Issue No. 32, Fall 2014

news features tech stuff upcoming events the numbers



Emerging Technologies for Online Learning 2015 Conference

The Online Learning Consortium/MERLOT Emerging Technologies for Online Learning International Symposium will be held on April 22-24 at the Sheraton Downtown Hotel in Dallas, Texas. The Call for Proposals is open until December 1, 2014. There will not be any extension on the deadline. MERLOT members are encouraged to submit proposals in the six tracks that are available:

  • Organization, Leadership, and Challenges for Innovation
  • Learning Environments and Frameworks
  • Open and Collaborative Education
  • Evidence-based Learning and Assessment
  • Effective Teaching and Learning Pedagogy
  • Technology Test Kitchen

The Technology Test Kitchen is unique from other program tracks at the #et4online this year. The expectation for "test kitchen" is to create a space at the conference for hands-on, focused, and practical applications of emerging technologies. The Test Kitchen station will feature expert "chefs" who will guide attendees, showcasing applications and tools for innovative, digital education. If your proposal is accepted for this track, you will demo at least three tools (15-20 minute demonstrations). The Technology Test Kitchen space will be similar to a learning lab, where conference participatnts will take advantage of the "bring your own device" (BYOD) format.

We are still recruiting reviewers for the conference. If you would like to participate, reviewer training is scheduled for November 20 at 3 pm Eastern. Reviewing will occur from December 4 through January 7. If you are interested in participating, please contact Jane Moore before November 15.

We encourage you to participate in the conference, either in person or online. You can find futher information on the call for proposals here. MERLOT reviewers have the opportunity to earn free conference registration by completing 15 or more peer reviews by March 31, 2014. See the article below on the Peer Reviewer Extraordinaire program.


MERLOT Peer Reviewer Extraordinaire 2014-2015

MERLOT peer reviewers have the opportunity to earn free registration at the ET4OL conference in Dallas, April 22-24, 2015. In order to qualify, reviewers must submit an application by November 30 to Jane Moore ( The Peer Reviewer Extraordinaire designation is given to reviewers who complete a minimum of 15 peer reviews between April 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015. Reviewers receive recognition at the MERLOT Leadership meeting and at the Awards Luncheon, both on April 23 at the Dallas Conference. For those unable to attend in person, Peer Reviewers Extraordinaire can obtain virtual registration for the conference. If you have not received a registration form, please contact Jane Moore or your editor.


MERLOT and Quality Matters

Quality Matters  (QM) and MERLOT have a rich history going back to February 2012 when a memorandum of understanding was created calling for the shared support  of teaching and learning through expanding the quantity and increasing the quality of online learning materials , courses and services.  During the summer of 2014, the call went out for a small dedicated team of QM’s Certified Peer Reviewers to volunteer for a special project to enhance the value of open educational resources (OER).The goal was to review and provide feedback on ways to improve the quality of OER courses as well as provide an opportunity for QM-Certified Peer Reviewers to serve on a course review and gain valuable hands-on reviewing experience.

QM is working with MERLOT to provide QM reviews of open courseware (free and open online courses) in the MERLOT repository. QM-Certified Reviewers used the QM Higher Education Rubric, Fifth Edition, 2014 and the online tools in the QM Course Review Management System (CRMS) to conduct the reviews. Review teams consist of a Master Reviewer and a second reviewer. These courses will not receive QM course certification but the final report will support all potential and future adopters of the course. The specific feedback provided by the reviewers will be shared in the MERLOT repository to guide faculty who may use all or part of the course. This feedback can be used as a roadmap for institutions seeking to gain QM certification of these courses in the future. The contributions of the reviewers will be acknowledged by MERLOT and QM on their respective websites.

The initial 20 courses were reviewed and the results will be published with the courses. The project was featured in a presentation at the Quality Matters conference in Baltimore earlier this month. Currently, QM and MERLOT representatives are working to develop the best method of sharing the reviews on the MERLOT website. If you are interested in participating in future OER course reviews in this joint project you can contact David Curtis, QM’s Master Reviewer Mentor at

About Quality Matters

QM is an international organization representing broad inter-institutional collaboration and a shared understanding of online course quality. QM's quality assurance processes have been developed to improve and certify the design of online and blended courses. Academic, government, and education-related organizations use the tools in developing, maintaining and reviewing their online courses and in training their faculty. Additional information is available at

MERLOT at the Illinois Art Education Association Conference

MERLOT quiltMERLOT was invited to be an exhibitor at the Illinois Art Association Conference in Lisle, IL in early November. Over 520 Illinois art educators attended the annual conference. MERLOT's booth featured a quilt with the MERLOT logo and offered educators three sites developed by the Teacher Education Editorial board, designed for art educators. You can access these sites which include lesson plans, materials for students, materials for educators and information on how to use these materials in an art education classroom at:, and The sites were created using the Content Builder in MERLOT.


MERLOT and OER Cancer India

MERLOT is involved in a humanitarian effort in India by providing open education resources on cancer. MERLOT leadership maintains a website, OERC India at Gerry Hanley, the Executive Director of MERLOT and Jeanne Sewell, Editor of the Health Sciences Editorial Board serve on the OERC India Executive Steering Committee. The steering committee is chaired by Dr. Madhavan Pillai who is currently Chairman of the Aster Medcity Oncology Center of Excellence, in Kochi, India. Other steering committee members include Dr. Ian McGrath, the INCTR President of International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research (INCTR), as well as cancer and education specialists.

OERC India provide high quality educational materials selected by and for Indian cancer care providers. Health care providers can access the OERC educational resources where there is Internet access from computers, smartphones and tablets. About 85% of people worldwide live in low- and middle-income countries where cancer accounts for 65% of the deaths. The limited cancer resources in areas of India make it difficult for the population to act upon preventative care, early diagnosis, and palliative care. The incidence of cancer in India for men is 106-130 per 100,000 and for women is 100-140. That figure is anticipated to increase by seven-fold by 2025. The ratio of patients to oncologists in India is 1,600 to 1 as compared to 100 to 1 in the United States.

by Jeanne Sewell




line features

Update on the MERLOT Community

by Gerry Hanley

Once again, the 2014-15 academic year has great promise for the MERLOT community.  MERLOT continues to expand its services for our higher education partners through the Affordable Learning Solutions strategy launched by the Cal State University system and MERLOT.  The State of California’s “California Open Online Library for Education” (see  to reduce the cost of instructional materials for students in the California Community Colleges system, the CSU system, and the University of California system is powered by MERLOT.  Other state higher education systems, such as the University System of Georgia, State University of New York System, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, and the Tennessee Board of Regents have each adopted/adapted MERLOT’s open educational services to provide faculty and students easy and free access to quality learning materials at no cost to students. With our institutional partners, MERLOT is helping students save millions of dollars. 

Workforce Development will be a major initiative for MERLOT and the Cal State University through its recent cooperative agreement with the US Department of Labor on the TAACCCT program (Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training;   The program has provided significant funding to a wide range of community colleges and consortiums across the US to develop Open Educational Resources for high priority workforce development programs; all the instructional materials being created by the TAACCCT grantees will have a Creative Commons CCBY license.  The Cal State University is delivering a digital repository service for the many TAACCCT grantees and we will be leveraging the MERLOT services to enable easy discovery, review, and adoption of the open educational resources. 

Partnerships will continue to be a strategy that we are pursuing to strengthen the community of members and the collection of resources.   MERLOT’s new partnership with the Heroic Imagination Project ( will support people around the world learning how to avoid being a “bystander” when action is needed to make the world a better place for others.   International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research (INCTR), Global Health Dynamics (GDH) and MERLOT (the Multimedia Education Resources for Learning and Online Teaching) signed an agreement whereby the three organizations will work closely together to increase the volume of high quality educational materials in the field of cancer will be made accessible via MERLOT and MERLOT’s “Teaching Commons” for Open Educational Resources for Cancer ( All of the articles published in INCTR's annual journal, published by GDH will be made available through MERLOT shortly after publication, as well as via

Affordable Learning Georgia is funding and supporting efforts to replace commercial learning materials with no-cost-to-student alternatives, with a focus on the Top 50-enrolled USG lower-division Core Curriculum courses.

The following list includes the top 50 USG lower-division courses as determined by the USG total enrollments for the 2013-2014 academic year. Part II courses in a sequence are also included (even though lower enrollment than Top 50) due to potential overlap in learning materials. The suggested Open Educational Resources include those recommended/developed/adopted by ALG partners including OpenStax and eCore as well as related results from MERLOT. We encourage your recommendations as well through our Top 50 OER recommendation form.

The Affordable Learning Solutions page for Georgia can be found at

Peer Reviewer Incentives

Amazon gift card

In an effort to build the collection of Peer Reviews in MERLOT, we have offered a $50 gift card to a reviewer each month during the year.

Congratulations to Hwangli Lu, Ashford University from the Health Sciences editorial board who received the September award and James Kerr from the Ohio State University, on the Faculty Development editorial board who won the October award. Both chose Amazon gift cards. Each month a name will be drawn from the reviewers who complete individual and composite reviews that month.


GRAPE Camp 2014

To become a Peer Reviewer for MERLOT, individuals must be an instructor in an institution of higher education and have:

  • Expertise in the scholarship of their field
  • Excellence in teaching
  • Experience in using technology in teaching and learning, and
  • Connections to professional organizations in their discipline.

MERLOT has developed training for Peer Reviewers to ensure that they become familiar with MERLOT's Peer Review processes. MERLOT Management conducts GRAPE Camp (Getting Reviewers Accustomed to the Process of Evaluation) to train Peer Reviewers on a regular basis. GRAPE Camp consists of a series of three one-hour workshops online, one per week. 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
  • Introduce participants to 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. For information about GRAPE Camp, contact Cathy Swift.

GRAPE Camps are scheduled for 2014 in:

  • November - Wednesdays (5, 12, 19) at 5 PM Eastern, 2 PM Pacific
  • December - Tuesdays (2, 9, 16) at 11 AM Eastern, 8 AM Pacific

 To register for any one of these sessions or to sign up for asynchronous sessions, please complete the short form questionnaire.

If these times don't work for you, you can also participate asynchronously by completing the questionnaire above and indicating that you want to do it asynchronously.  You can also participate in the discussions about GRAPE Camp in MERLOT Voices.



tech update

What's new in MERLOT Technology?


My MERLOT pageWhat is My MERLOT? Have you noticed that whenever you are logged in to MERLOT, you see a tile on the home page called “My MERLOT?” Well MERLOT knows you as a member and wants to make sure you have the best experience on our site.  Clicking on the My MERLOT tile will take you to a personalized page. On the My MERLOT page, we provide you with the ability to find members in your discipline, members at your institution and even materials in your discipline (the discipline you specified on your profile). 

The My MERLOT page is also a place to view all of your MERLOT contributions – any materials you’ve authored or created with Content Builder, and any you’ve submitted, commented on, or added to a collection.  For more information, go to

And, if you are a peer reviewer in MERLOT, it’s a quick and easy way to access your workspace.  If you aren’t a peer reviewer and want more information, go to  

My MERLOT is a one-stop place to connect with your peers and other like-minded members and go straight to the materials most relevant to you. Log on, click on the My MERLOT tile on the home page and give it a try!

MERLOT Survey - Tell us what you think!

survey on home pageSince the release of MERLOT II last year, we have had many positive comments about the new design. If you have a few minutes, we'd appreciate hearing what you think of the website. From the MERLOT home page, click the SURVEY tab on the right side of the page to complete the survey.



Social Networking and MERLOT

facebook MERLOT has a Facebook page and we'd love for you to Like us!

twitter You can also follow us on Twitter.

linkedin MERLOT also has a LinkedIn group. We invite you to join us and network with other MERLOT Users.





Upcoming Events


Save the Date! June 14-17, 2015

The 2015 International Conference on Technology in Higher Education, sponsored by The Global Forum in collaboration with the Hassan II University in Casablanca, Morocco is scheduled for June 14-17, 2015in the city of Marrakech, Morocco. This international gathering brings together higher education faculty and administrators to discuss issues pertaining to the role of technology in teaching and learning.

For additional information, including the Call for Papers, please visit



The Numbers

Who Uses MERLOT?

Here is what is in the MERLOT Collection as of October 31, 2014:

Learning Materials – 46,903
MERLOT Members – 127,367
Materials with an Editor Review – 11,374

Materials with a Peer Review - 4,117
Member Comments – 11,926
Personal Collections – 20,191
Learning Exercises – 1,402

How many searches were done using our web services January 1-September 20, 2014?
- Basic Searches: 116,764
- Advanced Searches: 81,630

How many people visited MERLOT through the third quarter of 2014?  580,174

How many page views were viewed through the third quarter of 2014? 3,840,669

The top 10 countries that visited MERLOT in 2014:

1. United States

2. Chile

3. Phillippines

4. Canada

5. India

6. United Kingdom

7. Australia

8. Mexico

9. Israel

10. Brazil



-------- Information about The Grapevine --------

The Grapevine is a free service provided to all members of MERLOT who wish to receive it as well as to non-members who choose to subscribe. Links from previous issues of The Grapevine emails are not supported. You may access previous Grapevine news via the Archives navigation links on this page.

To Subscribe: If you have been forwarded this email newsletter and would like to subscribe to The Grapevine, you may do this 1) automatically by becoming a MERLOT member at or 2) without becoming a MERLOT member by sending a blank email to

To Unsubscribe: If you no longer wish to receive The Grapevine, send an email to If you are a MERLOT member, this will not delete your membership.

Join MERLOT.ORG: If you would like to join MERLOT.ORG to take advantage of our content and services, go to
Your input about The Grapevine: If you have comments, suggestions, or news items to contribute to The Grapevine, contact the MERLOT webmaster at
Information in The Grapevine regarding third parties, their products, and/or services is provided for your information. Since third parties provide the information to MERLOT and MERLOT relies on the information without performing any independent investigations, MERLOT makes no warranty or guarantee concerning the third party products or services.
© 2015 MERLOT.ORG. All rights reserved

Creative Commons License