Issue No. 30, Winter 2014

news features tech stuff upcoming events the numbers



Conference Preview Scheduled --Early Bird Registration Deadline February 10, 2014

Live Preview of the Sloan-C/MERLOT Emerging Technologies for Online Learning International Symposium (April 9-11, 2014, Dallas)

On January 21st at 4:00 PM Eastern Time you can learn more about the ET4OL conference. Join this free webinar to learn about both our onsite and virtual options for this conference.
Early bird pricing for the conference ends February 10th. You can register for the conference now at:

January 21: Free Live Preview Webinar. Get a preview of the onsite and virtual programs for the event.
January 31: Launch Pad for Ed Tech start-ups: Showcase your company at the conference at a significant discount and gain access to potential future customers! Apply here.
February 10: Early Bird Registration - save $50!
Full Program is now posted.

Keynote: Jim Groom (University of Mary Washington, USA): "Reclaim Learning: A Domain of One's Own."

Make your hotel reservations as soon as possible!

MERLOT and Social Media

This past year we at MERLOT have increased our social media efforts in order to better connect with our members and provide multiple sources for quick updates and information. Thanks to your “Likes,” “Follows,” and support, we have more than doubled our numbers of followers and interactions on Facebook and Twitter. Our social media channels are here to support your learning and teaching needs, so feel free to reach out with questions, comments, or suggestions, and also to let us know about your accomplishments. We are happy to retweet information or post about relevant education technology events/conferences. Feel free to email to get in touch with our Social Media Coordinator.

One of our goals for 2014 is to continue to grow our social media presence, get the word out about the resources MERLOT has to offer and attract new members to join our MERLOT family. If you are a social media user and would like to help, there are a few easy ways you can help spread the word:

  • If you’ve added a new material to the collection or contributed to a peer review, why not write a quick post about it and let your friends and colleagues know about a great resource?
  • What are your thoughts on the importance of peer reviewed learning materials? Share your view with your social media followers to show people why MERLOT is valuable for teachers and students.
  • Will you be attending a MERLOT presentation or workshop? Please tweet quotes and information you learn, so we have an idea of what you find most interesting and helpful.
  • Just read a fascinating JOLT article or a really great post on the new MERLOT Blog? Please share. J
  • Join the LinkedIn group and network with colleagues in the education technology field.
  • Help us promote the Emerging Technologies for Online Learning Conference. Tag posts about the conference with the hashtag #et4online.

We thank you so much for all your support, and please do not hesitate to get in touch on social media. See you in the Twitterverse! …….Natalia Kochan



MERLOT now has a blog at Our blog was created to provide commentaries on contemporary issues written by MERLOT staff and invited contributors. Our current post discusses “open” educational resources.  Check out our current post.

Please have a look at our blog and feel free to join the discussion. There will be new posts on a regular basis.  If you have any suggestions about topics you’d like us to address, please email me ( 



JOLT – the Journal of Online Learning and Teaching

 Vol. 9, No. 3 of the MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (JOLT at has been published and is available online. The contents of the issue are listed below. In this issue you will find 12 research papers and case studies.

RSS JOLT now has an RSS feed so that one can be updated easily when an issue is published.  The RSS feed can be found at the bottom of the homepage.

Did you know that you can also search JOLT when you are doing research having to do with teaching and learning?  Just enter your search term in the box, and find JOLT articles that are related to your search.

JOLT also welcomes new reviewers. For more information about the journal and to view the Guideline for Authors, visit



Peer Reviewer Extraordinaire Program 2014

The Peer Reviewer Extraordinaire Program for 2014 is underway. Thirty-six MERLOT reviewers from 11 editorial boards are participating in the program which offers free registration at the ET4OL conference for reviewers who complete 15 reviews approved by their editor between April 2, 2013 and March 31, 2014. The program is a way of honoring those reviewers whose contributions go above and beyond. The Peer Reviewers Extraordinaire will receive their awards at the ET4OL Conference in Dallas in April, 2014.

Congratulations to Rizalia Klausmeyer of the Chemistry Board who won the December Reviewer Incentive award--a $50 Amazon gift card. One hundred fifty-five reviews were completed in December 2013 by MERLOT peer reviewers.


MERLOT GRAPE Camp Winter/Spring 2014 Schedule

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.

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.

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:

  • January - Tuesdays (14, 21, 28) at 11 AM Eastern/8 AM Pacific
  • February - Wednesdays (5, 12, 19) at 5 PM Eastern/2 PM Pacific
  • March - Tuesdays (4, 11, 18) at 11 AM Eastern/8 AM Pacific
  • April - Mondays (March 31, April 7, 14) at 5 PM Eastern/2 PM Pacific
  • May - Wednesdays (7, 14, 21) 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.



Affordable Learning Solutions

The Affordable Learning Solutions Initiative continues to expand.  With the CSU leading the way,   the University System of Georgia, the Tennessee Board of Regents, and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education are leveraging the CSU initiative and  developing their own flavors of AL$.



line features

Updates on the MERLOT Community

Commonwealth of Learning Conference

MERLOT editorial board members John Okewole (Information Technology), Irene Knokh John Okewole(Editor, Information Technology), Laura Franklin (Editor, World Languages), Mustapha Diack (Faculty Development) and Angela Gunder (Teacher Education) participated in a workshop “Let’s Get Refreshed with MERLOT” at the Commonwealth of Learning Conference PCF7 in session at Abuja on Thursday December 5, 2013. Their paper can be accessed at

Congratulations on a wonderful example of MERLOT’s International presence!

You can find a link to the follow-up webinar at:


Biology Co-Editor Highlights MERLOT

Biology students at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) are learning how to use MERLOT for enriching their educational experience in plant science and medical-related fields. Pictured here are Tiffany Hall, Brittany Hall, Dr. Jim Bidlack (MERLOT Biology Co-Editor), and Serigne Bop, who are using MERLOT to locate and use learning objects. They are also helping Dr. Bidlack submit new sites to MERLOT. Brittany and Serigne are currently enrolled in a special course at UCO to receive college credit for their work with MERLOT.


Fall 2014 GRAPE Camp Graduates

Congratulations to the following GRAPE Camp graduates:

 Name Institution Board
 Sabah Ahmad Texas A & M Commerce Faculty Development
Shauna McCown Texas A & M Commerce Teacher Education
 Harsha Sharma Nebraska Methodist Biology
 Christopher Watts Texas Christian Communications
 Michelle Webb Texas A & M Commerce World Languages
 Angelica Gonzalez Texas A & M Commerce Faculty Development
 Brenda Perea Colorado Community Colleges Business
Ram Rangarajan Cleveland State Information Technology
Cason Smith Texas A & M Commerce English
Laurie Borchard California State - Northbridge Library
Paul Glassman Felician College Library
Jane Harris UNC-Greensboro Faculty Development
Kimberly Miller Townson University Library
Tameka Mills Goose Creek CISD Business


New Partner in the MERLOT Community

MERLOT welcomes Learningpod:

Learningpod makes learning accessible and efficient through the power of questions. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kaplan, and it is dedicated to making it easy for educators to utilize their free library of over 40,000 questions as means to teach and learn more efficiently.

The company has an added focus on supporting open educational resources, specifically open textbooks, by utilizing its question platform to serve the adopters of these resources. Through ongoing work with well-respected organizations in the field, Learningpod is building companion workbooks that users can access alongside textbooks for in-and-out-of-class support.

MERLOT and Learningpod will be collaborating on building the collection of open textbooks and question-banks that will make it easier for faculty to adopt/adapt and sustain the use of open textbooks.   Remember that MERLOTx ( is a student-centered portal for the free educational resources, including over 2,900 free etextbooks.



tech update

What's new in MERLOT?

MERLOT Technology

Description: C:\Users\bsperling\Documents\MERLOT Files main\2013 MERLOT\Images\home final images\home_placement_reference.jpgThe MERLOT Development team has been busy since the release of MERLOT II, maintaining the new site and continuing to make improvements.  If you haven’t taken a look yet, we hope that you will and that you find yourself pleasantly surprised by the makeover.


Description: C:\Users\bsperling\Documents\MERLOT Files main\2013 MERLOT\Images\minihelphome.pngRemember that in addition to the new UI, we have added a help section that we hope will make it easier for user when they have trouble on the site.  The help link is located in the upper right corner of every MERLOT page.   

Another interesting fact about MERLOT – want to know the latest that’s been added to the collection?  Go to our What’s New page at and see what new materials are available. 


Lastly, you can always subscribe to any of our over 75 RSS feeds at

For questions or more informaton on MERLOT technology, contact the MERLOT Webmaster at 


MERLOT and Social Media

MERLOT has a Facebook pagefacebook and we'd love for you to "Like Us."

You can also follow our Tweets on Twitter at http// twitter

MERLOT also has a Linkedin account. Make sure you join us and network with other MERLOT Users.




Upcoming Events

Sloan-C International Blended Learning Conference

Call for Proposals

Blended Learning: Pathways to Student Success
July 8-9, 2014 - Sheraton Denver Downtown - Denver, Colorado


The Sloan Consortium invites you to submit a proposal for the 11th Annual Sloan Consortium Blended Learning Conference and Workshop, to be held July 8-9, 2014 at the Sheraton Denver Downtown in Denver, Colorado.

This year’s Blended Learning Conference & Workshop Tracks are meant to incorporate three major cross-cutting themes in blended education: 1) best practices, 2) research and evaluation, and, 3) innovation and experimentation. Proposals focusing on blended learning research (including research design, methods, and/or results) are strongly encouraged in each of the four tracks listed below.

• Blended Models and Course Design
• Faculty Development & Student Support
• Institutional Leadership and Strategy
• Teaching & Learning Effectiveness

Deadline to submit is February 10, 2014.


Open Education Week – March 10-15, 2014

Description: OCWC 2014

LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA, April 23 - 25, 2014

OCWC Global Conference - Open Education for a Multicultural World

The OCW Consortium global conference is the annual opportunity for researchers, practitioners, policy makers and educators to deeply explore open education and its impact on global education. Conference participants will hear from global thought leaders in open education and have the opportunity to share ideas and practices, and discuss issues important to the future of education worldwide. Sessions cover new developments in open education, research results, innovative technology, policy implementation, best practices and practical solutions to challenges facing education around the world.


Quality Matters Conference

Save the Date! September 29 - October 1, 2014

The Quality Matters annual conference will be held September 29 - October 1, 2014 at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace. Monday, September 29 is a day of pre-conference workshops. There areseveral new workshop offerings this year. The conference begins with a welcome reception. Conference sessions begin 8 a.m. Tuesday, September 30th and conclude Wednesday, October 1st.




The Numbers

Who Uses MERLOT?

At the end of 2013, the MERLOT collection looked like this:
Learning Materials – 43,231
MERLOT Members – 118,463
Materials with an Editor Review – 17,341
Member Comments – 11,648
Personal Collections – 19,648
Learning Exercises – 1,454

How many searches were done using our web services in 2013?
- Basic Searches: 165,434
- Advanced Searches: 182,908

How many people visited MERLOT in 2013?  720,488

How many page views were viewed in 2013? 4,412,702

The top 10 countries that visited MERLOT in 2013:
1. United States
2. Philippines
3. Canada
4. United Kingdom
5. India
6. Chile
7. Israel
8. Australia
9. Mexico
10. Brazil





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