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Contributing Open Content to MERLOT

These instructions will help you learn how easy it is to contribute materials to MERLOT. You can contribute materials that you have developed or ones that you find online. Because MERLOT is a catalog of online resources, there must be a URL for the material you want to add.

screenshot of MERLOT homepage showing that user is logged in

Only MERLOT Members may contribute materials. Therefore, the first step is to make sure you are logged into MERLOT. (It is helpful to click Remember Me so that every time you access MERLOT, you are automatically signed in.

It is easiest to have both the MERLOT website and the URL for the material you are adding open on your desktop. As an example, below is the website I am going to be adding to the MERLOT Collection.

Screenshot of sample webpage to be submitted to MERLOT with arrow pointing to web address

I can copy the URL directly from the website and enter it into the box on the homepage of MERLOT.

Screenshot of MERLOT with arrow pointing to box in which the user can paste a URL

Here, you can paste the URL into the correct space. Type the title of the website into the next box. Be sure that your title closely matches the title on the original website, but you can change it to make it easily recognized by other users. Then click the Next button.

Screenshot of MERLOT "contribute a Material" page with arrow pointing to the "test" button

Step 1 of the submission process will then appear with the Title you have entered as well as the URL. You can ensure that the URL is correct by clicking on the "Test" button. If there is a mirror site, it can also be added at this time.

Screenshot of sample webpage with arrow indicating the technique of using the right click button to find the properties of an image

Something that makes the listing in MERLOT a little more attractive is to have a display image. You can find something on the website to display (in this case, a copy of the book) and find the Properties of it. You do so by right-clicking the image. The following display will appear and you select Properties.

Screenshot of sample webpage with arrow indicating where the user can copy the image location in the "properties" dialogue box

The Properties box pops up and you can copy the URL for the image. Note that these normally have an image file in the address, such as jpg.

Screenshot of Merlot "contribute a Material" page with arrow indicating where user can paste an image location from another website

Paste the image URL into the box and then click on the Next button.

Screenshot of MERLOT "contribute a Material" webpage with arrow indicating text that warns if a site has been previously submitted to MERLOT

This step is included for information purposes only. If the site has been previously submitted to MERLOT, this notice will occur, advising you that the site has already been submitted. You may want to read what has been said about it, but you should also end your submission at this point.

screenshot MERLOT "Contribute a Material" webpage showing that a user must select a Material Type before submission. In this case reference material is selected

Given that the site has NOT been previously submitted, click on Next in step 1. You will be taken to Step 2. Complete a description of the material to create a general summary of what is included in the site as well as where it could be used.

The description is one of the most essential contributions you will make to MERLOT. Your description will help some decide if they want to learn more about the website. It should include the following:

  • Your first sentence should be a brief overview of the website.
  • In the next sentences, you can highlight the subject matter/topic areas covered in the website, features of the website, possible learning goals that could be achieved through the use of the resource, and who might find the resource most useful.
  • Provide a brief list of the features of the website (e.g., images/graphics, video, audio, quizzes/tests/assessments, simulations, tutorials, teacher's guide, learning assignments, etc) to help other MERLOT users quickly learn about your choice.
  • Sometimes a website is part of a much larger website, so a statement describing this situation, (e.g., "This is the first section of a three-section tutorial.") can be very useful.

You then need to select the Material Type from the drop-down list. For a short description of these types, go to: http://taste.merlot.org/learningmaterials.html In this case, we have selected Reference Material by highlighting it.

Screenshot of MERLOT "contribute a Material" page with one arrow indicating where to specify the audience and a second arrow specifiying where to enter keywords

Determine the audience for the material by checking each of the boxes that apply. In this case, there is a range from high school to professional.

You can also now add Keywords that can also be used in the search for the material. In this case, we have added "competitive" "intelligence" and "research."

Click Next to go to Step 3.

Screenshot of MERLOT "contribute a material" page with arrow indicating the select a category option

In Step 3 you will identify the material. You may add the material to several categories, but please be as specific as possible. In this case, I see this as being a resource in any Business class, but most specifically when doing competitive intelligence research. Therefore, I first selected Business from the drop down list.

Screenshot of MERLOT "contribute a material" page with arrow indicating the select a sub-category option

Once I select that, I get sub-categories under Business. Since I think it is good for any Business class, I select General.

Screenshot of MERLOT "contribute a material" page with arrow indicating the select a category option and the subcategory selected

Notice that there are no other "Select a Category" listings. I click Add and it is added to the listing.

Screenshot of MERLOT "contribute a material" page with arrow indicating the select another sub-category option

I also think it is particularly suited for a Marketing Research class. In this case, I select Business, then Marketing, and now there is an additional subcategory under that, so I select Marketing Research. You can see that it already shows Business/General so this will be an additional listing. I click Add again.

Screenshot of MERLOT "contribute a material" page with arrow indicating the to select an additional category option

This shows that it is in both categories. There is also an opportunity to show the language in which the material is written. The default is English. If your material is in English, there is no need to do anything. However, if it is not, then you should select the appropriate language. Click "Next" and move to Step 4.

Screenshot of MERLOT "COntribute a Material" page with arrow indicating "add" button to add information about an author

Step 4 is information about the Author. Please try to find the actual author's name and enter it with the First Name and Last Name. For the current material, there is no author listed, only the company name. We also enter an email address for the company. Please try to find an email address so the Author can be contacted. Here, we enter the email and organization and click "Add." Many times there are several authors of a material. In that case, you can easily add another one. Note here that there is only one Author, and we see that it has been added.

Now we click on Next and go to the final Step.

Screenshot of MERLOT "COntribute a Material" page showing the "optional information" step

Step 5 asks for optional information. You will first be asked to identify the Technical Format. Since this is a website, we select HTML/Text. However, there are many other formats, as you can see from the drop down list.

Screenshot of MERLOT "COntribute a Material" page showing the "Technical Format" step

If you think there is a need for additional technical information (i.e., the site needs to be viewed in a certain version of Internet Explorer), it can be written in the Technical Requirements area. Other questions that can be answered are:

  • Learning Management System - if you know whether this is particularly compatible with one of the LMSs, you can indicate which one.
  • Material Version - If there is a version specified, you may enter it.
  • Cost involved - The default is Unsure. In this case, we know there is no cost associated with usage, so we check No.
  • Source Code Available - If there is a statement on the website that the computer code has an open source licenses, check YES.
  • Section 508 Compliant - Section 508 refers to requirements for making technology-based materials accessible to people with disabilities. If a website is "Section 508 Compliant," there should be a statement on the website indicating that the website has been evaluated for accessibility and has "passed." If there is no information about accessibility, check UNSURE.
  • Copyright - Many websites have a copyright statement, frequently in the footer of the website. You can also find copyright statements in the "Acceptable Use Polices" of a website (if they have one). In the example we're using, we would check YES for copyright.
  • Creative Commons - please indicate if the site shows that it has a Creative Commons license. In this case, nothing was shown. (Note: if there is a Creative Commons license it would appear as an icon on the bottom right of each of these pages. For more information - http://taste.merlot.org/acceptableuserpolicy.html)
Screenshot of MERLOT "COntribute a Material" page showing the submit button

The final step is to click on Submit.

Screenshot of MERLOT showing the newly submitted material with display imageScreenshot of MERLOT showing the newly submitted material without a display image

You will immediately see your submission. (Now, doesn't it look better with the book there rather than "image not available?"

Screenshot of MERLOT showing that the newly submitted material shows in your member profile

This will also appear on your own Member profile as a Submitted Material