The Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning Online and Teaching (MERLOT) is a nationwide e-learning organization centered on meeting faculty members’ needs to learn about and use online computer technologies in teaching. MERLOT is a digital library housing professional development activities and learning materials. MERLOT’s mission is to “improve the effectiveness of teaching and learning by expanding the quantity and quality of peer-reviewed online learning materials that can be easily incorporated into faculty designed courses” (Falk, 2009, p. 98). The content presented on the site is influenced by feedback from students, instructors, and faculty. MERLOT offers a “collection of resources which are enhanced by feedback from community members about how they used the resources” (Falk, 2009, p. 6).MERLOT embodies the concept of an online learning community by working to “integrate technology into teaching” (Falk, 2009, p. 106). . “ MERLOT has a concentric structure from “patron” (resource user) to “core”, which allows members to move from peripheral to central roles in the identification and peer reviewing of materials on the site” (Falk, 2009, p. 12). Click on the below links to review details about MERLOT.
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The MERLOT website houses an array of learning materials and interactive tools to help individuals enhance their professional development in fifteen different disciplines.
Site Architecture : “The idea was that when new patrons visited the site for the first time, they should see that it was organized much like their campus, enabling them to find their academic “home” and to search or browse it intuitively.” (Falk & Drayton, 2009, p.107) The MERLOT site is very organized and easy to navigate which encourages collaborative learning as it offers “one stop shopping” for the exchange of information through discussions and resource links. Choice of Collaborative Tools & Models for Interaction : MERLOT houses collaborations of online animations or simulations of a concept, complex case studies, and it links the resources to a set of quality indicators to help patrons decide whether further exploration of an item is warranted. Quality indicators, in the form of: peer reviews, comments, assignments, personal collections, and author comments are tools that encourage participants to actively get involved in using the information and sharing with others. By utilizing these options, the participants’ learning can continue to grow and evolve. Instead of MERLOT being a go to site to obtain information only, it encourages participants to add to the growth of learning. The quality indicators ensure that the learning materials are reliable, valid and used to the fullest. MERLOT encourages “wide participation and uses the quality indicators to ensure quality control and to warrant the value of contributed content” (Falk, 2009, p. 11). Individuals utilizing MERLOT receive reliable information with valuable comments on how others used and benefited from the information. By utilizing these options, the participants’ learning can continue to grow and evolve. Instead of MERLOT being a go to site to obtain information only, it encourages participants to add to the growth of learning. Administrative Structures : MERLOT’s structures consist of members, partners, and editorial boards. Members are the ones mainly benefiting from this site because it guides them with their teaching. The partners provide either financial or other aids for the site to continue to provide its services. The editorial boards ensure that the sources are accurate and they are acceptable for the members to use. This administrative structure ensures that MERLOT’s mission to help distribute information is fulfilled. By establishing a hierarchical structure with a clear chain of command, MERLOT is able to streamline their operations to incorporate technology into teaching by providing a large collection of learning materials. MERLOT users are able to choose the discipline in which they wish to use to find and share information to enhance their professional development. The use of the MERLOT library “allows users to choose the tools with which they are comfortable and that best serve their purpose for communicating with different groups of people at different times” (Falk, 2009, p. 10).
Membership to MERLOT is heterogeneous and free which encourages participants to join. Users can contribute to the learning information after passing the quality indicators or they can simply browse the content. “MERLOT has a concentric structure from “patron” (resource user) to “core”, which allows members to move from peripheral to central roles in the identification and peer reviewing of materials on the site” (Falk, 2009, p.12). Since the accuracy of available information is monitored, MERLOT is a trusted source in housing reliable information. “MERLOT’S success as a digital library has hinged on the core community’s building and maintaining the collection of digital learning materials, vetting that collection, laying the groundwork necessary for collaborations with professional societies to help elevate MERLOT’s status among the professoriate, and marketing MERLOT to faculty, staff, students, and administrators at the campus and state levels” (Falk, 2009, p. 112). MERLOT encourages working communities as is evidenced in its website. Online communities enable participants to obtain a wide range information and view other participants’ feedback and knowledge.
Active participation on the web site is a way to measure MERLOT’s success. “A commonly cited measure of success of a website is the number of users” (Falk, 2009, p.109). Participation in the MERLOT site continues to grow as more teachers and students embrace the wealth of information and resources available online. “The growth of expertise, the density of interconnecting ties, the greater experience with new collaborators – all these are presented as returns on investment, different forms of enrichment of the professional development community” (Falk. 2009, p. 12). Active participation can be measured through the discussion threads and resource links posted on the site. Keeping the quality indicators in place will ensure that the content on MERLOT is authentic and meaningful and therefore contribute to MERLOT’s continued success in delivering online learning resources.
Educ 532 team_04
MERLOT <ul><li>Is a digital library housing professional development activities and learning materials </li></ul><ul><ul><li>nationwide e-learning organization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>provides patrons with a wide-ranging catalog of learning materials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>makes connections to communities of like-minded faculty within their discipline </li></ul></ul>
References: <ul><ul><li>Falk, J. and Drayton, B. (editors). (2009j). Creating and Sustaining Online Professional Learning Communities. New York: Teachers College Press. ISBN: 978-0-8077-4940-1. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>MERLOT website: www.merlot.org </li></ul></ul>