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MERLOT International Conference

Online Resources: Sharing the Future
Costa Mesa, California
August 3 - 6, 2004

Online Proceedings

General Information

MERLOT ( is a free and open resource designed for faculty and students in higher education. MERLOT helps faculty enhance instruction with a continually growing collection of online, reviewed learning materials and assignments. MERLOT is also a community of educators who strive to enrich teaching and learning. The fourth annual MERLOT International Conference will be held at the Costa Mesa Hilton, Costa Mesa, California, August 3 - 6, 2004. MERLOT is endorsed by NLII/EDUCAUSE and the NSF NSDL digital library project. For more information about MERLOT, see

NEW this Year - The Learning Objects Fair

As we look to sharing the future of learning objects (learning resources), we have initiated a new way to help our conference participants who are making use of learning objects to share their learning objects and to get feedback on them from users. This year we are implementing the Learning Objects Fair. The Fair will be held from 5:30 - 6:30 on Wednesday, August 4, 2004. We invite authors and developers of learning objects to attend the fair to introduce conference attendees to their learning objects. The following morning before that start of the day's sessions, we will hold a breakfast for authors/developers and attendees to meet again for a more in-depth look and review of the learning objects. This is an excellent opportunity to gather feedback on learning objects that are 'in-process' as well as those that are complete and ready for release. . It also an opportunity to work with others in how to reuse or use a learning object.

If you are interested in presenting your materials at the fair, simply submit a short, 50 word abstract The deadline for submitting an abstract is May 15, 2004. By submitting an abstract and registering early, we guarantee you a space to demonstrate your materials at the fair and during the breakfast.


The MERLOT International Conference seeks to address the needs of faculty members, digital library providers and developers, authors of digital learning materials, and those involved in administering and supporting instructional technology. More specifically, sessions are led by and designed for:
  • Faculty
  • Faculty Development Professionals
  • Authors of Instructional Materials
  • Technical Support Specialists
  • Librarians
  • Student Services Professionals
  • Students
  • Members of Professional Organizations
  • Instructional Designers
  • MERLOT Registered Users
  • MERLOT Partners
  • Provosts, Deans, Department Chairs, Presidents, Vice Presidents

General Information for Submitting Proposals

  • All proposal submissions must be done online.
  • Proposals must include the following - please follow all word limits
    • Title: no more than 10 words
    • Program ready abstract: please include a short (50 word maximum) abstract of your proposal for inclusion in the final program
    • Abstract: Proposals should not exceed 500 words. Please do not use a font size of less than 12-point font.
    • Brief bios of the presenters should not exceed 50 words. Include expertise in the topic being proposed. All presenters must include a bio.
  • Abstract: describe the topic of the presentation and primary points of interest. Please be concise, accurate, and specific. Include the following:
    1. Overall focus or goal of the session.
    2. Description of the topic, project, affiliation, model, skills to be developed that will inform the reviewers about the relevancy of the session.
    3. Background of the project, affiliation, model, skills to be developed, including collaborators, organizations, sponsorships, beneficiaries, etc.
    4. Explain how the mode of presentation is suitable for the topic.
    5. Include a list of URLs that will familiarize prospective attendees with your work, project, publications, or seminar material (optional). Indicate your intended audience.
  • Selection Criteria: the program committee's decisions will be guided by the following criteria:
    1. Clarity and coherence of the proposal.
    2. Relevance to MERLOT conference track goals.
    3. Likelihood the session will provide useful information, skills, or ideas.
    4. Contributes new, innovative practices for students and faculty.
    5. Ability to stimulate and involve participants.

Conference Goals

The MERLOT International Conference is the venue for learning about shared content, peer reviews, learning objects, standards, and online learning communities and to:
  • Enable authors and faculty who use MERLOT learning materials in their classrooms to share information on teaching and learning with web-based materials.
  • Develop and support MERLOT learning communities of scholars both nationally and internationally.
  • Provide practical, hands-workshops in identifying, using, creating, modifying and evaluating digital learning materials.
  • Promote discussions, exploration of potential solutions to common problems experienced by shared content providers.
  • Share information and techniques for use of various technology tools for teaching and learning.
  • Provide a forum for presentations by organizational affiliates and Institutional Partners of MERLOT.
  • Disseminate information about MERLOT.

Conference Tracks

This year's theme: Online Resources: Sharing the Future reflects MERLOT's commitment to building a resources to meet the needs of its community and to address the challenges facing higher education in these days of declining resources and rising demands for high quality education.

MERLOT is building a conference program around six strands that address common issues, projects, policies, etc. The conference program will be carried out through the interrelated tracks described below. Sessions will take the form of individual presentations, panels, practical demonstrations, poster sessions and workshops.

Track 1: Instructional Practices
Demonstrations of what faculty and authors are doing with technology in their classrooms. How do instructors use MERLOT in teaching their classes, developing curriculum or assessing learning? How can faculty participate and use MERLOT? How can MERLOT help faculty develop professionally?

Topics might include: student learning outcomes, student satisfaction, resources and how they are integrated, exemplary lesson assignments, learning assignments for online material, and best pedagogical practices.

Primary Audience: Teaching Faculty, Instructors and Adjunct Faculty.

Track 2: Creating Learning Materials
Presentations and demonstrations about developing or authoring learning materials. What are the effective strategies used to develop good instructional software? How can MERLOT support the needs of novice to expert authors and developers of learning materials?

Topics might include: designs for multiple users, design driven by learning outcomes, formative evaluation of learning materials, designing for accessibility, technical issues, licensing/copyright issues, and tagging learning materials.

Primary Audience: Instructional Technology Practitioners, Faculty, and Authors.

Track 3: Promoting Collaborations and Communities
Demonstrations and presentations of effective practices in developing and sustaining online communities both within MERLOT and in general. What are the requirements for creating, growing, and sustaining online communities such as MERLOT? What do other major shared content communities have in common with MERLOT? Are there online learning communities that have adopted MERLOT as a strategy for discipline based activities? How can institutions, systems and/or states promote collaboration? Topics might include: knowing your audience, determining their needs, facilitating and sustaining online learning communities, collections development, peer review processes, affiliations with professional organizations, MERLOT community development, tools for web based communities, procedures, policies, and standards. Benefits and barriers to collaboration (within and across regions), Strategies for promoting collaboration, and potential and real cost savings to collaboration.

Primary Audience: Administrators in Higher Education, Campus Librarians, Authors, Faculty and Instructors, Adjunct Faculty, and Digital Library Developers.

Track 4: Faculty Development
Presentations and demonstrations of faculty and professional development programs that work. What do instructors need to know and be able to do to use MERLOT effectively? How are faculty rewarded for their digital scholarship? What is digital scholarship? How to you measure or document digital scholarship? What do discipline specific professional organizations believe are critical components in their constituents' successful incorporation of instructional technology? What is the role of campus Libraries in faculty development?

Topics might include: effective training programs for instructors, accreditation issues, standards validation, promotion and tenure considerations for digital scholarship, instructional technology evaluation, and evolving institutional standards.

Primary Audience: Faculty Developers, Faculty, Administrators in Higher Education and Librarians.

Track 5: Digital Libraries, Technology and Standards
For those topics not formally outlined above but have interest to the MERLOT community. Presentations and demonstrations may include information about library science, education digital libraries, new course material, information management systems, teaching management systems, open resources tools and courseware, and exemplary practices.

Topics might include: digital library initiatives, economic models for online digital libraries, copyright issues, intellectual property, accessibility issues, emerging technologies, IMS and SCORM metadata standards.

Primary Audience: Librarians, Digital Library Developers, and Administrators in Higher Education.

Track 6: Student Services
Presentations and workshops concerning the experiences, ideas, and perspectives on services for course design, faculty support, technology help desks, and online orientation, tutoring, and counseling. These sessions will focus on the student perspective as learners, community members, and services.

Primary Audience: Librarians, Faculty, Student Services Professionals, and Administrators in Higher Education.

Topics might include: supporting online student retention and success, providing online student support services and sustaining online services for students.

Session Formats

The conference supports a variety of formats to help you make your presentation most effectively. If you have any questions which format might work best for you, please contact the conference chair.

Concurrent Session (30 minutes): The mainstay of the conference, part of the session time is used for the presentation of a focused topic; the remaining time is used to involve the participants in an exchange of ideas around the topic.

Panel Session (60 minutes): These sessions are for discussions organized around a particular theme. It is an opportunity for 3-5 people (including the chair) to present their views or results on a common theme, issue, or question and discuss them with the audience. Panels should cover timely topics related to the conference areas of interest.

Hands-on Workshops (2.5 hours): Workshops conducted by institutional partners and other online communities provide participants with hands-on, interactive learning opportunities. Workshop session proposals should include:
  • The target audience
  • Maximum number of participants
  • Intended outcomes
  • A description of the activities
  • A description of technology needs
Roundtable sessions (60 minutes): Roundtables are designed to create a small group dialogue with participants around a particular topic or issue. Moderators of roundtable discussions are expected to facilitate substantive discussions or small group activities and to distribute handouts.

Poster sessions Poster sessions enable participants to demonstrate and discuss their materials and research in a more intimate setting allowing for individual consultation. Posters are set up prior to the conference and are open for review through out the conference in the Connections Room. We encourage participants to use the Connections Room to network with their colleagues and share ideas in one-to-one settings. Poster session presenters are asked to be at the formal poster session, held on Wednesday evening. The proposal should include the topic, target audiences, and a brief abstract of the project, practice or approach.

For more information about the Call for Proposals, contact Marianne Boeke at or 303.497.0357.

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Portions Copyright by MERLOT Community Members. Used with Permission.
Questions? Email or Contact MERLOT.
Last Modified : 2003/12/18