Issue No. 22, Summer 2011

news features tech stuff upcoming events the numbers



2011 Emerging Technologies Conference Registration Open

et4online logoAt the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, California July 11-13, 2011 (Monday-Wednesday), co-sponsored with the Sloan Consortium.

Register now; early bird registration ends June 11th, Discounted hotel rates ($145/night) are available until June 28th.  These also apply for three days prior to and three days after the conclusion of the symposium.  Complimentary high-speed internet access will be provided only for those who book through the online registration system at the URL below.  If you book directly with the hotel, or through an online service (i.e., Expedia), you will be responsible for your own internet access charges.  Hotel registrations can be booked here:

Keynote Address at the Emerging Technologies Conference

Bryan Alexander, a Senior Fellow at the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education, will give the keynote address, on Monday afternoon 4:15 to 5:15 pmHis current research interests include emerging pedagogical forms enabled by mobile technologies, learning processes and outcomes associated with immersive environments (as in gaming, augmented reality, and virtual worlds), the digital humanities, and futurist methodologies.

Awards Luncheon will be Tuesday, July 12th

Please join us at the Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, July 12th, where some of the MERLOT Classics Award Winners will be recognized.  Additionally, the MERLOT award for Distinguished Service will be presented.


Selected MERLOT Conference Sessions

Below are a sampling of the MERLOT-centric sessions you will find at the upcoming conference. For a complete list of the Conference program sessions, go to


Conference Exhibitors Hall Sponsors

Fig Leaf Software   Embanet-Compass Knowledge Group 
Colloquy   Loom, Inc. 
Sonic Foundry    Waypoint Outcomes 
  Cengage Learning 
Bisk Education
  The Chronicle of Higher Education 
Blackboard Collaborate    Soomo Publishing 
SoftChalk    Toolwire 
AcademicPub/SharedBook    Knewton 
Going On    Turnitin 
Atomic Learning    SmarterServices 
Lecture Tools   YouSeeU 
Comcourse    Biometric Signature ID 

We want to thank all the conference Exhibit Hall sponsors for their sponsorship and hope that you will visit them in the Exhibit Hall.

Free Sloan-C Membership for MERLOT Members

sloancSloan-C is offering a free, three month individual Sloan-C Membership to MERLOT members. Benefits include:

Contact for more information.  Use this coupon code on the payment page:  Discount Code: IND-MERLOT_3MT and click here to register


New MERLOT Services

We are continually enhancing with new and exciting changes. Recent enhancements include:

Finding Materials Easily:

  • Language Preference - With the collection of materials growing in MERLOT, it can be difficult to find exactly what you are looking for. In addition to our Advanced Search page, MERLOT members now have the ability to restrict material searches to a specific language by specifying their preferred language on their profile page (when they are logged in). To do this, go to your profile and select your desired language from the drop down in the Preferred Language box. The default is English so if you don't make a change, the hitlist of materials will continue to be displayed the same. For more information, go to

  • Advanced Search - You can find more materials that meet specific search criteria, we using our advanced search page. New search criteria on the Material Advanced Search page include:
    • Common Cartridge as a Technical Format option.
    • You can now search for materials that run on different platforms, including 9 LMS's, 3 tablets and 4 SmartPhone operating systems. All these options can be found on the Advanced Search page under "Find materials that work on different delivery platforms ..."

  • MERLOT Taxonomy (Subject Categories) - New subject categories were added to Humanities, Social Sciences and Arts. For a complete list of the subject category index in MERLOT, go to
Africana /African American/Black Studies
American Indian/Native American Studies
American Studies
Asian/ Asian American Studies
Chicana/Latina Studies,
Chicano/ Latino Studies
Communication Studies
Comparative Literature and Classics  
European Studies
Jewish Studies
Religion was changed to Religious Studies
Sexuality Studies
South West Asian North African (SWANA) American Studies
Women Studies was changed to Women and Gender Studies

Social Sciences Linguistics Environmental Studies

Art Education
Industrial Design
Interior Design
Drawing & Painting
Film, Video, and Electronic Arts,
Graphic Design, Illustration, & Animation
Metal & Jewelry

  • Social Networking - addthisYou can now easily share MERLOT materials through FaceBook, Twitter and a handful of other options. From the webpage for the learning materials you can simply click on the applications you’d like to use to share.



Contributing to the MERLOT Collection:

  • Content Builder - The MERLOT Content Builder is a webpage development tool is an easy-to-use template-based tool for creating web pages.  Complete, multiple page websites including a navigation bar, containing text, imported documents, and uploaded photos and videos can be created in the Content Builder. Web pages can be grouped together to create a website, complete with a navigation bar that can be displayed on the top, right or left side of the page. Other new features include allowing users to upload .docx, .xlsx and .pptx files. This allows a user to add many different files to their webpages for others to access.  Authors can also download Content Builder pages in the Common Cartridge format. For more information on the Content Builder or links to our how-to videos, go to
  • Learning Exercise Wizard - On the last page of the Learning Exercise wizard (which can be access from any detail view material page), members can now add a URL for "additional information." If you are creating a learning exercise for students and want them to go to additional websites for information, those links can now be entered so they can easily get to those sites.

Web Services for Techies:

  • Web Services - 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. The latest addition is the Personal Collection web service. For more information, contact visit

More detail on these is shown at


Use MERLOT to Discover over 1 Million Open Educational Resources

With MERLOT's Federated Search technology, users are able to search 20 partner collections and digital libraries (including MERLOT) all at one time to search over 1 million educational resources. Federated search can be thought of as one giant search engine, searching across many collections at once, and returning results from all the collections in one list. The MERLOT Federated Search can be found at as well as clicking "Search other libraries" at the top of any MERLOT page, search box.

fedsearchBy using the MERLOT Federated Search, users are able to get results from many collections at once instead of going to each individually. Currently our Federated Search includes: NSDL: National Science Digital Library, Connexions, MIT Open Courseware, Open Courseware Consortium (OCW), OER Commons, Wikipedia, World Images (an educational image repository), Scribd, Flickr, YouTube, ARIADNE, EdNA Online, LACLO, EUN, LORNET, OUJ Open University of Japan, comPADRE, MERLOT Physics, MERLOT Information Technology, MERLOT Faculty Development, UNC Professional Development Portal, and IEEE Computer Society.

When searching more than one library at once, the results are presented in order of relevance, the relevance ranking being defined by the search service provider. Any collections' results can be viewed separately by clicking the collection at the top of the search results page. To access MERLOT’s Federated Search, go to the federated search page to conduct a search.


Join the MERLOT Virtual Environments Taskforce

The Virtual Environments Taskforce is inviting more people to join our online community to build the MERLOT collection of online materials related to teaching and learning in virtual environments.   The Taskforce has already defined their taxonomy for the collection (see below) and is now building the collection in these areas.   Come be a part of an exciting MERLOT community. Categories of Materials in the Virtual Environment Collection:

  • Assessment
  • Augmented Reality
  • Blended or Mixed Reality
  • Design
  • Disciplinary Content
  • Gaming Environments
  • Learner Engagement Strategies
  • Professional Development
  • Research
  • Virtual Environments Tool Sets

Because Virtual Environments is interdisciplinary, it is found with Faculty Development and Library and Information Services, in the Academic Support Services collection. 

If you have colleagues at your institution who use virtual environments in education, please ask them to share their learning materials in MERLOT. Also, if anyone is interested in serving on the Virtual Environments Taskforce, contact Cathy Swift at


Welcome Lane Community College, a new MERLOT Partner

laneOur newest Campus Partner is Lane Community College, in Eugene, Oregon.  Velda Arnaud, faculty member in Business and member of the Lane OER Team is serving as the Project Director.  Their involvement in MERLOT was prompted through an effort to explore how to lower student textbook costs by the student government at Lane.  A group of faculty, staff, and students came together, researched, and formed an advisory team.  Their efforts were also funded by the college’s R&D Leadership Team, and in January, the first OER Faculty Fellowship cohort was established.  For more information, Lane CC provides a public blog at  For information about your campus partnering with MERLOT, contact Phil Moss at



line features

Become a MERLOT Peer Reviewer

grapecampGRAPE Camp (Getting Reviewers Accustomed to the Process of
Evaluation) is a series of three webinar training sessions focusing on the MERLOT Peer Review Process. It is open to any instructor who would like to peer review for MERLOT. In these webinars, participants will:

  • Develop an understanding of MERLOT
  • Learn how MERLOT evaluates Learning Materials
  • Conduct a group review
  • Complete an Individual Review
  • Learn how to use the Workspace tool, and
  • Meet participants on the Editorial Board of their disciplines. 

The webinars include people from a variety of disciplines and is archived so participants can review the material as needed.  This means that participants can complete GRAPE Camp synchronously or asynchronously.  Participants receive a certificate upon completion.
The next GRAPE Camp session is scheduled for June, on 3 consecutive Wednesdays (1, 8, 15) at 3PM Eastern/Noon Pacific.  Sessions are already scheduled through December 2011. To learn more and register, go to

New users interested in becoming MERLOT peer reviewers, can indicate that when going through the registration process to join MERLOT by checking a box and a Editorial board member will contact you with further information.




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

The March 2011 issue of the Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (JOLT) is online at - with article titles and abstracts also in Spanish. Eight research papers include Students’ Perceptions of Online or Face-to-Face Learning, Asynchronous Instructional Audio Feedback in Online Environments, Relationship between Students’ Motivation and their Participation in Asynchronous Online Discussions, Tools to Support Career Advancement, Teacher Educators Teaching and Learning Together, A Longitudinal Comparison of Online Versus Traditional Instruction, Taking the ‘Distance’ out of Distance Education and Effective Online Instructional Competencies as Perceived by ONline University Faculty and Students.

There are 4 Case studies on topics that include: Observing Emerging Student Networks on a Microblogging Service, The Role of Web-Based Activities in Mediating Student Interaction and Engagement in Four Teacher Education Classes, The Online "Supplemental" Workshop, and Integrating Sustainability into the Business Curriculum through E-Learning

Lastly, there are 3 Concept papers on Military Learners: Considerations for Online Course Design, YouTube across the Disciplines: A Review of the Literature,  and Expression and Connection: The Integration of the Reflective Learning Process and the Writing Process into Social Network Sites.

Some 2010 highlights about JOLT:

      • 122,000 visits to JOLT site
      • 293,000 pages viewed
      • Visitors from 186 countries/territories
      • 276 papers submitted
      • 28% overall acceptance rate
      • Spanish titles and abstracts now provided for every paper

Reviewers Needed
With a record number of submissions for the Winter issue, more reviewers are needed.   Please contact co-editors Ed Perry ( or Michelle Pilati (



tech update

DATE CHANGE: Sloan-C International Conference on Online Learning - Call for Presentations Extended through June 6th.

The Sloan Consortium invites you to submit a proposal for presentation and/or workshops for the 17th Annual Sloan-C International Conference on Online Learning: "Online Learning, Teaching, and Research in the New Media Ecology," to be held November 9-11, 2011 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

Please mark your calendars with our new dates – November 9-11, 2011- for this year’s Sloan-C -International Conference on Online Learning.  Our new conference dates provide us with even greater opportunities to bring you the best program and events possible, including additional presentations and a special evening at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

The conference strongly encourages presentation and workshop proposals that reflect the implications for the field of specific e-learning experience and practices. Proposals that address blended learning, issues of diversity, international applications of online learning, open educational resources, social networking, online learning and community colleges, and/or K-12 online education are especially encouraged. For all the details, go to Make plans to join us in Orlando this November!  Sign-up for conference updates to receive the latest information on the conference.  


Discover and Share Open Educational Resources using SoftChalk CONNECT

Would you like some creative inspiration for your course materials? SoftChalk CONNECT, our Learning Object Repository, is a great place to find high quality instructional content that you can use in developing material for your courses. And we hope you'll be inspired to publish and share your own learning materials on CONNECT. Register for a CONNECT webinar today and learn how to...

  • Publish your SoftChalk lessons, eCourses, interactive learning activities and quiz questions to CONNECT, so others can search, view and use them.
  • Search for content to use in your own materials.
  • Create “groups” of users so only those users can access your content.
  • Create and manage folders to organize your personal collections.

The webinar will take place on 2 dates listed below. Click on the date to register.
Thursday May 5th at 12:00 ET
Monday, May 23rd at 4:00 ET


eLearning Africa's 6th International Conference on ICT for Development, Education and Training (May 25-27)

In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. For information visit


Online Teaching Conference 2011 - Call for Participation (June 22-24)

This conference focuses on K-20 faculty, staff, and administrators engaged in the delivery of online services. Steve Hargadon, Social Learning Consultant for Elluminate/Blackboard Collaborate will be the keynote. January 31, 2011 is the deadline to submit a presentation proposal. For more information, go to


International Symposium on Academic Globalization (July 19-22)

The 4th Symposium on Academic Globalization: AG 2011 will be held in Orlando, Florida. For information visit


2011 Innovative Professor Conference on Clouducation (November 7-8, 2011). CALL FOR PROPOSALS

At Austin Peay State University Morgan University Center in Clarksville, Tennessee. For information:


Upcoming Events

Effective Uses of the MERLOT Content Builder

MERLOT Content Builder is a free and easy-to-use tool for creating new Open Educational Resources. No programming skills needed.  We've created a new MERLOT resource illustrating ways Content Builder can be used to create many different types of webpages and websites including:

  • e-Portfolios
  • lesson plans
  • pedagogical analysis
  • student reflections
  • online courses
  • tutorials
  • presentations
  • translations into other languages
  • community websites

This resource is catalogued in MERLOT as, “Effective Uses of the MERLOT Content Builder Tool” at: This website itself was developed using the Content Builder Tool.

cb example

You can use this resource to demonstrate how easy it is to use Content Builder to build web pages. 

We've also developed how-to videos and guideline on using the Content Builder. To view those, 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 April 30, 2011 here's what's in the MERLOT collection:

  • Learning Materials – 27,993
  • Peer Reviews - 7,503
  • Member Comments – 8,156
  • Personal Collections - 18,278
  • Learning Exercises - 1,406

Average number of visitors to MERLOT has almost doubled in past year.

  • 2011 monthly rate (1st quarter) – average 79,374 visitors per month
  • 2010 monthly rate (1st quarter) – average 44,650 visitors per month

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

1. USA 6. India
2. Philippines 7. Australia
3. Canada 8. Spain
4. Israel 9. Mexico
5. UK 10.Malaysia




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