Issue No. 34, Spring 2015

news features tech stuff upcoming events the numbers



Emerging Technologies for Online Learning 2015 Conference

8th Annual Emerging Technology For Online Learning International Symposium 2015

ET4OL was a huge success in Dallas.  Over 600 onsite attendees and 400+ virtual attendees were treated to keynote speakers,  Mimi Ito on Connected Learning; Bonnie Stewart speaking about issues that networked identities present in higher education, and Gardner Campbell on Thought Vectors in Concept Space.

The Technology Test Kitchen featured hands-on opportunities for exploring emerging technology with our TTK Chefs. Robbie Melton (right) engaged a huge crowd demonstrating her electronic “toys” during a Test Kitchen session. Virtual attendees this year had access to the Discovery Sessions through VoiceThread. A wrap-up of MERLOT awards can be found below.   Next year’s conference combines OLC’s Blended Conference with ET4OL—a joint project of MERLOT and OLC.  It will be called Innovate and will take place at the New Orleans Sheraton Hotel, April 20-22, 2016



Distinguished Service Award

Distinguished Service AwardThe Distinguished Service Award is reserved as MERLOT’s highest honor. The recipient of this award exemplifies the vision that brings MERLOT members together to create the MERLOT Community.  Individuals who receive this award have made many personal contributions to MERLOT and have demonstrated their dedication to MERLOT through serving as visionaries and leaders.  The recipients are selected by the previous winners with consultation from MERLOT management. 

Phil Moss is the 2015 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award.

Phil has been with MERLOT since 1999.  He was the Dean of Information Services and Distance Education at Western Oklahoma State College, Director of Instructional Technology for the Oklahoma State Regents Board, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the Oklahoma State Regents Board, and Director of Educational Partnerships and Planning for MERLOT. Phil retired in 2013.

Innovative Use of MERLOT Award

Innovative Use of MERLOT AwardThe Innovative Use of MERLOT award is given to an individual, department, or program that demonstrates novel, comprehensive, or creative usage and/or application of MERLOT materials and services. The winner of this award, selected by MERLOT Management was the University System of Georgia.  Accepting the award was Jeff Gallant, GALILEO Visiting Officer for OER on behalf of Merryll Penson, Project Director for the University System of Georgia.


Classics Awards

Eight editorial boards selected Classics Award Winners.  These materials were deemed to be exemplars in their fields.

Biology Classics AwardThe Biology Classics Award was presented to Anastasia Thanukos for Understanding Evolution. The site, in part, addresses in detail the potential problems teachers might encounter, including the many misconceptions about evolution. It explains why teaching evolution is essential, and suggests strategies to consider for avoiding and dealing with potential pitfalls. The level of detail and quality of suggestions are most impressive, and simply not a subject readily available anywhere else online. Any teacher who is the least
bit apprehensive, or reluctant to deal with evolution because of the perceived controversy, will find an abundance of practical support, encouragement, and ready-to-use materials here.

The Business Classics Award was awarded to Gayle Allard for Economic Policy Simulator.

This resource was named as a Business Classic because it helps students learn by actually doing. The students have the opportunity to determine how decisions they make can impact the economy. It is internationally relevant in today’s business environment.

The Chemistry Classics Award was awarded to Michael Imbeault for eScience News.

This is a beautiful open journal of science. It has sections on astronomy, biology, environmental, health, medicine, economics, math, physics, chemistry, psychology, and sociology. A great resource for everyone interested in the latest news on science.

The English Classics Award was awarded to David Damrosch for Invitation to World Literature

This free multimedia site introduces thirteen works of world literature and provides excellent resources (including introductory videos) for studying and teaching each of them. The list of works discussed is genuinely multicultural, including familiar works taught in most world literature courses as well as works much less widely taught or known.

The History Classics Award was awarded to The British Museum for The British Museum-Ancient India.

The British Museum: Ancient India is a beautiful and informative site about the history, geography, and religion of ancient India. The Web site is split into discrete categories, each with an overview, story, challenge, and an opportunity to explore a site or object.

The Information Technology Classics Award was presented to Felicia Kamriani on behalf of the App Inventor Team for The App Inventor.

Information Technology Classics AwardThis is an extensive hands on tutorial and development tool for students new to Android App building. Students learn basic programming by following specific examples and drag/drop options. It's a visual, blocks-based development tool for the building of apps for Android phones. Predefined blocks preclude the need for coding. However, programming concepts are integral to the blocks. There is no cost for use of the tool. It was originally developed at Google and was taken over by M.I.T.

The Physics Classics Award was awarded to Antje Kohnle for QuVis

The St. Andrews Quantum Mechanics Animations, or QuVis, is an extensive collection of Flash and HTML5-based tutorials with interactive simulations covering all aspects of an introductory quantum mechanics course. The interactive explorations, step-by-step explanations, and attractive graphics make this an excellent example of the use of multimedia for student learning. These resources are also used in an online course in modern quantum information The translation of this material to HTML5 for use on all platforms is of particular note. On receiving the award, Dr. Kohnle replied, "While you have sent the award to me, it belongs first and foremost to the outstanding undergraduate students that have coded the majority of the simulations, and that have worked on evaluation studies. Roughly 25 students have been involved in this work over the past five years. It also belongs to the faculty members helping us evaluate simulations by trialling them in their courses. Finally, it
belongs to all the undergraduate students that were willing to give us detailed feedback on their experience of using the simulations. Without iterative refinement based on student feedback, the simulations would not be useful for learning.

The Psychology Classics Award was presented to John Krantz for Psychological Research on the Net

Psychological Research on the Net houses links to open research projecPsychology Classics Awardts in which users can opt to participate. The compilation of projects is broad-ranging and contemporary, and students can learn about and experience the research process by participating in actual psychological research studies. Overall, the site serves as an excellent, valuable resource for both psychology students and researchers.



The Teacher Education Classics Award was awarded to Misha Leybovich for Meograph.

Meograph is a web-based presentation app that can be used to produce rich, multimedia stories. With their simple, online interface, users can combine images, video, audio narration and geolocations into a playable digital story. This is a wonderful replacement for PowerPoint slideshows.

Peer Reviewers Extraordinaire

2015 marked the highest number of Peer Reviewers Extraordinaire.  Twenty-nine individuals completed a minimum of 15 reviews between April 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015.  Many thanks go to those who contributed to this program.  Each reviewer received a registration to the ET4OL conference and a letter of appreciation.  Those who are not currently serving on editorial boards receive an honorary editorial board designation.

This year’s PREs are:


Editorial Board


Jim Bidlack


University of Central Oklahoma

K. Camille Freeman


Maryland University of Integrative Health

Martin Zahn


Thomas Nelson Community College

Mike Pouraryan


Kaplan University

Cathy Swift



Rizalia Klausmeyer


Baylor University

Paul Bowdre

Criminal Justice


Renee Aitken

Faculty Development

Wright University

Ray Purdom

Faculty Development


Julie London

Health Sciences


Jeanne Sewell

Health Sciences

Georgia College

Arthur Finkle


Empire State College

Carol Edwards

Information Technology

Kaplan University

Irene Knokh

Information Technology

University of Michigan

Jaclyn Krause

Information Technology

Central Washington University

Lynne Williams

Information Technology

Kaplan University

Victoria Packard


Texas A & M-Kingsville

Sergey Belyi


Troy University

Larry Green


Lake Tahoe Community College

Catherine Honig


National Louis University

Sherri Restauri


University of Alabama-Huntsville

Bruce Bennett

Teacher Education

Grand Canyon University

Cris Guenter

Teacher Education

California State University-Chico

Angela Gunder

Teacher Education

University of Arizona

Elaine Lawrence

Teacher Education


Jane Moore

Teacher Education


Esperanza Zenon

Teacher Education

River Parishes Community College

Martha Davis

World Languages

Northern Virginia Community College

Laura Franklin

World Languages

Northern Virginia Community Colleges


The PRE program for 2016 is underway.  Look for applications in the fall, but begin doing your reviews now!


MERLOT and Africa Network

by Moustapha Diack


MERLOT and its outreach program to Africa (MERLOT Africa Network) launched a 2014/2015 Digital Scholars Program (DSP). The MERLOT/MAN DSP is a community of faculty and graduate students who serve as mentors, innovators, project leaders, and liaisons communicating the interests and innovations of educators in the area of E-Learning and E-Health to the larger MERLOT and MAN global communities. The organizations certified in April 27, 2017, during the Louisiana Annual E-Learning Conference held in Baton Rouge Louisiana, the first cohort of Digital Scholars 2015. The MERLOT/MAN DS 2015 is composed of 13 scholars from the Doctoral Program in Science/Mathematics Education (SMED) at Southern University in Baton Rouge (SUBR), Louisiana. Please join us in congratulating our 2014/2015 Scholars.


Prof. Moustapha Diack, Director of MAN and Program Leader SMED at SUBR; Mr. Fathi Elijaan, SMED Graduate Student SUBR; Ms. Ni’Shawn Stovall, SMED Doctoral Candidate SUBR; Ms. Jane Pablico, SMED Doctoral Candidate SUBR; Ms. Ingrid Cruz, SMED Doctoral Candidate SUBR; Dr. Julia Ledet, SMED Alumni and Louisiana State University; Dr. Sundee Warren, SMED Alumni, Louisiana Dept. Public Health; Dr. Gerry Hanley, MERLOT Executive Director and Associate Vice Chancellor, California State University

Other Digital Scholars (not pictured) include Dr. Ajibike Olubunmi Itegboje, SMED Alumni, University of Lagos, Nigeria; Dr. Teresa Mutahi, SMED Alumni, Kenya, University of Nebraska at Omaha;  Dr. Brittany Martin, SMED Alumni;  Ms. Amreen Ajaz, Pakistan, SMED graduate student; Ms. Lisa Hayes Smothers, SMED graduate student; Ms. Phyllis Okwan, SMED graduate student and Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO); Ms. Kimyata Dilworth, SMED graduate student and SUNO.



Dr. Moustapha Diack, MAN Director, SMED, SUBR; Dr. S. Warren, DS Coordinator; Dr. Gerry Hanley, MERLOT Executive Director

  • Gather faculty, graduate students, community college students and teachers with discipline expertise in STEM and health education
  • Share exemplary practices, brainstorm solutions with their counterparts on their campus and across the higher education in Africa and globally
  • Develop and implement plans for sustaining the program
  • Serve as an online professional network, create avenues for collaborative research and curriculum development
  • Act as a unified hub of educational technology resources and academic perspectives from faculty and graduate students across the MERLOT and MAN communities and globally

We partner with LodeStar™,a leading global eLearning provider. LodeStar™ provides Scholars with its online learning authoring tool to create engaging Open Education Resources (OER) made available through MERLOT.

Links of Interest:


American Kinesiology Association and MERLOT

American Kinesiology Association

The multidisciplinary nature of kinesiology provides a range of challenges and opportunities for faculty teaching kinesiology to put educational innovations into practices. Many types of technologies can empower both faculty and students to use multimedia delivered reliably,
affordably, and flexibly to achieve the learning outcomes required for a quality education in kinesiology. Together, MERLOT and the AKA can excite people’s curiosity by asking the questions, “How can you use technology in your classroom quickly, easily, and successfully? Did you know that there are free, quality, online instructional materials, online course curriculum, and free e-textbooks available for you to use right now?” Faculty can go to the MERLOT website and find free educational resources including:

Video on The Muscular System: Types of Muscle Contractions
Online tutorials on clinical assessment of injuries
Online atlas of human muscles

MERLOT and the AKA are working together to develop a Kinesiology collection in MERLOT. If you would like to be part of this process, contact Jane Moore



line features

Update on the MERLOT Community

Peer Reviewer Incentives

Amazon Gift Card Thank YouIn 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 our monthly reviewer incentive award winners!

February – Renee Aitken, Faculty Development Board, Wright University (Amazon)

March – Angela Gunder, Teacher Education Board, University of Arizona (Amazon)

April – Andreas Padillo Oviedo, Mathematics Board, University of Texas-Pan American (Starbucks)

Each month a name will be drawn from the reviewers who complete individual and composite reviews that month.


GRAPE Camp 2015

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 2015 in:

    • June - Tuesdays (16, 23, 30) at 11 AM Eastern/ 10 AM Central/ 9 AM Mountain/ 8 AM Pacific
    • July – Wednesdays (8, 15, 22) at 5 PM Eastern/ 4 PM Central/ 3 PM Mountain/ 2 PM Pacific
    • August – Tuesdays (4, 11, 18) at 11 AM Eastern/ 10 AM Central/ 9 AM Mountain/ 8 AM Pacific

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

The MERLOT Development eam continues to work on improvements to MERLOT. Some of the new features you can see in MERLOT are listed below.

You may have noticed a new Translation tool (Google) in MERLOT. This new tool is more compatible with the MERLOT website. In addition to the translation tool, now when a user comes to MERLOT with their browser set to a language other than English, they are prompted to change to their preferred language to make their experience easier. 


You may have noticed a new Recommender System in MERLOT. On each material detail page, a user can see up to 6 material recommendations based on what other users in MERLOT have viewed in their searching for the same material types.

Social Networking and MERLOT

We have many ways for you to stay connected with MERLOT and all the wonderful things happening with the website and our initiatives. We increased our presence on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, including a special LinkedIn Group Page that we invite you to join and network with other MERLOT users. Read postings about OERs, MOOC’s, initiatives and much more at the MERLOT Blog.  The MERLOT Voices network has dozens of community conversations focusing on textbook affordability, OER, nursing, faculty development, just to name a few. 

Facebook Twitter Linked In

Social Media Stats

Announcements of new initiatives and features on the MERLOT website, important announcements of upcoming events and deadlines, and news and articles from the MERLOT team and around the web on OER and educational technology are all shared on these sites.  To be sure you stay informed, follow us and share us with your colleagues! 



Upcoming Events

International Conference on Technology in Higher Education

International Conference on Technology in Higher Education

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, 2015 in 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, please visit


OLC Blended Learning Conference and Workshop

12th Annual Online Learning Consortium Blended Learning Conference and Workshop 2015

 The Online Learning Consortium Blended Learning Conference and Workshop will be held July 7-8, 2015 at the Sheraton Denver Downtown hotel.  You can get more information about the conference at


OLC International Conference

21st Annual Online Learning Consortium International Conference 2015

"Shaping the Future of Online Learning" will be held at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida, October 14-16, 2015. For further information go to:


Quality Matters Conference

Quality Matters 7th Annual Conference on Quality Assurance in Online Learning Deep in the Heart of Quality

The Quality Matters Annual Conference will be held at the Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio, Texas, November 1-4, 2015.

You can get more information about the conference at:



The Numbers

Who Uses MERLOT?

Here is what is in the MERLOT Collection from January 1-April 30, 2015:


Items in the Collection


Materials with a Peer Review


Materials with an Editor’s Review


Materials with a Comment/Discussion


Materials with a Learning Exercise


Registered Users

How many searches were done using our web services January 1 - April 30, 2015?

    • Basic Searches: 55,647
    • Advanced Searches: 142,840

How many people visited MERLOT January 1 - April 30, 2015?

    • 286,729

How many MERLOT pages were viewed from January 1 - April 30, 2015?

    • 919,234

The top 10 countries that visited MERLOT in the first quarter of 2015:

1. United States

2. Phillippines

3. Canada

4. India

5. Chile

6. United Kingdom

7. Australia

8. South Africa

9. Israel

10. Spain



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