your lesson directly to MERLOT. So while your actual lesson resides somewhere "in the cloud," you can publish the link to that lesson into MERLOT for others to view and use. To do this, you must first assign metadata to your lesson, upload the lesson to your website or LMS, and set up a connection to MERLOT.

Let's start with setting up permissions. You only have to do this once. From SoftChalk, choose File/Publish Lesson > Server Tab and select MERLOT.

softchalk permissions

If you’re a member of MERLOT, enter your username and password. Click OK. If you aren't, click Join MERLOT to go to the MERLOT site to join. After entering your log in details, click OK, then the Publish Tab in the Publish Lesson box. Make sure MERLOT is selected. Click Connect to add metadata.

server configpublish server tab

The last step is to assign metadata for your lesson before you publish it to MERLOT. You will need to enter a Title & URL, Author information, appropriate category & sub-category, and Creative Commons license (if declared). All required metadata are indicated with an *.


Once all your metadata are entered, you can click OK on the confirmation screen and the lesson will be published to MERLOT. For more information on SoftChalk, go to



The Numbers

In case you were wondering what goes on in MERLOT, here are some statistics to give you a sense of member activity.

As of October 1, 2010 here's what's in the MERLOT collection:

  • Learning Materials – 25,287
  • Peer Reviews - 3,167
  • Member Comments – 7,504
  • Personal Collections - 16,949
  • Learning Exercises - 1,411

How many people are using MERLOT?

  • MERLOT had 51,946 visits to the website in September 2010.

What are the top 10 countries using MERLOT?

1. United States  6. India
2. Canada  7. Mexico
3. Chile  8. Australia
4. UK  9. Spain
5. Philippines 10. Malaysia




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