From the Vineyard Issue 19, December 2009 Cathy Swift - Editor **************************************************************** CONTENTS 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 (www.youtube.com/merlotplace) 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 (http://taste.merlot.org/Programs_and_Projects/LMDI.html) ; Added a number of new higher education and international partners (http://taste.merlot.org/allpartnerlist.html); Implemented the COMPASS program (Collection, Community, Consultation, & Customization of MERLOT Partners’ Academic Support Services) to strengthen MERLOT’s services for our partners.( http://taste.merlot.org/COMPASS.html) ; 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, Gerry - top – Feature Article – 2010 Conference – Emerging Technologies for Online Learning 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 include: The Cutting Edge Pedagogy 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: http://sloanconsortium.org/et4online. To submit a proposal, you can go directly to http://et4online.merlot.org 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 users. 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 purposes. 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: http://taste.merlot.org/Programs_and_Projects/ContentBuilder.html. 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: http://taste.merlot.org/Programs_and_Projects/softchalk.html – 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: http://taste.merlot.org/peerreviewer.html 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 (http://www.merlot.org)." 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 email@example.com 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. (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com) – 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. Cheers, Cathy 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Michelle Pilati (MPilati@riohondo.edu) 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 http://jolt.merlot.org/guidelines.html. – 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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