“University faculties are under increasing pressure to do
more with less. They are expected to continuously improve
educational experiences to more students at less expense.
Without assistance, the pressures of increasing demands
and decreasing resources may prove too great to maintain a
high quality learning environment. Merlot is an online
repository of e-Learning objects designed to enable a broad
base of faculty to provide high quality, online material to
enhance college level learning.”
---from George P Schell, University of North Carolina and Max Burns, Georgia Southern University,
MUSE e-Service Journal.
•“Find peer reviewed online teaching
and learning materials.
•Share advice and expertise about
education with expert colleagues.
•Be recognized for your contributions
to quality education.”
---from the merlot website.
***Information for this presentation was taken directly
from the Merlot website: http://taste.merlot.org/, the
Sloan website, and various other academic websites…as
listed in the “links” slide of this presentation.
• MERLOT is a leading edge, user-
centered, searchable collection of peer
reviewed, higher education, online
learning materials created by registered
members, and a set of faculty
development support services.
• MERLOT's vision is to be a premiere
online community where faculty, staff, and
students from around the world share their
learning materials and pedagogy.
The organization of MERLOT consists of a national
network of online discipline communities. Within each
discipline, MERLOT faculty expert reviewers have
formed panels that select and evaluate the learning
materials. Each panel is in the process of:
• developing professional standards for online learning materials,
• engaging in peer review processes similar to those used for
• scholarly works, and
• providing a mechanism to validate and share high quality works.
• Also, to assess usability and to evaluate effectiveness, user
comments from faculty, students, and other members can be added.
---Sloan Consortium Review
History of Merlot
• Merlot started in 1997 through the Califorinia
State University (CSU). It is a derivative of an
NSF funded project created through CSU’s
Center for Distributed Learning (CDL).
(The Educational Object Economy
Foundation (EOE), also an NSF effort,
might be considered to be a forerunner of Merlot.)
History of Merlot
• Collaboration with six other state practice
centers with the SCU/CDL, selected for
excellence in faculty development and
instructional technology, created a consortium,
which created the base of Merlot.
• CSU/CDL continues to proved the core
operational products and services for the digital
collection, user-interface, and peer review
Why would faculty be interested in
• While most faculty do not have time to develop online
material, they also do not want to use a “course in a
box”: a pre-packaged course.
• Merlot provides a readily searchable tool to find and
incorporate appropriate peer-reviewed learning materials
into a course or syllabus.
• It also provides a way for faculty to offer their own
materials for use by other people in their field.
Why would faculty be interested?
• Merlot also contains profiles of its members. The
Member Directory contains contact information,
academic areas of expertise, and an ePortfolio
• Members can also create and annotate personal
collections of materials they find, enabling them
to build elements of teaching and course
As a Member you can:
• Contribute learning materials
• Create a personal collection
• Develop a personal profile
• Share your online expertise
• Receive peer recognition
Faculty Development Support
• Building and sustaining online academic
• Online learning initiatives and policies
• Building, organizing, reviewing, and
developing applications of online teaching-
• MERLOT International Conference,
• Journal of Online Learning and Teaching
• Member publications
The Merlot Repository
• The MERLOT repository is learning materials,
assignments and comments to enhance the teaching
experience of an exercise.
• The learning materials are categorized into 11 different
material types. A large selection of materials in MERLOT
also have assignments and comments attached to them.
• It is possible to add any material to a personal collection,
to make organizing your teaching materials for each of
• Snapshots have also been created for some materials to
provide more depth to a material.
• Drill and Practice
• Case Study
• Reference Material
How to Contribute to Merlot
• Become a member.
• Submit material as a member.
• Follow the steps:
– You can contribute material from the index page (as a member) or from your
profile page. Once the material is submitted, it will be reviewed.
– Note that you can create (a) Personal Collection(s) for your material.
• Questions: Go to the FAQs page:
• Your material is instantly online and the peer review board is notified that
your material needs to be reviewed. You can edit the material at any
time, but must notify the webmaster to delete it.
• Go to the index page
• Browse the collection
• Choose your category
• Choose your sub-category, or sort
• Go to Material
How peer review improves faculty satisfaction:
An important aspect of faculty satisfaction is that faculty members,
not administrators, have oversight of online materials and
programming quality. The Multimedia Educational Resource for
Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT)peer reviews are designed
to help faculty determine the quality of the learning materials in the
MERLOT catalog and their relevance and applicability to the
courses they teach. The MERLOT peer review process for
evaluating teaching-learning materials follows a model of peer
review of scholarship, offering two benefits related to faculty
1) Faculty can have their online work viewed as serious scholarship.
2) Faculty have a source of high-quality online materials and resources
that meet the quality standards of their disciplines.
MERLOT also conducts a variety of assessments
of their tools and processes. Information from an
evaluation of the peer review process conducted
in 2001 by the Center for Usability in Design and
Assessment (CUDA) of CSU Long Beach
provided the basis for the improvement of the
Currently, CUDA is performing content analyses of
the posted reviews to help the editorial board to
improve the informative reviews.
• Estimated costs associated with this practice:
This service is offered free through the MERLOT site to the larger
academic community, making duplication by other institutions
unnecessary. There is no cost to individuals or institutions who want
to use the site either to have materials reviewed or to access
reviews and materials.
• Relation to other pillars:
Student satisfaction and learning effectiveness: Peer review of
teaching materials and resources contributes to the overall quality of
online programming. This will be reflected in increased student
satisfaction and positive student learning outcomes.
• Cost effectiveness: The MERLOT project also contributes to cost-
effectiveness since it makes faculty-developed products for teaching
and learning available for sharing through the Internet.
The issue of Sustainability
• Open Source entities often encounter sustainability issues. Merlot
has built a model to sustain itself which is different than its
• MERLOT's business model is built primarily around partnerships
with organizations that leverage one another's resources. Scaffolded
partners (see following diagram) can contribute from $25000 to
$6500 abd everyone contributes in-kind.
• The CSU System continues to take the lead responsibility for the
management, planning, and operation of MERLOT's processes and
• Sustainability is the hot topic of many conferences – and new
models are being explored on an ongoing basis. Merlot is now over
7 years old and is considered to be robust.
Categories of Activity
• Individual Members
• Institutional Partners
• Corporate Partners
• Editorial Boards
• Faculty development support services
***Note that Membership is Free.
--Flora McMartin Journal of Digital
Information, Volume 5 Issue 3
A Few Links to other University and Higher
Education Consortium Reviews of Merlot
E-Service Journal: Project MUSE
St. Petersburg College Review –
Sustainable Issues: A presentation from
What works and what lasts: An Essay
Some Questions to Consider…
• If you try using Merlot’s resources, here are some
questions about which we would be interested in hearing
your impressions :
– How up-to-date/well-maintaineddo you find the content?
– Do you find the content intuitive and easy-to-use?
– Do you find the “package” or “skin” appropriate and relative?
– How did you use the content?
– Did you use the content “as is” or did you find yourself adding a
good deal of “customizing”?
– What was the students’ feedback about the content?
– Overall, did you find this content useful?
If you contribute or have contributed to
Merlot, we would be interested in hearing
about your impressions and experience.
Greg Reihman, Ph.D.
Director, Faculty Development
473 Maginnes #9