vineyard_dec_09 by yaofenjin


									          From the Vineyard
                             Issue 19, December 2009
                                Cathy Swift - Editor
       From your Wine Steward - Gerry Hanley
       Feature Article – 2010 Conference
       Feature Article - MERLOT Learning Materials Development Initiative
       Update on MERLOT Community
       Editorial Board News
       Out and About with MERLOT
       MERLOT Meeting Notices
       Cathy’s Corner
       JOLT – the Journal of Online Learning and Teaching
       MERLOT Statistics


From Your Wine Steward – Gerry Hanley
Dear MERLOT Leaders:

As we come to the end of 2009, all of us at MERLOT wish you a very happy and joyous
holiday with family and friends. We are truly grateful for the gifts of your time and
talents this past year (and the many years before, for many of you) which have made
MERLOT a better place and service center for the world of educators and learners.

We have accomplished much this past year:
      Delivered the MERLOTPLACE YouTube Channel
      ( that showcases our new MERLOT University in
      2nd Life, a partnership with a new corporate partner Sify;
      Partnered with the Carnegie Foundation to transform the KEEP Toolkit to the
      new MERLOT Content Builder which provides MERLOT members a free authoring
      tool to create online learning materials
      ( ;
      Added a number of new higher education and international partners
       Implemented the COMPASS program (Collection, Community, Consultation, &
       Customization of MERLOT Partners’ Academic Support Services) to strengthen
       MERLOT’s services for our partners.( ;
       Conducted a very successful MERLOT International Conference in San Jose, CA;
       Expanded the community of peer reviewers across more disciplines.

Even in these very difficult financial times for our universities, YOU, the leaders of
MERLOT, have continued to energize our services with your passions for excellence in
teaching and access to exceptional online learning materials.

We are looking forward to a new year and new opportunities to work with you in new,
creative, and fun ways.

Holiday Cheers,

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Feature Article – 2010 Conference – Emerging Technologies for Online

                                                              This year, MERLOT is
                                                              collaborating with both the
                                                              Sloan Consortium and
                                                              Moodle to present the
Emerging Technologies for Online Learning Symposium, to be held July 20-23, 2010 at
the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, CA. The conference will follow the same format as in
the past, with an opening reception the first night, followed by 2 ½ days of
presentations. The only difference is that it will begin on Tuesday, July 20th and end on
Friday, July 23rd.

The conference has nine tracks, including one for pre-conference sessions. The tracks

                  The Cutting Edge
                  Faculty Development
                  Inventive Uses of Media and Tools
                  Immersive Learning and Virtual Environments
                  The New Learning Communities
                  Emerging Technologies for Administration, Infrastructure, and
                  Support Services
                  Architecture and Applications
                  Pre-conference workshops

Several people from the MERLOT Leadership Group are serving as Track Chairs as well as
others from both Sloan-C and MoodleMoot. The due date for proposals is January 18,
2010, so we encourage you to submit a proposal as soon as you can. Information about
the conference can be found at: To submit a
proposal, you can go directly to

Leadership Council Meets in San Jose

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, July 20, 2010. Our Leadership Council (Project
Directors and Editorial Board Members) will meet in San Jose beginning at
approximately 8:30 AM and continuing until the afternoon, about 2:30 PM. Editorial
Boards will meet independently following that.

                                                                                   – top –

Feature Article – MERLOT Learning Materials Development Initiative

In the past, some have classified MERLOT as a referatory; we did not host learning
materials on the MERLOT site, but merely collected the metadata surrounding a given
learning material and pointed to the site which is hosted externally. MERLOT has never
promoted any particular learning material development process, but has often been
asked for recommendations regarding methodologies and tools for material creation.

To address this growing requirement, MERLOT has formulated the MERLOT Learning
Materials Development Initiative (LMDI). This LMDI provides an understanding and
foundation for those interested in developing online learning materials to select from
among free, open access tools or proprietary, commercial ones. The LMDI also suggests
tools for novice as well as more experienced users. The LMDI provides information for
those interested in developing online learning materials to select from among free,
open access tools or proprietary, commercial ones. The LMDI also suggests tools for
novice as well as more experienced users. Two new tools are now available for MERLOT

MERLOT Content Builder

MERLOT has recently announced the release of the MERLOT Content Builder. The
MERLOT Content Builder was originally the Carnegie Foundation KEEP Toolkit. It is an
easy-to-use tool for creating web pages or “snapshots” of learning materials available to
all members of MERLOT. These can include text and importing documents, photos and
video to create basic learning materials. The page you create is called a Snapshot. A
Snapshot is a web page, or a linked
(stitched) series of web pages that
provide an easily navigable website -
usually intended for instructional

Typically a Snapshot has a title "box"
and a series of 3-6 boxes arrayed
underneath, each of which describes or
shows some other aspect of the work. Images used in snapshots can have alt tags to
describe an image. These appear when the mouse is rolled over the image on a Web
page. They are important for people who view pages in text-only mode. Forms within
snapshots have labels for form elements. You can create a learning material in Content
Builder as well as add it as a learning resource in MERLOT. You can find out more about
the MERLOT Content Builder at: Or if you are
ready to jump right in, go to your profile and click, “Access the Content Builder.” There
is also a user’s guide to guide you through the process. Just click on the ? on the Content
Builder dashboard page.

SoftChalk Lesson Builder

Because of a new partnership with
MERLOT, SoftChalk is providing special
pricing for MERLOT Academic Partners
and unit discounts for registered
MERLOT members. SoftChalk is a commercially available PC-based authoring tool for
easy content creation that can be used by any level of developer to create online
learning materials. By using the SoftChalk too, you can produce a learning material that
can easily be submitted directly to the MERLOT repository.

With SoftChalk, users can:
1). Create interactive web pages for e-learning courses
2). Engage students with lessons that include pop-up text annotations, self-assessment
quizzes, and interactive learning games.
3). Package lessons for delivery via CD-ROM, Intranet, Internet, or through Learning
Management Systems.

You can find more information about SoftChalk at:

                                                                                    – top –
Update on MERLOT Community

Welcome New GRAPE Camp Graduates

During the Fall Semester, we had 20 new graduates of GRAPE Camp. As you may recall,
the purpose of GRAPE Camp is to train interested parties on how to do the MERLOT
Peer Reviews. Once they graduate, they are introduced to the Editors of their discipline
and then assigned a review. These individuals are now actively reviewing for MERLOT
Editorial Boards. There will be a few more graduates that will be finishing up in
December and will be recognized in the Spring edition of the Vineyard.

       Name                  Institution                     Editorial Board
       Evan Peterson         University of Detroit - Mercy   Business
       Raman Attri           KLA-Tencor                      Business
       Glenna Pendleton      Northern Michigan University    Business
       Aly El-Iraki          McMaster University             Engineering
       Marcia Neudigate      Brown Mackie College            English
       Ehren Bucholz         St. Louis College of Pharmacy   Health Science
       Janet Liles           Arkansas State Univ. - Beebe    Health Science
       Matt Redinger         MSU – Billings                  History
       Matt Greider          Lakeland College                History
       Veronika Bown         INACAP                          History
       Alicia Palmer         Central Michigan University     History
       Victoria Packard      Texas A&M – Kingsville          Library & Info Services
       Corrine Bishop        University of Central Florida   Library & Info Services
       Adnan Sabuwala        CSU – Fresno                    Math
       Maria Castro          INACAP                          Math
       Heather Zeng          Park University                 Psychology
       Gene Loeb Aronin      Retired                         Psychology
       Michelle Everson      University of Minnesota         Statistics
       Elaine Lawrence       SUNY Oneonta                    Teacher Education
       Nancy Smulsky         Excelsior University            Technical Allied Health

Thank you, graduates, for helping MERLOT with the Peer Review Process

Winter/Spring GRAPE Camps Scheduled

We have a number of GRAPE Camps scheduled for January through April. The GRAPE
Camps consist of one hour a week sessions for three weeks. The sessions are done
online and help prepare people to do MERLOT Peer Reviews. We also have the option
of “attending” GRAPE Camp asynchronously. Participants have several exercises that
they complete as homework.

If you know of someone who is interested in attending GRAPE Camp, please direct them
to the information in About Us:

Dates currently scheduled include:
       January – Tuesdays at 4PM Eastern/1 PM Pacific – 12th, 19th, 26th
       February – Wednesdays at 4 PM Eastern/1 PM Pacific – 10th, 17th, 24th
       February – Thursdays at 11 AM Eastern/ 8 AM Pacific – 11th, 18th, 25th
       March – Wednesdays at 11 AM Eastern/8 AM Pacific – 10th, 17th, 24th
       March – Tuesdays at 4 PM Eastern/ 1 PM Pacific – 9th, 16th, 23rd
       April – Wednesdays at 4 PM Eastern/ 1 PM Pacific – 7th, 14th, 21st

WCET Recognizes California Virtual Campus

                California Community Colleges has been a long-time MERLOT Partner
                and Doug Cremer has been a long-time Project Director for the CCC in
                MERLOT. Recently, WCET recognized the California Virtual Campus’s
                California High School Exit Examination Preparation Initiative-Stepping
into Your Future Program by bestowing it with a 2009 WOW
award. The program, with its two online courses, has
improved student retention and pass-rates for K-12 students
preparing for California’s English and Math high school exit
exams. CVC was one of three recipients of this award for
Outstanding Use of Technology in Higher Education.
According to WCET, “This year’s recipients reinforced the
value of innovative solutions that improve access both to higher education and the
teaching and learning process itself.” Pictured with the award are Doug Cremer,
Stephanie Couch, Pam Thompson, and LeBaron Woodyard.

According to the WCET website, “Through a combination of interactive technologies,
online learning resources, and face-to-face meetings, students have access to “any
place, any time” teaching of active reading, writing, Math, and test taking strategies.
More than 2,600 teachers and students in 40 of California’s 58 counties have been
served by the program. Increased student retention and pass rates of 36% for English
Language Arts (ELA) and 45% for Math have resulted. This is highlighted by an 85%
average between ELA and Math for students reporting a native language other than
English and survey data showing the majority of students had previously failed the test 3
to 5 times.” Great news, CVC!!! Keep up the great work.

                                                                                  – top –

Editorial Board News

Welcome New Editors

We want to welcome two new Editors to the MERLOT Leadership Group.
             Michelle Everson is a Lecturer in Statistics at the University of Minnesota.
             She represents our Statistics partner, CAUSE, as Paul Fields, previous
             Editor stepped down. According to Michelle, “I enjoy introducing
             students to the wonders of statistics and showing them that statistics can
             in fact be fun.” Michelle has been involved in developing online statistics
             classes in both introductory and intermediate statistics. She received the
             College of Education and Human Development’s 2009 Distinguished
Teaching Award.

                   Arun Nambiar is Assistant Professor of Industrial and Systems
                   Engineering at CSU-Fresno. He graduated from GRAPE Camp last
                   summer and has been doing reviews in the Engineering area. He has
                   agreed to be Editor of the Engineering Editorial Board as well as the
                   Portal Editor for the Engineering portal, replacing Ed Perry, who is
                   currently Co-Editor of JOLT. Arun teaches courses in Industrial
                   Materials, Computer-Aided Manufacturing, and Manufacturing
Processes. Arun likes to spend his spare time reading both fiction (ranging from classics
to thrillers) and non-fiction (mainly history and religion) literature.

Welcome, Michelle and Arun to the Editors Council. We look forward to working with
both of you.

MERLOT included in Plant Biology Textbook

                   Jim Bidlack, co-author of Stern's Introductory Plant Biology, has
                  included MERLOT as part of the textbook's guide to Plant Biology and
                  the Internet. The following statement is included in the textbook:
                  "The multimedia educational resource for learning and online teaching
                  (MERLOT) includes many learning objects for plant biology and other
                  disciplines ("

Calling All Sociologists

We’ve had some interest lately from some people who want to see a Taskforce in
Sociology. Several people have graduated from GRAPE Camp and are reviewing in other
areas. If you know of anyone who teaches Sociology and would be interested in
developing this community, please contact Cathy Swift at

                                                                                    top –
Out and About with MERLOT
Howard Coombs, Professor of Marketing at San Jose University, has been a long-time
supporter of MERLOT. Howard spends his summers teaching in Thailand and was
responsible for the eight-person delegation that visited us at MIC09. Howard recently
visited the Philippines and made a presentation to faculty there. He reports,
                           “The MERLOT presentation in the Philippines was a hit. They
                           were clearly very interested and had known nothing about it
                           before. MERLOT should be seeing some hits from the
                           Philippines soon.” Howard also says that there will be
                           another Thai delegation at this year’s conference. Thank
                           you, Howard, for spreading the word about MERLOT.

                                                                                   – top –

MERLOT Meeting Notices

Midyear Meeting for Editors and Project Directors

The Midyear Meeting, at which Editors and Project
Directors meet to plan the year’s activities, will be held
February 4th and 5th at the Chancellor’s Office in Long
Beach, CA. Because some institutions are under travel
restrictions, we will try to make as much of the meeting
virtual as possible. Editors and Project Directors have been contacted with the details of
the meeting. After the holidays we will have a registration site on which they can
indicate their attendance. In the meantime, the Management Team is working on the
agenda. If there are matters of particular interest, please let either Phil or Cathy know.
                                                                                   – top –

Cathy’s Corner

                Dear Cathy:

                What happened to the MIC? Why are we including other organizations
                in this year’s conference? Won’t the MIC get lost with the others? How
                will I know what to attend?
                Confused and Disappointed

Dear Confused and Disappointed:

Please, don’t be (confused and disappointed that is). Because of the state of the
economy and the fact that many people have limited travel expenses, we decided to
take advantage of the synergy involved in including both the Sloan Consortium and
MoodleMoot with the MIC. By combining forces, we can limit the necessity of attending
separate conferences, and we can spread the responsibilities across the three
organizations. We have MERLOT people on the planning committees, the program
committee, and the technical committee. And don’t worry about “finding” MERLOT
presentations. The program will have logos next to each presentation indicating to
which of the organizations they are best suited. As mentioned above, we will still have
our Leadership meeting on Tuesday, and the Editorial Boards will also be meeting that
afternoon. We’re actually looking forward to sharing the conference experience with
some new groups of individuals. We hope you will, too.


                                                                                     top –

JOLT – the Journal of Online Learning and Teaching

                       The December issue of JOLT should be released on December
                       15th. The acceptance rate for articles is running at 30%-35%, a
                       great improvement from the early days of 50%. Our thanks go
out to Co-Editors, Ed Perry and Michelle Pilati, who have worked hard to make the
journal so successful. They report that the JOLT site received 9,388 visitors the past 30
days, compared to 6,248 for the same period last year – representing a 50% year-to-
year increase. Great work, Ed and Michelle and your Editorial Board.

If you have an article ‘in the making’ be sure to contact Ed Perry (
or Michelle Pilati ( to learn how to publish in JOLT. JOLT also
welcomes new reviewers. For more information about the journal and to view the
Guideline for Authors, visit

                                                                                    – top –

MERLOT Statistics

MERLOT Collection as of November 30, 2009

  21,546       # items in Collection
   2,804       # of materials with a Peer Review
   1,502       # of materials with a Learning Exercise
   9,349       # of materials with a Personal Collection (new statistic)
  77,680       # of Registered Members
    761        # of Peer Reviewers (new statistic)
Usage Statistics for January 2009 – November 2009

425,551     Total # of visits
1,274       Avg. # visits a day
29.71%      Avg. visitor repeat rate
5.57        Avg. # pages/visit
05:02       Avg. length of visit

Are you interested in writing for From the Vineyard, or adding news and updates?
From the Vineyard is published December, April, and September. Getting your
information in print is easy. Send your submission to Cathy Swift by the first
Wednesday of the month in which you wish it to be published. Unfortunately we can’t
publish all articles/stories in each issue; if you don’t see your story in the issue, we
promise to try to get it into the next one!

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