Issue No. 23, Fall 2011

news features tech stuff upcoming events the numbers



The 2011 MERLOT Awards: Recognizing Quality Online Resources and Leaders

One of the highlights of the MERLOT International Conference is the Awards Ceremony at which we recognize those who have made outstanding contributions in learning materials, service, and use of MERLOT.  Each of the MERLOT Editorial Boards selects an outstanding resource from its discipline to receive the annual discipline Classics Award.

Please visit these materials to see some of the outstanding resources in MERLOT.

Diack (Small) The MERLOT Distinguished Service Award is reserved as MERLOT’s highest honor. The recipient of this award exemplifies the vision that brings MERLOT members together to create the MERLOT Community.  This year’s winner was Moustapha Diack from Southern University.  Moustapha been the key person in establishing the MAN project (MERLOT Africa Network) for 6 years. 

Business Team (Small)


The MERLOT House Cup is an award to recognize the level of contributions made to the MERLOT collection during an academic year. This year’s winner is the Business Editorial Board. Pictured are some Board Members who attended the conference, with the House Cup:  Patty Feller, Nashville State Community College, Jackie Gilbert, Middle Tennessee State University, Susan Moncada, Indiana State University, and Tom Moncada, Eastern Illinois University.   


New MERLOT Services

The MERLOT development team is continually enhancing the MERLOT website.   Recent enhancements include: 

View in any language

The MERLOT website can now be translated into over 30 different languages. This is being done by Microsoft Language Translator ( While it is not 100% accurate, Microsoft Translator is constantly being improved. The translation menu in MERLOT can be found in the bottom left of the footer, on any page in MERLOT. To translate MERLOT to another language, simply select the target language from the drop down menu in the footer and click the arrow.  The MERLOT page will automatically be translated into the selected language.MERLOT remains in the selected language until you change back to English. For more information, go to

MERLOT Taxonomy (Subject Categories):

New subject categories were added to MERLOT in the area of Academic Support Services ( in the past few months.  New materials are being added every week to these new categories. They include: 

You can also find a complete listing of subject categories in MERLOT.

Web Services for Techies:

MERLOT offers a suite of web services for organizations and partners as part of the Partnership MOU. These include the MERLOT Advanced Web Services for Materials and Members, a "Contribute Materials" web service as well as a number of other utility web services for registering and adding material comments. For more information, contact visit

Other Changes You Can See on the MERLOT Website Include:

The Florida Orange Grove repository has been added to the MERLOT Federated Search page.   From one page you can now search 25 digital libraries and get up to 25 results from each!   To search, go to

You’ve seen them everywhere, now you can see them in MERLOT.  A QR code (Quick Response code) is now on each material detail view page.  A QR code can take all the information about one of our learning objects and put it on your cell phone.  Once it is in your cell phone, it gives you the web page for that material.  All you need is a cell phone and a QR code reader installed.

When you joined MERLOT, was it difficult to identify yourself in only one discipline?  We heard from members who felt that way and now you can select more than one discipline to identify your interests on your profile page.  You can specify your primary discipline and in addition, list multiple disciplines that will also display on your profile page.  



Material Accessibility Information:

It is important to know as much as you can about an Open Education Resource when considering it for your class.  That is why MERLOT now provides submitters with the option to include Accessibility information.  Each material now has a form that includes 14 Accessibility items that describe a material.  These include, Text Access, Text Adjustment, Reading Layout, Reading Order, Structural Markup/Navigation, Tables, Hyperlinks, Color and Contrast, Language, Images, Multimedia, Flickering, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), and Interactive Elements. 


MERLOT Content Builder

The MERLOT Content Builder is a webpage development tool in MERLOT.  It is an easy-to-use template-based tool for creating web pages. multi-page websites complete with a navigation bar.  You can add text, import documents, and upload photos and videos to your pages.  In the coming months MERLOT will be releasing a new version of the Content Builder that will be easier to navigate and manage your web pages and web sites. Not only you’re your web sites be grouped by the pages that they contain, but it will be easier to create a web page and web site.  We have also made some accessibility improvements to the way text is formatted.  Look for the new Content Builder interface coming to a computer new you soon!   For more information on the Content Builder or links to our how-to videos, go to

Questions about any of the new services should be directed to Barbra Bied Sperling, Manager of Technical Development at or the MERLOT Webmaster at 


Welcome Texas A&M Commerce, a new MERLOT Partner

tamcommerceMERLOT is a key component of Texas A&M Commerce’s Global eLearning Initiative which was launched with their November 9-11, 2011 summit.   Texas A&M Commerce is already integrating MERLOT’s digital library services and using MERLOT Content Builder to support their academic programs.

As part of their globalization effort, Texas A&M Commerce is launching The Global e-Learning Journal, which is “a global refereed chronicle of innovation, implementation and evaluation.”  The Call for Papers provides a list of the types of articles that are sought.  Please consider this new journal as an outlet for one of your manuscripts.


MERLOT/AAEEBL Collaboration

AAEEBL color square sm 2

MERLOT and AAEEBL (Association for Authentic, Experiential, and Evidence-based Learning) have joined forces to advance our ePortfolio goals. AAEEBL has already updated MERLOT’s e-portfolio portal and will be working on connecting and building our ePortfolio community and collection. You can read more about our collaboration:



MERLOT/SoftChalk OER Webinars


MERLOT has recently collaborated with SoftChalk in presenting some webinars regarding OERs (Open Educational Resources).  Along with some other organizations, MERLOT helped introduce and explain what OERs are and how to find them. 

  • OER Session 1—Defining OER: The WHAT and the WHY
  • OER Session 2—Finding and Using OER: The WHERE and the WHEN
  • OER Session 3—Creating OER: The WHO and the HOW

You can access archived sessions of the first three webinars here.   Please note that you will have to “register” for the webinar in order to access the archive. 


Sloan-C Webinars and Workshops

During the past year, MERLOT Management has presented both webinars and workshops in conjunction with the Sloan-C professional development program and the Sloan-C Certificate for teaching and improving online courses.  The webinars are one hour free presentations.  Workshops are ten-day online sessions which require a payment.  You can view the archived sessions of some of the webinars below:


Duke University Recognizes MERLOT’s Pedagogy Portal

Duke University’s Center for Instructional Technology recently featured MERLOT’s Pedagogy Portal on their websiteat  Ray Purdom, Editor of the Faculty Development Editorial Board recommends that other faculty development managers promote MERLOT’s Pedagogy Portal on their websites or in campus newsletters.  What better way to help faculty in designing and teaching their online courses?

The MERLOT Pedagogy Portal ( is a go-to resource for free online materials that will help you improve your teaching.  The portal provides links to MERLOT materials that address the steps in teaching:

  • Learners and Learning
  • Course Instructional Design
  • Teaching Strategies
  • Teaching Challenges
  • Assessment

Within each of these individual steps, one can find resources for a variety of different topics. 

pedagogy portal 3.jpg


MERLOT on Facebook and Twitter


MERLOT can now be found on Facebook.  Visit our page to find information on apps, online teaching, and other topics of value in online teaching.    You can also find us by searching for MERLOT or Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching.  Don’t forget to ‘like’ us!


MERLOT also Tweets about issues of interest to those involved in higher education and teaching in general including MERLOT.  Follow us on Twitter at #MERLOTorg to get the latest news and updates.


Three New Editors for MERLOT

This fall brings with it three new MERLOT Editors:

bidlack (Medium) (Small)

Jim Bidlack, professor of biology at Central Oklahoma, and long-term Biology Associate Editor, is the new Editor of Biology.  Jim is excited about the opportunity and will be working to help invite more people to the Biology Editorial Board.



Mark Rockley, professor of chemistry at Oklahoma State is the new Editor of Chemistry  Mark had been an Associate Editor of the Editorial Board, and then was Co-Editor.  Mark will also be working to increase the number of Chemistry Peer Reviewers.


Catherine Honig, associate professor of industrial psychology at National Louis University is the new Editor of the Psychology Editorial Board.  Catherine has been a Peer Reviewer Extraordinaire for MERLOT and is excited about leading the psychology community and collection.


Sergey (Medium) (Small)

Editorial Board Member is Fulbright Scholar


Sergey Belyi is a Mathematics Editorial Board Member, and a mathematics professor at Troy University.  He recently spent three months at East Ukrainian National University and Donetsk National University in Ukraine as a Fulbright Scholar, collaborating on mathematical research. 


Editorial Board Member Receives Sloan-C Award

david (Medium) (Small)David Wicks, a Teacher Education Editorial Board Member and Director of Instructional Technology Services at Seattle Pacific University, received the 2011 Sloan-C Effective Practice Award for his blog, “Portfolios: Blogging for Reflective Practice.”  You can read the description of his effective practice at:



JOLT - September 2011 Issue Available Online

The September 2011 issue of MERLOT’s JOLT (Journal of Online Learning and Teaching) is now available.  This issue features five research articles, two case studies, and three position papers.  As always, articles can be viewed in two formats:  html and pdf.  Please consider submitting one of your manuscripts to JOLT or offering to become a JOLT Peer Reviewer, by sending an email to:




line features

Open eTextbooks on MERLOT

Are you aware that MERLOT has one of the largest collections of free etextbooks?  As budgets decrease, and student expenses increases, institutions are trying to find a way to make college more affordable for students.  Free, online textbooks can help accomplish that.

As we go to print, MERLOT has a collection of 2,032 free etextbooks.  What else does the textbook collection have to offer?

  • Searchable by 9 major discipline categories, with sub-categories under each.
  • Can search within collection by key word(s).
  • Can search by primary audience.
  • Can use MERLOT’s federated search of 21 other educational digital libraries to find resources.
  • Can read and make Member Comments about the textbooks.
  • Can translate some of the books (non-pdf) into over 30 languages.
  • 22 of them are already peer reviewed.


The California State University System has already taken advantage of the collection with its Affordable Learning Solutions website.  You can explore the website to take advantage of  other resources that also offer opportunities to help decrease student costs.


MERLOT as an OER App Store

Did you ever think of MERLOT as an OER (Open Educational Resources) app store?  Well you can.  Finding apps is easy when searching materials on your iPad or other mobile device.  With over 31,000 materials in MERLOT, you can easily search those materials and turn them into an app.  You can use the MERLOT Advanced Search to find resources by title, subject, author, key word(s), language, material type, etc.  Once you get to the material by clicking on Go to Material, you can turn the site into an app.

Below is an illustration, using the MERLOT home page.  By clicking the following icon on your iPad, arrow just click on Add to Home Screen from the drop down menu.  The resource is now added as an app on your iPad.



tech update

Annual Sloan-C Blended Learning Conference

Call for Proposals Now Open: 9th Annual Sloan-C Blended Learning Conference and Workshop April 23-24, 2012.  Hyatt Regency Milwaukee – Milwaukee, WI The Sloan Consortium invites you to submit a proposal for presentation for the 9th Annual Sloan Consortium Blended Learning Conference and Workshop, "Perfecting the Blend," will be held on April 23-24, 2012 in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee.  Proposals are due November 21, 2011.

AAEEBL Third Annual Conference

 The Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL), a MERLOT partner, will present its third annual conference in Boston July 16-19 at the Seaport World Trade Center.  The call for proposals invites potential presenters to submit proposals by February 3, 2012 that explore “ePortfolios as a Catalyst for Connections: Celebrating the Curious, Creative and Capable Learner.”  AAEEBL is proud to announce that MERLOT will be a sponsor for this conference. Click here to submit a proposal for the conference.

First Annual Open Education Week Declared for March 5-10, 2012

A global event, Open Education Week seeks to raise awareness about the benefits of free and open sharing in education, especially Open Educational Resources (OER).  OER are high-quality, free and open educational materials that offer opportunities for people anywhere in the world to share, use and reuse knowledge.

“The vision of the OER movement is to improve teaching and learning globally through free and open sharing.  OER give people access to the educational content they desire, independent of time or location.  The movement encompasses producing, sharing, using and modifying content, as well as innovative models of educational delivery,” said Mary Lou Forward, Executive Director of the OpenCourseWare Consortium.  “Open Education Week is going to showcase projects, resources, people and ideas so more people around the world can see its potential and its benefits.”

Open Education Week is being planned by representatives of Open Education institutions and organizations from around the world and coordinated by the OpenCourseWare Consortium.  Global events will feature projects and resources as well as more general information about the OER movement.  Live webinars will be scheduled in different time zones and languages throughout the week.  Information and pre-recorded presentations also will be available on the website, along with a virtual tour of a variety of open educational projects and available OER.  All virtual and live events are free and open to the public.  Visit for more information.




Upcoming Events

Using Personal Collections to Build a Syllabus

Dear MERLOT Webmaster,

I was looking for a way to create a syllabus in MERLOT and wanted to know if you recommend creating a Personal Collection? 

Thank you,


Dear Unorganized,

That is a good question and a Personal Collection would accomplish what you want.  For those that don’t know what a Personal Collection is, for more information, go to   A Personal Collection is a way to “bookmark” MERLOT learning materials that you find and have them all in one place, like a folder of information.

1. To create a Personal Collection and add materials to it, start by logging in to MERLOT.  From the home page, click the link, Create a Personal Collection on the right side.  

2. On the following page, Add a Personal Collection, enter a title and descritption (required). In the case of a syllabus, this is the title of the course and description of materials will be in the collection. If you are creating a Personal Collection for a different purpose, just make sure the title and description reflect those contents.

3. Continue filling in the additional fields with as much information as possible sure to reflect how you will use this new colleciton. The additional fields include Course, Learning Outcomes, Prerequisities, Pedagogy Approach, and Assessment Methodology.  Once you have included all the details for your syllabus, click Submit

4. Now you can start adding MERLOT Learning Materials to the collection.  The first thing you need to do is find a material you want to add.  On the detail page for the material, under the Add to a Personal Collection: New Personal Collection, select the drop down (New Personal Collection) and select the Personal Collection you just created side of the detail view page.

5. Add a material note for this material, then click Save.  Material notes can be used to convey informaiton about the syllabus or materials to your students.  After you add a material, you are taken back to that detail page of that item.  Add as many materials as you like to the Personal Collection.


To view or edit a Personal Collection:

1. Go to your profile (click My Profile tab) and under View MERLOT Contributions on the right, click the Personal Collection link to see all the collections you’ve created.

2. Click on the title of a collection to view and edit it.  The red arrows on the left of each material allow you to reorder each within the collection.  Click the Edit or Delete link next to each item in the collection to make additional changes. 



The Numbers

Who is Using MERLOT?


As of September 30, 2011 here is what is in the MERLOT collection:

  • Learning Materials – 30,832
  • Peer Reviews – 3,452
  • Member Comments – 8,705
  • Personal Collections – 19,421
  • Learning Exercises – 1.421

How many people have visited MERLOT in the third quarter of 2011 (July - September)?

In 2011 – January – September 673,464

In the 3rd quarter of 2011 -  197,701

What top 10 countries have visited MERLOT the most in 2011?

1. USA

6.  India

2. Philippines

7.  Australia

3. Canada

8.  Chile

4. Israel

9.  Mexico

5. UK

10.  Malaysia




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