Putting Educational Innovations into Practice.

MERLOT 101 Online 2009: Week One Introductions and Post- Workshop discussion

Welcome all, near and far, to a special three-week version of MERLOT101 beginning March 2009. This online course will get newcomers started with MERLOT, help you discover its many features and show you how to build a Personal Collection of learning materials for teaching and learning.

Before entering the course content, let us begin by building our community.Please introduce yourself to the group. Tell us the discipline area that interests you, what kinds of learning materials you seek and ask any questions that you may have about MERLOT.

For participants with some background in MERLOT, welcome as well. Your objective for the workshop is to build a Personal Collection and to share it with our network. If all goes well, this course will have an international audience, so the potential to meet new colleagues and to learn about new resources should be greater than usual.

Please remember that throughout the course of these three weeks you will have access not only to your MERLOT team, but also the TLTG team and the MERLOT Africa Network.
Interaction with people who can help us get what we need is the heart and soul of MERLOT. So, let's get acquainted with each other and the course.

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Replies to This Discussion

I'm especially interested in finding ways to help more people learn about the resources and tools now available from MERLOT and how we can encourage and enable more people to use them.
Hi, my name is Leigh Ann McInnis. I am an Associate Professor and Faculty Mentor at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN (about 35 miles south west of Nashville – the heart of Country Music).

I love learning and teaching using technology! I first began teaching in 1998. I had been a nurse/nurse practitioner for 9 years, when someone asked me, “Have you ever considered teaching?” Well, the answer was no, but I decided to give it a shot…and loved it. Although the ability to put content on the Internet was available at the university where I was teaching at the time, it was not well utilized by our department. Shortly after beginning my role as an Instructor in the Graduate Nursing Program, I decided I should pursue a PhD. However, with three small children, I wasn’t sure it was possible. It was while exploring, applying and pursing a terminal degree that I discovered the potential of technology in education. In March 2005, I earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership with a focus on E-Learning. In August 2005, I began teaching at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). I teach primarily in our online Family Nurse Practitioner program. This is a collaborative program with six universities across the state of Tennessee.

I am energized by learning new things and sharing with students and colleagues. Merlot offers the opportunity for faculty to learn from each other, thus creating complex and robust collaboration. Each individual has strengths that they bring to the learning environment. We need to capitalize on these assets and minimize/strengthen our weaknesses.

On a personal note, I am married and have three wonderful children (ages, 17, 14, 8). All three are very involved (especially in sports), so we spend a lot of time on fields and in gyms (have laptop will travel). My oldest is a junior in high school in Nashville. We enjoy sports, swimming, and boating. I love to read and dig in the garden. I am looking forward to our class!
Hi, Leigh Ann,

I feel the same way as you do when it comes to teaching and learning with technology. It seems like I have been doing this for ages, but I still also feel like there is something new to learn. Not long after there was a computer on every desk and when e-mail was displayed in an ugly font on a boring neutral background, I got into this and never stopped. The TLT Group will find it amusing to know that I was a founding co-chair of our campus TLTR waaaay back in the day. Still I am always excited about how much there is to still learn. It will always be this way.

You make a great point about the potential for us to learn from each other. Too often, we do not get beyond the presentation mode. That is why I am glad we have a week between each session. You make a golden point here:

Each individual has strengths that they bring to the learning environment. We need to capitalize on these assets and minimize/strengthen our weaknesses.

I hope all of the participants of MERLOT 101 will share what they find in MERLOT at home AND right here in VOICES. Welcome!!
Hi! My name is Christina Bonner. I am the Reference & Instruction Librarian at Ohio Dominican University Library and have been in this position for the past five years. Since I head the library's Instruction Services and am involved with information literacy instruction in all disciplines at this small private university, I think MERLOT would be a terrific resource and a good place for sharing and learning. I am also involved with our distance learning initiatives. I am interested in taking what I learn from MERLOT101 to my colleagues as well as faculty.
Dear Christina,

You have probably noticed that there is a Librarian collection in MERLOT:

I hope you will use the various search methods to find new materials for library instruction and that you will add library materials to MERLOT as well. At my place, the librarians have been among the best evaluators of the materials in MERLOT in the area of information literacy as well as in the disciplines.
Hi, Christina. I'm glad you mentioned your discipline. When we do the Peer Review session tomorrow, I will use some of the Library Editorial Board's Peer Reviews. This Editorial Board started as a Taskforce in the Fall of 07 and became an Editorial Board last January. You might be interested in becoming involved with them.
Hello, my name is Stephany, and I am an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland University College. I am also President of OpRisk Associates, LLC. As President of OpRisk Associates, LLC, I have trained in South Africa and on-line in the areas of operational risk, performance, and business continuity management.
Hi Stephany,

Sounds like MERLOT Business may be the right collection for further investigation. Our own Cathy Swift is the former Editor of that collection, one of the largest in MERLOT. Let us know if we can be of any assistance in finding the materials you seek.
Faculty and staff development are among my responsibilities as Director of Instructional Improvement for Renton Technical College, a two-year techncial college in Washington State. As a non-member I used Merlot to help faculty identify resources for their professional technical programs. For my own practice I have sought resources on how the brain learns and other pedagological teaching aids to use in the orientation, training and coaching of instructors. Now, as a member, I am eager to discover additional resources, sharpen my search strategies, and examine the Merlot model of effecient peer review.

What I learn is not only for my benefit, but to model for our faculty and others involved with teaching and learning at colleges in our state. I am looking forward to upcoming sessions, and commend that you offer sessions at two times and archived to accommodate participants.
Hi, Judith,

Welcome to MERLOT 101. Faculty Development will be your best bet as a place to look for materials for your faculty. Here is the portal that you want to browse:

If you are teaching colleagues about MERLOT, there is a whole series of tutorials that go over searching, browsing, Personal Collections and Assignments. Here is the way I find them:

In the Search field, I typed MERLOT how to

I got this list:

I scrolled down to item 7 on this page and the rest of the materials all deal with MERLOT use. The last three are nifty tutorials by Lisa Pirinelli. Very handy for training.

There are a few more tutorialsfrom Lisa Pirinelli on the next page as well.

Thanks for making the distinction between joining MERLOT as opposed to simply using as a non-member. The Personal Collection, Contribute and Assignment features are all available to Members. And it's all free!!

Hi, Judith: You mentioned resources on how the brain learns. We have a number of resources in the Psychology collection in MERLOT. I did a search using "brain" and came up with a hit list of 138 materials:
Some of these are peer reviewed. Happy reading!!!
Also, Judith, don't forget to about the Pedagogy Portal that Ray covered today. There are lots of good resources for faculty there:


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