Issue No. 24, Winter 2012

news features tech stuff upcoming events the numbers



Call for Proposals for 2012 Emerging Technology Conference

The Call for Proposals for the 2012 Emerging Technologies conference is now open and can be accessed here. The new mission statement for the conference is, “A conference devoted to the emerging and innovative uses of technology designed to improve teaching and learning online.” 

The due date for proposals (submitted online) is March 5.  For more information visit Conference Overview


Open Education Week - March 5-12, 2012

MERLOT, one of many OER-related organizations, is participating in Open Education Week which seeks to raise awareness about the benefits of free and open sharing in education with Open Educational Resources (OER). Find out more about Open Education Week at


MERLOT Offers Workshop during Open Education Week

coIn support of Open Education Week, MERLOT will host a day and a half workshop on developing Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$).  The workshop will help participants draft plans for their own initiatives to reduce the costs of course materials using free/low-cost content from MERLOT, other OER communities, libraries, faculty authors, and publishers. The workshop will be March 6-7, 2012 at the California State University Office of the Chancellor in Long Beach, California. Visit for more information.


March 6, 2012
8 AM -12 Noon:          MERLOT Leadership Council (with virtual meeting participation)
1:30 PM-5:00 PM:       Plenary and concurrent sessions on designing your AL$

March 7, 2012
8:00 AM -12 Noon       Concurrent sessions on designing your AL$ initiative
1:00 PM -3:30 PM       Panel and Closing Session

A virtual session will also be presented using MERLOT Voices and Blackboard Collaborate on March 8th. 


MERLOT New Technology

  • MERLOT has integrated an Accessibility review form for each material in the collection. Submitters can specify if there is accessibility information available; they are then provided a 14-point form regarding different, related accessibility matters.
  • Accessibility reviews for 90+ textbooks have been added to MERLOT.
  • A Facebook like button and Google +1 option have been added for each material.
  • A text editor and additional fields have been added for Personal Collections to allow for additional levels of detail and value for Personal Collections.
  • New subject categories, Digital Citizenship and Career Counseling and Services, have been added to categorize materials. For a complete list of subject categories in MERLOT, go to
  • Florida Orange Grove was added to the Federated Search. The MERLOT Federated Search allows a user to search over 20+ digital libraries at one time.
  • Members can select more than one discipline to identify their interests on their profile page, and they can indicate their primary discipline. 
  • Technical format options for contributing materials to MERLOT were added to include Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.
  • The "Report Broken Link" link now includes an option for users to add a new link, if one is known. 
  • MERLOT Content Builder 2.0, our easy-to-use webpage development tool, has been released. This release provides 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 and also see "From the Webmaster" below, in this issue of the Grapevine.

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


MERLOT on Facebook and Twitter

facebooknewMERLOT now has a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Please visit the MERLOT page and “Like” us. 

twitter2 To get our Tweets, follow us on Twitter at  There are currently over 600 MERLOT Followers on Twitter.


MERLOT Editor Publishes Book

sewellJeanne Sewell, Editor of Health Sciences Editorial Board, just published the 4th revision of her textbook, Informatics and Nursing.  The book has been updated to include information on mobile computing. Other updates include meaningful use, the HITECH Act, data security, disaster recovery, and more about HIPAA.  




line features

MERLOT Welcomes new JOLT Editor

MarkJWLee_PhotoMark J. W. Lee has been appointed Editor of the MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (JOLT). Based in Australia, Mark holds concurrent Adjunct Senior Lecturer appointments with the School of Education at Charles Sturt University and with the Distance Education Hub (DEHub) research institute at the University of New England. He is an Honorary Research Fellow in Information Technology (IT) and Mathematical Sciences with the University of Ballarat and operates his own consultancy business, Enable Learning Solutions.

Mark assumes the role of JOLT Editor having served on the journal’s Editorial Board since early 2007. He brings to the role experience as the founding Editor of another online, open-access journal titled Impact: Journal of Applied Research in Workplace E-learning. Mark is an Associate Editor of both the IEEE Transactions on Education and the International Journal of Games and Computer-Mediated Simulations, a Consulting Editor for Educational Technology Research & Development, and serves on the editorial boards of 15 other refereed international journals.

Mark’s vision for JOLT is for it to be the world’s foremost online scholarly publication in the field of Internet-mediated learning and teaching, serving as an exemplar of successful open-access scholarly publishing on which other journals strive to model their operations.

JOLT - December 2011 Issue Available Online

JOLTThe December 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.  Articles can be viewed in two formats:  HTML and PDF.  Consider submitting one of your manuscripts to JOLT, or become a JOLT Peer Reviewer by sending an email to:


MERLOT's 100,000th Member

In December, MERLOT reached the 100,000th Member mark.  In ten years (December 2001 to December 2011) MERLOT grew from 5,951 Members to the year-end total of 100,428. 


Northern Michigan University’s Active Learning Catalysts Project

nmuNorthern Michigan University’s Active Learning Catalysts project is gearing up for the first semester of courses in NMU’s recently completed high tech active learning classroom.  The project is supported by an NSF TUES grant titled Increasing Adoption of Active Learning in STEM Disciplines by Integrating a Faculty Development Program and a Technology-facilitated Learning Environment.  The goal of the project is to increase the adoption of technology-enhanced active learning in classes taught by science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) faculty. Principal Investigators, Dr. Jill Leonard (Biology) and Dr. J.D. Phillips (Math and Computer Science), are leading a cohort of focal point faculty from six STEM disciplines.

The project will utilize MERLOT both as a source for active learning resources and as a collaboration tool for sharing project information and deliverables.  Project team members are using a MERLOT Voices community; the NMU Active Learning Catalysts Teaching Commons is in development and will go live within the next few months.  For more information contact Matt Smock at


What's this about Badges?

MERLOTbadgesYou may have heard about the new movement towards “badges” to recognize skills and competencies. MERLOT will identify specific competencies that would be demonstrated to achieve a variety of badge types. For information visit, Why Badges?, MozillaWiki Badges, and The Chronicle Article on Badges. You can also join the new MERLOT Voices group -- What About these Badges? and share your opinions.





tech update

Wow! The Content Builder sure looks different!

Dear MERLOT Webmaster,

I was off for a few weeks for winter break and when I came back and opened the MERLOT Content Builder, it sure looked different. Why the change? 

Thank you,

Surprised but happy 

Dear Surprised but happy,

I am glad you are happy about the changes you see to the Content Builder. Just a little background: The MERLOT Content Builder was the Carnegie KEEP Toolkit which MERLOT inherited, changed, and released in November 2009. This new release, at the end of 2011, is the first major release since then.

cb homeCB now has an improved interface that allows instructors to more easily manage, organize, and navigate through their authored web material.  But don't worry, the new version supports all previously developed CB materials.

Users can develop web pages in many ways, including using library templates for e-portfolios, lesson plans, pedagogical analysis, student reflection, online courses, tutorials, presentations, and others.  Examples can be seen at MERLOT Effective Uses of the MERLOT Content Builder Tool  (created using the new CB).  There is also a new version of the Quick Start Guide to help you get familiar with CB. 

With the MERLOT Content Builder, you can:

  • Easily create instructional web pages and websites.
  • Download IMS-certified Common Cartridge formats of the web pages and websites you buildin Content Builder for use in applications that support the Common Cartridge format.
  • Add a Creative Commons license to web pages and websites created with CB.
  • Contribute web pages and websites directly to the MERLOT repository.

To learn more, visit our information page or contact the MERLOT Webmaster at



Upcoming Events

Annual Sloan-C Blended Learning Conference

sloan_logoThe Sloan-C Blended Learning Conference - April 23-24, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  David Wiley will be the keynote speaker.  Learn more at


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.  For the first time, in 2012, AAEEBL is proud to announce that MERLOT will be a co-sponsor of this conference. Vist

Cornell’s “Flip the Switch” Workshop, June 1, 2012, Philadelphia, PA

An intimate, hands-on workshop describes how to make use of 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


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:



The Numbers

Who Uses MERLOT?


As of December 31, 2011, here is what is in the MERLOT collection:

  • Learning Materials – 32,046
  • Peer Reviews – 3,493
  • Member Comments – 8,970
  • Personal Collections – 20,045
  • Learning Exercises – 1,427

How many people visited MERLOT in 2011? 903,844 visitors to

How many page views were there in 2011? 5,318,275 Page views which is an average of 6 pages per visit

What were the top 10 countries to visit MERLOT in 2011?

1. USA

6.  India

2. Canada

7.  Australia

3. Philippines

8.  Chile

4. Israel

9.  Mexico

5. UK

10.  Malaysia




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