sIssue No. 18, Spring 2010

news features tech stuff upcoming events the numbers



2010 MERLOT Conference – Emerging Technologies for Online Learning

2010 conference bannerThis year, MERLOT is collaborating with both the Sloan Consortium and Moodle Moot to present the Emerging Technologies for Online Learning Symposium, to be held July 20-23, 2010 at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, CA. The conference will follow the same format as in the past, with an opening reception the first night, followed by 2 ½ days of presentations.The conference has nine tracks, including the pre-conference sessions taking place on July 20. The tracks include:

  1. The Cutting Edge
  2. Pedagogy
  3. Faculty Development
  4. Inventive Uses of Media and Tools
  5. Immersive Learning and Virtual Environments
  6. The New Learning Communities
  7. Emerging Technologies for Administration, Infrastructure, and Support Services
  8. Architecture and Applications
  9. Pre-conference workshops

The due date for proposals is February 1, 2010, so we encourage you to submit a proposal as soon as you can. Information about the conference can be found at: To submit a proposal, go to



MERLOT Learning Materials Development Initiative

MERLOT leaders and users have been asking for MERLOT to support easy to use tools for creating and sharing online learning materials and MERLOT has responded with our new Learning Materials Development Initiative (LMDI). This LMDI provides a foundation for those interested in developing online learning materials to select from among free, open access tools or proprietary, commercial ones. The LMDI also suggests tools for novice as well as more experienced users.  Two new tools now available for our users are the MERLOT Content Builder and the SoftChalk Lesson Builder.



MERLOT Content Builder

MERLOT recently announced the release of its new Content Builder. The MERLOT Content Builder, originally the Carnegie Foundation KEEP Toolkit, is an easy-to-use tool for creating shareable web pages of learning materials that members of MERLOT can examine and/or reuse. These materials (or web pages) can include text, imported documents, photos and video. A linked series of these web pages provides an easily navigable instructional website.

content builder

You can find out more about the MERLOT Content Builder at: Or if you are ready to jump right in, go to your profile and click, “Access the Content Builder.” There is also a user’s guide to assist you in the process. Just click on the "?" on the Content Builder dashboard page.

Read more about this in our From the Webmaster section below.



SoftChalk Lesson Builder

softchalk logoThrough a new partnership with MERLOT, the company, SoftChalk, is providing special pricing for MERLOT Academic Partners, and unit discounts for registered MERLOT members. SoftChalk Lesson Builder is a commercially available PC-based authoring tool for easy content creation that can be used by any level of developer to create online learning materials. By using the SoftChalk tool, instructors can produce learning materials that incorporate MERLOT materials into their lessons and they can easily be catalog their online lesson in MERLOT so others can find, use, and provide feedback.

With SoftChalk, users can:

  1. Create interactive web pages for e-learning courses.
  2. Engage students with lessons that include pop-up text annotations, self-assessment quizzes, and interactive learning games.
  3. Package lessons for delivery via CD-ROM, Intranet, Internet, or through Learning Management Systems.

Find more information about SoftChalk at: , or



Meital @ MAOR Portal Now Available

MERLOT Partner, Meital has recently released their new MAOR (Metadata and Learning Object Repository) portal that provides MERLOT members access to Meital's Hebrew higher education learning materials repository. The portal uses MERLOT's Advanced Search Web Service, and will soon include MERLOT's Join and Contribute Web Services. This Hebrew-English portal is the first bilingual MERLOT community. See this portal and all other partner portals at




Collection-Community-Consultation-Customization Of MERLOT Partners' Academic Support Services

merlot compassAs you may know, the MERLOT Collection and most of its Communities are open to all, and membership in MERLOT is free to the individual faculty member, student, or staff. Direction and guidance for the development of the MERLOT Collection and Communities, as well as other strategic planning efforts within MERLOT, are provided by MERLOT Partners, through membership in the MERLOT Leadership Council.

MERLOT Partners (campuses, systems, and other organizations) have additional access to an array of Consulting and Customization services and resources that make the Collection and the Communities more useful to their constituents.

For more information about MERLOT COMPASS and how it might help your institution, contact Phil Moss, MERLOT Director of Educational Partnerships and Planning, at, or go to



MERLOT Webinars with Elluminate

MERLOT and Elluminate are coordinating live and interactive, one hour webinars featuring MERLOT Classic Award winners from the 2008 and 2009 MERLOT International Conferences. The series will be co-hosted by Cathy Swift (MERLOT Director of Academic Partner Services), and Steve Hargadon (Elluminate Social Learning Consultant), developer of the website, the Future of Education (

To date, the following sessions have been scheduled, all at 8PM Eastern/5PM Pacific on their respective dates:

  • Bernard Robin - University of Houston, and 2009 Faculty Development Classic Award winner - the "Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling." Students play the role of predators on moths on a tree trunk. Then, they play the role of biologist, analyzing the changing gene frequencies of the moth population and determining if the population evolved over three generations. Students will: 1) collect data by “eating” moths; 2) calculate gene frequencies for each phenotype over three generations; 3) interpret graphs of data their data to determine if microevolution occurred; and 4) explain how selection acts on populations. Tuesday, March 9, 2010.
  • David Hill - Temple University and 2008 Math Classic Award for their website, "Demos with Positive Impact." Their site is a collection of quick classroom demos that enhance the learning of mathematics content through animations, experiments etc. Each demo comes with stated objective, prerequisites, instructor notes and platform info, plus the level of the demo and credits. This setup appears conducive to quick inclusion into a class. Thursday, March 25, 2010.
  • Jan Cheetham - University of Wisconsin, and 2008 Biology Classic Award winner – "Connecting Concepts: Natural Selection 3: Microevolution: Evolution in a Population." Educators at all levels can use Digital Storytelling in many ways, from introducing new material to helping students learn to conduct research, synthesize large amounts of content and gain expertise in the use of digital communication and authoring tools. It also can help students organize these ideas as they learn to create stories for an audience and present their ideas and knowledge in an individual and meaningful way. Wednesday, March 31, 2010.
  • Carl Blyth - University of Texas and 2009 World Languages Classic Award for his website, Texas Language Technology Center. He also has received 5-star peer reviews in MERLOT, such as Tex’s French Grammar, Le Francais interactif, Ta Falado and Spanish Proficiency Exercises. The site is a model for innovation in technology-enhanced learning materials to teach languages. Many of its projects have won  prestigious awards already and several have received five-star peer reviews in MERLOT, such as Tex’s French Grammar, Le Francais interactif, Ta Falado and Spanish Proficiency Exercises. Thursday, April 1, 2010.

Other sessions will be announced at



Upcoming Workshops: Course Improvement, Strategic TLT...

  • Sharing Frugal Innovations: Developing Dissemination Materials and Strategies
    • Tuesdays, February 9, 16, 23 at 1pm ET
    • This workshop is designed to assist faculty and faculty developers to identify valuable (and often under-utilized) teaching /learning resources and then develop feasible strategies for producing useful means for sharing and taking advantage of them. REGISTER HERE.
  • Information Literacy and Assessment, An ACRL/TLT Group Online Workshop
    • Thursdays, February 25, March 4 and 11 at 1pm ET
    • Seminar leaders will provide practical, specific examples for conducting an assessment of information literacy programs and will explore the questions surrounding assessment, such as - do we assess the process or what students find? REGISTER HERE.
  • Strategic Planning for Teaching and Learning (with Technology): "Ten Things I (No Longer) Believe"
    • Tuesdays, March 16, 23, and 30 at 1pm ET
    • This workshop will focus mostly on the second and third factors. This will be a real workshop: we'll read, think and write together to produce materials you can use at your institution for planning and for staff development. REGISTER HERE.
  • ePortfolios
    • Thursdays, April 8, 15, 22 at 1pm ET
    • An ePortfolio can be a powerful tool for assessment, but it can also be used to create a stimulating, empowered learning environment. Join us for a discussion of such topics as what an ePortfolio actually is, things to consider when planning an ePortfolio initiative and how to use faculty and student feedback in the development process. REGISTER HERE.




line features

Would you like to Become a Peer Reviewer for MERLOT?


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

  • February – Wednesdays (10, 17, 24) at 4pm Eastern/1pm Pacific
  • February – Thursdays (11, 18, 25) at 11am Eastern/ 8am Pacific
  • March – Wednesdays (10, 17, 24) at 11am Eastern/8am Pacific
  • March – Tuesdays (9, 16, 23) at 4pm Eastern/ 1pm Pacific
  • April – Wednesdays (7, 14, 21) at 4pm Eastern/ 1pm Pacific – 7th, 14th, 21st

Read about it and register at:



MERLOT in Virtual Worlds

cliveThe MERLOT Center for Learning in Virtual Environments (CLIVE) Taskforce is continuing the development of a new Teaching Commons for educators active or curious about teaching in virtual worlds. We will soon have a virtual environments community in the MERLOT collection where users can submit their materials and find materials that others have created. Whether open, user-created worlds like Second Life or structured gaming environments like World of Warcraft, CLIVE will provide an array of evidence-based “use cases” accessible via the web or from within virtual worlds, themselves. MERLOT members will have the ability to search through, compare, contrast, and discuss expert-vetted 3D learning environments materials across platforms and disciplines appropriate to their classrooms.

In an effort to develop this new community most effectively, The CLIVE Taskforce requests that MERLOT members who use virtual environments in their teaching take a moment to complete this survey: It will take about three minutes to complete it.

CLIVE Island in Second Life, the first space for MERLOT in a virtual world may be found at, while the CLIVE MERLOT space on the web is If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Jonathon Richter:



WCET Recognizes California Virtual Campus

wow award 2009wcet award photoCalifornia Community Colleges has been a long-time MERLOT Partner and Doug Cremer has been a long-time Project Director for the CCC in MERLOT. Recently, WCET recognized the California Virtual Campus’s California High School Exit Examination Preparation Initiative-Stepping into Your Future Program by bestowing it with a 2009 WOW award. The program, with its two online courses, has improved student retention and pass-rates for K-12 students preparing for California’s English and Math high school exit exams. CVC was one of three recipients of this award for Outstanding Use of Technology in Higher Education. According to WCET, “This year’s recipients reinforced the value of innovative solutions that improve access both to higher education and the teaching and learning process itself.” Pictured with the award are Doug Cremer, Stephanie Couch, Pam Thompson, and LeBaron Woodyard.



JOLT - Journal of Learning and Online Teaching - December issue now available online!

The December issue of JOLT was released on December 15th.
If you have an article "in the making" be sure to contact Ed Perry ( or Michelle Pilati ( to learn how to publish in JOLT. JOLT also welcomes new reviewers. For more information about the journal and to view the Guideline for Authors, visit




tech update

2010 Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching (Feb 5-7, 2010)

The 2010 Lilly Conference at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center, Greensboro, North Carolina. For information visit:

Global Time Conference on Technology Innovation, Media and Education (Feb 13-19, 2010)

AACEA cross-disciplinary online conference focusing on technology, media and education, organized by AACE.

CENIC 2010 Annual Conference (March 8-10, 2010)

cenicThe Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) will hold its 14th annual conference, FULL SPEED AHEAD, at the Hyatt Regency Monterey, Monterey, California. For information visit:

21st Annual SITE International Conference - Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (March 29 - April 2, 2010)

To be held in San Diego, CA. For information visit:

TechEd 2010 Conference (April 11-13, 2010)

This year's conference, "Technology in Education for the Real World" will be held in Pasadena, California. For information visit:

eLearning Africa's 5th International Conference on ICT (May 26, 2010)

eLearning AfricaeLearning Africa's 5th International Conference on ICT for Development, Education and Training will be held at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka, Zambia. For information visit:


3rd International Symposium on Academic Globalization (June 29 - July 2, 2010)

AG 2010 will be held in Orlando, Florida. For information visit:

8th International Conference on Education and Information Systems, Technologies and Applications (June 29 - July 2, 2010)

EISTA 2010 will also be held in Orlando, Florida. For information visit:




Upcoming Events

Have you used the new Content Builder yet?


The MERLOT Content Builder provides a simple mechanism for creating prestructured web pages using text and imported documents, photos, and video, allowing you to describe your work to other viewers. In other words, you build YOUR OWN WEBSITE! And it's easy to use. To get started, just click on the "Access the Content Builder" link on the home page and start building!

For more information on the Content Builder, see:

Or download the QuickStart Guide here.

- Webmaster

access the content builder




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 January 1, 2010 here's what's in the MERLOT collection:

  • Learning Materials – 21,643
  • Peer Reviews - 2,838
  • Member Comments – 7,026
  • Personal Collections - 15,578
  • Learning Exercises - 1,405

How reliable are the links to materials in MERLOT?

  • Of the 21,643 materials in MERLOT, 98.9% of the links are valid*
    (*We are constantly fixing broken links to valuable learning materials, and you can too. If a material link doesn't work, just click on Report Broken Link to let us know!)

How many people are using MERLOT?

  • MERLOT had 31,485 visits in the month of December 2009

What are the top 10 countries using MERLOT?

1. United States  6. Mexico
2. United Kingdom  7. Italy
3. Canada       8. Chile
4. Spain  9. Philippines
5. India 10. Brazil




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