MERLOT Virtual Speaker Bureau Brings Guest Experts Online

(May 14, 2004) -- MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching), an international cooperative of systems, consortiums, institutions of higher education, professional organizations, and individual members, is joining with Colorado Community Colleges Online to expand the capacity of MERLOT by making online guest speakers available to educators across its virtual community.

Since 1997, MERLOT has enabled educators to enrich their students’ learning experiences with multimedia learning objects. Adopting the practice of the Colorado Community Colleges Virtual Speakers Bureau, MERLOT will soon allow educators to find members of the MERLOT community willing to be online guest discussants, further enriching the learning experiences within online courses.

This past year, students and faculty in CCCOnline classes have had exchanges with storytelling experts, literary experts, online writing lab directors, and even a tenor from the Metropolitan Opera. According to faculty who have used the service, guest speakers add energy and expertise to the classroom without constraints of time and travel.

“MERLOT is such a well matched site for bringing guest discussant expertise to an online educational community—what an opportunity!” said Alice Bedard-Voorhees, Coordinator of the CCCOnline Virtual Speaker Bureau.

“Discussions between students and experts, be they faculty or guests, are a hallmark of a quality higher education. Enabling MERLOT users to find easily both human and online resources to engage the minds of students is the goal that both MERLOT and CCCOnline are pursuing with this collaboration,” added Gerry Hanley, executive director of MERLOT. “The expertise that CCCOnline brings to the MERLOT community is a great benefit and exemplifies how cooperation between higher education institutions can rapidly and effectively provide shared services we all need.”

The collaboration between CCCOnline and MERLOT will serve the members of both organizations. MERLOT (www.merlot.org) is an international cooperative that provides educators with a free website where they can find high-quality online resources for improving learning and teaching. The Community Colleges of Colorado is a virtual consortium serving thirteen campuses in Colorado, and a leading innovator for the delivery of online instruction.

For more information contact: Dr. Gerard L. Hanley, executive director, MERLOT, 562-951-4259, ghanley@merlot.org or
Alice Bedard-Voorhees, Colorado Community Colleges Online, 303-794-6526, bedardvoorhees@earthlink.net

The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 409,000 students and 44,000 faculty and staff. Every year, the system graduates about 77,000 students with baccalaureate degrees. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. See www.calstate.edu.

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Last Updated: May 14, 2004

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