ICT Literacy Integration Through MERLOT

Concurrent Session 9

Brief Abstract

This session explains how California State University's ICT Literacy Project helps faculty take advantage of MERLOT's community-built repository of learning objects to integrate information and communication technology literacy into their curriculum.


Dr. Lesley Farmer, Professor at California State University Long Beach, coordinates the Librarianship program. She earned her M.S. in Library Science at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and received her doctorate in Adult Education from Temple University. Dr. Farmer has worked as a teacher-librarian in K-12 school settings as well as in public, special and academic libraries. She chairs the IFLA's School Libraries Section. A frequent presenter and writer for the profession, she won American Library Association's 2011 Phi Beta Mu Award for library education and the 2015 Library Instruction Round Table Librarian Recognition Award. Dr. Farmer's research interests include digital citizenship, information literacy, collaboration, assessment and data analysis; she is also a Fulbright scholar. Her most recent books are Information and Digital Literacies: A Curricular Guide for Middle and High School Librarians (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015).

Extended Abstract

Students need to be (Information and Communications Technology) ICT literate in today's knowledge society. How can higher education institutions insure that students are prepared for full ICT participation and leadership? The California State University (CSU) system started the ICT Literacy Project to help faculty integrate ICT literacy into subject curricula. The lynchpin in this project is MERLOT:  Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching. Established by the CSU system, MERLOT is a community-built repository of over 60,000 learning objects.

MERLOT has several ways to search and locate relevant and developmentally appropriate learning objects. Users can also browse the bookmark collection and learning activities that collate and build upon these learning objects.  Anyone can access the resources, and educators can join MERLOT for free. MERLOT members can create their own bookmark collections, learning exercises, portfolios and courses for their own use as well as serving as a centralized URL for students to access.

I manage the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) Literacy Project, and have created an Editorial Board to systematically advance the project. Within the first year, 2015, over two hundred learning objects as well as fifteen bookmark collections and several courses and learning exercises have been added to MERLOT.  The ICT Literacy community portal (http://teachingcommons.cdl.edu/ictliteracy/index.html)  provide an overview of MERLOT and explains how to find ICT literacy learning objects, ICT literacy standards, and guidelines for ICT literacy enhanced assignments. I developed a four-part workshop on integrating ICT literacy into the curriculum which can be done as a self-paced tutorial, and used as a framework for conducting workshops for the academic community. Diego Bonilla heads the video part of the project, creating courses and a toolkit to optimize video as an educational and marketing tool.

The CSU, project Editorial Board and I realize the importance of identifying and partnering with key stakeholders in order to systematically introduce and optimize the impact of the ICT Literacy project in order to improve student achievement and lifelong learning. To this end, needs assessment were administered to CSU librarians and Affordable Learning Solutions directors. The results of those surveys have informed the project's activities, and help develop a means to facilitate campus-based use of MERLOT to advance student ICT literacy. For example, faculty wanted subject-specific resource guides, so twenty such guides were created, which included key terms, bibliographies, articles about ICT literacy integration, and learning activity idea starters. The video toolkit, whch helps campus leaders capture faculty success stories of integrating ICT literacy into their curriculum, was created as a way to make faculty aware of ICT literacy importance and concrete ways to address that need.

In short, this session explains this innovative ICT Literacy project -- its process, products and services -- so that other systems can draw upon MERLOT and replicate these efforts to help faculty take advantage of MERLOT to integrate ICT literacy – and their information expertise – into their site’s and system’s educational programs.