Discovering the Voice of Faculty and Staff at Minority Servicing Institutions in Their Authored and Curated Materials Within MERLOT

Streamed Session HBCU

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Brief Abstract

Finding disciplinary content that could be culturally contextualized by educators at minority serving institutions can help faculty address their diversity, equity, and inclusiveness goals.  The workshop will demonstrate and enable participants to use MERLOT’s new search tools to find materials authored, selected, and curated by people affiliated with HBCUs, HSIs, AANIPISIs, and TCUs.


Gerard L. Hanley Ph.D. is the Executive Director of MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching, and SkillsCommons ( for the California State University, the Director for the Center for Usability for Design and Accessibility and Professor of Psychology at California State University, Long Beach. At MERLOT and SkillsCommons, he directs the development and sustainability of the international consortium and technology strategy to provide open educational services to improve teaching and learning and continues to development the US Department of Labor's open repository of educational resources for workforce development. Gerry's previous positions include Assistance Vice Chancellor for Academic Technology Services at the CSU Office of the Chancellor, the Director of Faculty Development and Director of Strategy Planning at CSU, Long Beach.
Robbie K. Melton, Ph.D. Is a tenured professor and transitional dean of Graduate School for Tennessee State University. She is also founder and CEO of ‘RobbieTech4Teach’ and formally (20 years) Associate Vice Chancellor of Mobilization Emerging Technology for Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) assigned to develop the system’s Strategic Emerging IOE Technology Planning and provide system-wide Professional Development and Faculty Training related to education technology support and services for teaching, learning, training, and workforce development, product testing, pilots and research. Melton is currently overseeing research regarding the ‘Emerging Technology of The Internet of Everything (IoE) of Smart Connected Devices and Mixed Reality Technologies’ (VR/AR/Holograms/Wearables) for enhancing teaching, improving learning, and increasing workforce productivity; curating IOE Smart Educational Devices, Gadgets, and Tools; and primary investigator for HBCU OER Affordable Learning Solutions Pilots and OER Workforce Skills Commons

Extended Abstract

For the past 6 years, the HBCU Affordable Learning Community has been building the organizational, programmatic, and technical foundation for their Affordable Learning Solutions program for all HBCUs to significantly reduce the cost of course materials for their students.  With Tennessee State University as the national lead institution and with the support from MERLOT-SkillsCommons, we have developed a easy-to-use portal for free and open educational resources to help faculty find quality educational content with confidence.  One of the goals for the project is also to support HBCU faculty in contributing their expertise in selecting as well as creating ‘culturally contextualized’ curriculum for Africana students across disciplines and institutions.  By sharing over 500 of these free and open educational resources within the HBCU AL$ Community Portal, the HBCU AL$ community is providing easy access to all MERLOT users for these resources.  The mission of the HBCU AL$ community continues to develop and will be focused on:

  • Scaling the institutional capabilities of HBCUs to adopt and sustain AL$ programs on their campus
  • Sustaining a continuously growing collection of OER focused on African history, culture, and contributions across all disciplines which can support more inclusive curriculum in all higher education institutions.
  • Creating a continuously growing collection of Open Educational Practices (OEP) that is focused on inclusive educational pedagogies across all disciplines in all higher education institutions.  MERLOT-SkillsCommons’ Open Educational Practices portal of over 1,000 teaching and institutional open ePortfolio provides a foundation for more inclusive open educational practices.
  • Supporting faculty leadership in creating and implementing culturally contextualized OER by facilitating faculty communities of practice.

What does “Build Africana-contextualized collections of MIT OCW and open educational practices that are adopted by HBCU faculty and are shared with the world” mean?  Here are some initial guidelines:

  • Educational curricula across almost all disciplines can be contextualized with social-cultural-racial information and practices.
  • When disciplinary concepts are presented, are examples used to illustrate these concepts relevant and meaningful to Africana students?
  • When the researchers, artists, and scholars who contributed to the knowledge base of a discipline are presented, are Africana scholars included?
  • When students are given assignments required to demonstrate their understanding of the disciplinary concepts and operations, are the assignments relevant and meaningful to Africana students?
  • When faculty implement pedagogical practices to engaging students, including how students engage with each other, are these pedagogical practices respectful and responsive to the social-cultural-racial expectations of their communities?

MERLOT has been “putting educational innovations into practice” for 25 years and on new capability that MERLOT has added is to enable MERLOT users to easily find materials that have been authored by, contributed by, and/or curated by faculty, staff, and students at minority serving institutions.   The purpose of these new advanced search capability is to help people find materials across disciplines that are more likely to present content that is more contextualized by an Africana, Asian, Hispanic, and/or Native American culture and voice.  

The express workshop will first demonstrate and then will lead participants in the use of MERLOT’s advanced search tools to:

  1. Find all types of teaching in learning resources that have been authored, contributed, and/or curated by members of:
    1. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
    2. Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs)
    3. Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs)
    4. Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs)
  2. Find MERLOT members who are affiliated with
    1. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
    2. Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs)
    3. Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs)
    4. Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs)
  3. Find materials that are cataloged related to:
    1. African Studies
    2. African topics included across discipline
    3. Diversity, equity, and inclusiveness in
      1. Education
      2. Workplaces
      3. Professional Organizations.

The workshop will conclude with questions and discussions with the participants about what other free and open educational services might be helpful for them to achieve their diversity, equity, and inclusiveness goals at their institutions.