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Academic Continuity of Operations

natural disastersPeriodically, campuses are faced with circumstances where the members of entire learning community, or a substantial part of it, are limited in their access to classrooms and learning spaces as a result of natural disasters, severe weather events, or concerns related to public health and the spread of disease.  MERLOT has been a resource used by faculty and students in those circumstances, extending access to learning materials, simulations, and exercises to those learners unable to travel to campus, or otherwise restricted from attending classes.  Whether providing quality learning materials to students whose academic pursuits have been disrupted by Hurricane Katrina or an outbreak of flu, MERLOT continues to be a well-recognized collection of peer-reviewed learning resources that is free and open for students and teachers.

As institutions develop plans to ensure academic continuity of operations, a primary focus is often upon use of learning management systems (LMS) as a means of extending access to students.  Such systems provide web-based tools for faculty to organize course materials, assignments, and assessments, and to allow for student and faculty interactions.  While they are an excellent means of communicating with students and organizing courses, they most often have little of the content needed to support learning activities – relying on the faculty member to develop and/or include appropriate content in the course.

The more than 21,000 learning materials within the MERLOT collection represents an easily accessible digital library of content that can be easily integrated and used within a Learning Management System, or in other ways as determined by the faculty member.  The collection includes materials across disciplines, and can be searched within the discipline community portals or from the MERLOT home page. By promoting the shared use and re-use of learning objects, simulations, and other materials, MERLOT helps faculty members ensure that their students can continue progress in their learning, and reduces the amount of materials the individual faculty member must create or “reinvent.” 

 

Integrating MERLOT into Your LMS MERLOT provides easy-to-use tools for integrating MERLOT into your LMS.  Our Blackboard Building Block, D2L and Angel integrations, and web services for Moodle and others are available.   For more information about how to create a convenient way to bring the MERLOT collection to faculty and students, go to http://taste.merlot.org/lms.html

In response to the current challenges faced by many campuses as they experience outbreaks of the H1N1 virus, MERLOT has created examples of personal collections of learning materials that may be used to support academic continuity in particular courses.  These collections are intended to help faculty members teaching in those areas, as well as serve as models for others in organizing MERLOT resources for other courses and disciplines.   The following courses are included in these collections:

MERLOT also has a collection of online courses that faculty may use, as well as training materials to assist faculty in using online resources and academic technologies. Click on the following links to browse the collection of materials related to development of online and hybrid courses, instructional strategies in the Pedagogy Portal, or the Faculty Development Collection.

Download the MERLOT Academic Continuity document here.

For more information on using MERLOT to help ensure Academic Continuity, contact Phil Moss, Director of Educational Partnerships and Planning at phil@merlot.org.

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