Putting Educational Innovations into Practice.

Please introduce yourself here. This is a way you can meet other people who are involved in GRAPE Camp during this period. Include as many details as you wish.

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Hello All, 

My name is Erin Rudders.  I am a hydrogeologist with 20 years of experience that includes environmental and water supply consulting, public service and higher education.  I am currently an instructor in the Environmental Sciences Department at Spokane Community College in Northeastern Washington.  Our Department teaches some transfer courses but our core is an array of professional/technical programs that prepare students for careers.  My primary program is Water Resources Technology and we train students for careers as hydrologic (or natural science related) technicians and/or water operators / wastewater treatment operators.  

I am new to the concept of open educational resources.  I am realizing that much of the public domain technical documentation and guidance that we already use in our courses are OERs.  I am hoping to organize our use of these resources, share our use of the materials on MERLOT and ultimately create new resources to share.   

I am excited by the reality that there are openly shared resources and ideas out there that I have not been using and inspired by the dream that in the future our own materials and resources could contribute to an individual student or to an instructor at any stage in their career anywhere in the world.

Thank you for all of the detail, Erin. I've been working with OERs since 1999, and it is truly the new face of education.  Many faculty members are helpfully sharing what they have created, including textbooks. The whole idea of sharing is new to many.  I hope you'll find (and share) a lot of resources for your classes.  I also hope you spread the use of these resources within your institution.


My name is Christy Stanley, and my background is in instructional design. Currently, I am an Academic Technologist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. I work primarily  with Canvas (LMS), providing faculty training and support for all disciplines. I'm excited to learn more about MERLOT and the Peer Review process.

Thank you for the information, Christy. I know our Faculty Development Editorial Board will appreciate your skills in Instructional Design. I know you are doing GRAPE Camp asynchronously, so if you have any questions, please let me know. 

My name is Ben Malczyk.

I am an assistant professor of social work at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. I teach classes in community social work  and social welfare policy. I teach some course online, some hybrid and most face to face.

My research interests include familial influence on academic outcomes and social work education. One topic I am passionate about and hope to do more research on is competency based education. I'm excited to be a part of Merlot because I think it can help make the classroom a more engaging place and a place I can share and get ideas from others. 

Social work has a relatively small collection of resources on Merlot but I hope to change that and get more social work educators to use it and to submit materials!

Hi, Ben:

Great introduction. I know that we are pretty slim on social work resources. I'm hoping you can add some of your own materials or materials you already use in your class. That would certainly build up the collection.

Just wondering...what have you found to be some of the familial influences on academic outcomes?

One specific influence that I have looked at is the influence of the parent-child relationship as a whole-- so not just what do parents do, but if the parents and child get along. My research found that both parental monitoring and the quality of the parent-child relationship are additive predictive factors of engagement. As a social worker, this suggests that we should both teach parents specific skills and ways they can interact with their child, but that we also need to find ways to improve the quality of the parent-child relationships. 

Sounds pretty logical.  It's good to have proof that it is so.

Hi everyone!

My name is Amanda Izenstark, and I am the Reference & Instructional Design Librarian at the University of Rhode Island. I teach an undergraduate 3-credit information literacy course (have been teaching it since 2001) and also teach for URI's Library School on overload.

I'm interested in working with MERLOT because I use a number of OERs in my courses (as well as many materials I have created myself) and want to help build the quality of what's available to others.

Hi everyone! My name is Melissa Williams, I generally go by Mel. I am currently an administrator and faculty for Colorado Technical University (but I am located in Illinois!). My focus is all of our undergraduate courses, programs, and concentrations within the College of Business and Management. I LOVE everything about open resources for courses, and in the next six months will be actively aligning many of our core courses to OER. I find the opportunity to peer review a central importance to maintaining the integrity of the OER concept, and look forward to be a part of that!


Welcome, Mel. As Editor of the Business Editorial Board, I'm happy to have another potential peer reviewer fo management. Isn't it wonderful to be able to work in another state from where your school is located? I actually live in McKinney, Texas, not California as many people assume.

And yes, you are correct, OER rocks!

Hi Everyone!

My name is Pam Rankey.  I am an Associate Professor at Blue Ash College, which is a regional campus of the University of Cincinnati, .  I teach in our Business and Economics Department. 

More relative to this role I also am a partner in our Learning and Teaching center providing faculty development and instructional design assistance to our faculty -- as well as assisting faculty with our LMS and other instructional technology. I am a Quality Matters Peer Reviewer. I am continually looking for new resources for our faculty.  My hope in joining the Merlot community is to get some new ideas as well as resources to direct faculty to.


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