Issue No. 25, Summer 2012

news features tech stuff upcoming events the numbers



2012 MERLOT/Sloan C Emerging Technologies for Online Learning - Early Bird Registration Ends Soon!

venitian hotelThe MERLOT/Sloan C Emerging Technologies Conference - July 25-27, 2012 at the Venetian/Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Early Bird registration ends May 25, 2012.  Register at:  Reserve before July 2 for discounted rates starting at $149.00 nightly; rates also apply to 3 days prior to and 3 days after the conference. Call (888) 283-6423 and mention: RSLOA or "Sloan Consortium," or visit the conference website. For conference programs visit


Keynotes and Plenary Sessions -  For information on the keynotes, visit For information on the plenary sessions, go to

Joel ThiersteinKeynoter Joel Thierstein  - “Civic Mission in the Information Age: Higher Education’s Relevancy in the 21st Century.”  Joel is Senior Advisor and Counsel to the Under Secretary of Education in the U.S. Department of Education. 

Thursday morning plenary - “Drilling Down on the Real Impacts of Emerging Technologies in Education” by Steve HargadonSteve Hargadon and Audrey WattersAudrey Watters.  In their weekly podcast, Steve and Audrey look at emerging technologies and education in a back-and-forth style.  This session will be similar with sometimes conflicting viewpoints.

bethFriday morning plenary - Beth Harris and Steven Zucker of Smart History and the Khan Academy steve -  “Giving It Away:  Lessons from Smarthistory and Open Education.”  Beth Harris is Dean of Art and History at the Khan Academy. Steven Zucker is Dean of Art and History at the Khan Academy.



MERLOT and Quality Matters to Collaborate on Joint Projects

virtualQuality Matters (QM) and MERLOT will work together to capitalize on the expertise and facilities of both parties, related to the design and selection of high quality online courses and content. Quality Matters ( develops and disseminates rubrics for the effective design of online and blended courses. QM sponsors a faculty-centered, peer review process to evaluate the design of such courses and recommend enhancements, and certifies courses that meet its standards, with a U.S. registered certification mark. For more information about MERLOT-QM collaboration, visit


OER Africa/SAIDE Now Working with MERLOT

virtualOER Africa/SAIDE and MERLOT will begin networking open educational resources and their communities to enable easy access to quality online teaching and learning materials.  The first activity will be leveraging MERLOT’s open digital library services to enable the easy discovery, organization, and community review of OER Africa materials.  OER Africa and MERLOT will collaborate on various technology, communications, and professional development projects to make it easier to adopt and blend OER from Africa and other sources from around the world.  For more information visit for OER Africa or for SAIDE.


MERLOT Welcomes the New Director of Educational Partnerships and Planning

Tim Tirrell, a key leader in the early days of MERLOT, enabling the Virginia Community College System to lead the way on many uses of MERLOT, and later, Montana State University, Billings, is joining the MERLOT Management Team as Director of Educational Partnerships and Planning.  Tim will be helping MERLOT expand its partnerships with higher education institutions, and will lead the partnership with Quality Matters.  Tim brings a wealth of expertise in both MERLOT and QM to the table.  Welcome Tim! 


JOLT - Journal of Online Learning and Teaching - Reviewers Needed

JOLTIn response to increases in the volume of received manuscript submissions, the MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (JOLT) at is seeking qualified individuals to join its panel of reviewers.
All manuscripts submitted to JOLT are reviewed by the Editor or Associate Editor before they are sent out for peer review. Those that pass the preliminary assessment are assigned to a minimum of two reviewers. The Editors collate reviewers' feedback and render a final decision. JOLT strives to advise authors on the disposition of their manuscripts 6-8 weeks from the date of submission.

Individuals interested in serving as reviewers should complete the form at:  Prospective reviewers should have an advanced degree (e.g., Ph.D.) and/or have a strong publication record in online education, learning technology, or higher education teaching and learning. Previous scholarly journal review experience is preferred but not essential. Anyone who has completed a review in the past year will be acknowledged by having their names listed on the JOLT website.

Questions about JOLT should be directed to editors:  Mark J. W. Lee, JOLT Editor,, or Keith D. Sisson JOLT Associate Editor University of Memphis,


Want to become a MERLOT Peer Reviewer?

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 next GRAPE Camp session is, June - Wednesdays (1, 8, 15) at 3PM Eastern/Noon Pacific. Learn more and register at  Please encourage your colleagues to participate as well.




line features

MELO3D at the University of Michigan

MELO3D celebrates its 3rd year. With staff, faculty, and graduate students from 7 disciplines (chemistry, history, mathematics, physics, romance languages, statistics, and writing), focuses on quality teaching with technology, and integration of online learning objects into academic gateway courses.
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This year there has been a shift in focus from technology development and integration of online learning objects to assessment of the impact of technology infusion on student learning, and on open educational resources. Approximately 15,000 students per academic year are exposed to innovative technology-infused courses for enhanced learning impact.  Graduate student collaborators receive faculty training and awards for authored online learning objects. Faculty collaborators receive awards for teaching and technology-infusion innovations. MELO3D members will attend the MERLOT Sloan C Emerging Technologies Conference and share one or more presentations. You can also check out their blog at


JOLT Article Recognized

image 2MERLOT JOLT (Journal of Online Learning and Teaching), was recently mentioned in a Science article, volume 335, Issue (6071, of Feb. 24, 2012).   Seven articles were recognized as Editors’ Choices including - “Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of a Grading Rubric for Online Discussions” published in JOLT Vol. 7, No. 4, December 2011.



Sloan-C Webinars and Workshops

sloan webinarsDuring 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. View the archived sessions of some of the webinars at:



tech update

What's New in MERLOT?

  • Visit our new MERLOT Mobile Learning Portal with tools, resources, and ideas to help you develop, discover, and/or use mobile computing in your teaching and learning. The URL is
  • Open textbooks accessibility reviews for 90+ textbooks have been added to MERLOT.
  • MERLOT Federated Search libraries now include more than 20 digital libraries.
  • MERLOT has integrated an accessibility review form for each material in our collection. Submitters can specify if there is accessibility information available; if so, they are provided a 14-point form regarding different, related accessibility matters.
  • Members can now select more than one discipline to identify their interests on their profile page, including a primary discipline. 
  • MERLOT Content Builder 2.0, our easy-to-use web page development tool has been released. This release provides registered MERLOT users with a set of folders for each user-created Content Builder website; ability to download a website, gallery or collection in Common Cartridge format; ability to add header tags in the TinyMCE editor; breadcrumb navigation; and a help guide describing new changes in Content Builder.  For more information visit
  • The MERLOT Development Team recently released the JOLT Manuscript Management System (JOLT MMS) – an online system for managing the entire manuscript submission, review process for manuscripts submitted to the MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching.  

For more information contact Barbra Bied Sperling, Manager of Technical Development ( or the MERLOT Webmaster at


**Notice to MERLOT and Content Builder Community**

If you are a MERLOT Content Builder user and your account has been inactive since December 31, 2010, you should have received the following email:

Dear MERLOT Content Builder Account Holder

Please be advised that MERLOT has been closely monitoring its Content Builder usage and your Content Builder materials have not been accessed since December, 2010.  In order for us to maximize the use of our resources we intend to delete all your Content Builder materials on June 15, 2012 unless you meet one of the following conditions:  1) you access your material via your MERLOT account, or 2) you request, via email (  that we retain your materials. Again, this must be done by June 15th.  Please note that your MERLOT membership account will be unaffected by this action.

- MERLOT Webmaster

After June 15 we will closely monitor disk usage to ascertain whether or not our resources are being disproportionately utilized, and if necessary, devise new policies regarding Content Builder usage of MERLOT resources.


MERLOT will be Down for Maintenance

On Thursday, May 31st, MERLOT will be down for scheduled maintenance and server upgrades, from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM PDT. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Please direct questions to the MERLOT Webmaster -


MERLOT on Facebook and Twitter

MERLOT has a Facebook pagefacebook and we'd love for you to "Like Us." You can also visit our Twitter page and receive our posts. To get our Tweets, follow us on Twitter at http//  twitter


Teaching Digital Fluency with MERLOT Content Builder and Scratch

MERLOT recently made changes to the MERLOT Content Builder to enable developers to embed Scratch objects into a CB-created  web page or website  Scratch, released in 2007 by MIT, is a free and easy-to-use, yet powerful multimedia object authoring tool.  With our new MERLOT changes, you can create quality multi platform and multimedia educational resources at little or no cost, and embed them in Content Builder instructional websites.  For example, an instructor created a website for each of his weekly classes, then created a "main" website using MERLOT Content Builder to link all the other websites - the electronic equivalent of posting students’ work on a “wall.”  He then created a QRCode of the final page, allowing viewers to access the work from their Smartphones. 


Dear Webmaster, how do you say MERLOT in French?

Dear MERLOT Webmaster,

I love using the MERLOT site, however I have students whose first language is not English. They have a hard time finding materials or reading the descriptions on the site. Is there anything they can do to locate materials in French, or read the site in a different language?

Thank you,
Lost in Translation

Dear Lost,

What a great question! As a matter of fact, MERLOT web pages can be translated into many different languages. Using Microsoft Translator, MERLOT web pages can be translated into 37 different languages. Simply go to the bottom of any page on and click on the drop down to select a different language; then click the arrow to the right. When you are finished viewing in that language, click the arrow again and the view will switch back to "original."

Additionally, you can view materials only in your preferred language when searching or browsing the website. To set this option, go to your profile page, and on the right side of the page is the box, "Preferred Language for Searches." Select the language of the materials you want to see. Remember, this is different than translating web pages into a different language. This preference is for viewing materials in a specific language. So, for example, if you only want to find learning objects that were written in Spanish, select Spanish on your profile. If you want to see all the materials MERLOT has to offer, leave this option as ANY.

For more information on language translation in MERLOT, go to

-MERLOT Webmaster


Volunteers Needed for Research Study

Doctoral candidate Allyson Heisey at Capella University is seeking disabled adult volunteers who teach online, to participate in a research study. The purpose of the study is to enhance and extend the understanding of teleworking by examining the work/life balance of online instructors who have a disability. Participation in this study could help improve and/or enhance the current understanding of teleworking as a technology that can provide reasonable accommodation for disabled persons. The study involves a 20-30 minute anonymous interview about experiences as an online instructor with a disability. If you are interested in participating contact Allyson at



Upcoming Events

 Cornell’s “Flip the Switch” Workshop

An intimate, hands-on workshop, which will take place June 1, 2012, in Philadelphia. It will describe how to use cell phones and other devices to intrigue and engage students, deploy digital video to renew attention spans, and implement innovative "apps" to engage the YouTube generation.  Visit Flip the Switch workshop at

New OCL4Ed Course: Celebrating 10 years of OER with UNESCO

2012 is a significant year for open education and OER.  In joining the global celebrations, the OER Foundation will host another free online training workshop on OERs, Copyright and Creative Commons licensing to coincide with the UNESCO World OER Congress in Paris - June 20 – July 3.  Registration is free and open for the course scheduled June, 2012.  For more information go to You can download a copy of the OCL4Ed Workshop poster here.

e/merge 2012 Call for Papers

e/mergee/merge 2012: Open to Change, July 9 -20 focuses on how the use of educational technology in African universities is responding to changes in the environment experienced by university management, educational technologists, educators and students. Proposals relating to emerging practices in educational technology use globally, and to the effective use of educational technology in primary and secondary education in Africa and other regions are welcome.


AAEEBLAAEEBL Third Annual Conference, co-sponsored by MERLOT

The Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL), a MERLOT partner, in Boston, July 16-19 at the Seaport World Trade Center.  For the first time, AAEEBL announces that MERLOT will be a conference co-sponsor. Visit


Quality Matters 4th Annual Conference with MERLOT GRAPE Camp

QMQuality Matters’ 4th Annual Conference on Quality Assurance in Online Learning - October 3-6, 2012 at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, AZ.  October 3rd -  pre-conference workshops; the conference runs October 4 - 6.  MERLOT will be conducting a full day face-to-face GRAPE Camp for Quality Matters members on October 3.  Find out more here.

sloan18th Annual Sloan Consortium International Conference on Online Learning

With a theme - “At A Crossroads: Online Education in a Complex World,” the 18th Annual Sloan Consortium International Conference on Online Learning - October 10-12 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  The Call for Presentations has been extended until June 4th. For more information, go to



The Numbers

Who Uses MERLOT?

As of April 30, 2012 here is what is in the MERLOT collection:

  • Learning Materials – 34,300
  • Peer Reviews – 3,587
  • Member Comments – 9,411
  • Personal Collections – 20,694
  • Learning Exercises – 1,429

How many people have visited MERLOT so far in 2012? 311,833

What top 10 countries visited MERLOT the most in 2011?

1. United States

6. India 

2. Israel

7. Australia 

3. Canada

8. Chile

4. Philippines

9. Mexico

5. United Kingdom

10. Spain




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