Dr. Evey Honored for her Contributions to Online Learning
MERLOT is an international initiative that enables faculty to integrate technology into higher education. This online community of faculty, staff, students, and institutions collaborate to increase the quantity of high-quality web-based, interactive teaching, and learning materials. The MERLOT website is a free gateway for web-based materials that can be incorporated into coursework. Providing high-quality Open Educational Resources (OERs) online has been a growing concern since the advent of online education. It has taken on new urgency since mainstream education has been forced from the classroom to the web due to the coronavirus crisis.
“The PRE award is a nice recognition of my hard work and dedication to MERLOT and to OERs in general,” commented Dr. Evey.
Having received her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology in 1998 from Kent State University, Dr. Evey’s academic focus has been on Cognitive Psychology and Statistics and Research Methods. At Kent State Geauga, she teaches Basic Learning Processes, Psychological Research Methods, and General Psychology. A MERLOT member since 2002, she also serves as MERLOT’s Associate Editor in Psychology.
Recognizing that people — even educators — typically turn to Google or YouTube when they need information, Dr. Evey says, “While these can be great resources, there is a lot of junk on the internet, as well.” She and her colleagues on the Psychology Editorial Board presented "Advantages of Open Educational Resources Through MERLOT (and Why That Google Search Is Wasting Time)” at the 2018 Online Learning Consortium's Innovate Conference.
In contrast to a general Google search, “a search in MERLOT is set up to show you relevant materials from the MERLOT Collection, Other Libraries, and The Web,” Dr. Evey explains.
“One search can bring up a multitude of information with the first set being part of a reviewed collection. We believe that quality OERs are critical. Textbook prices have increased at levels outpacing inflation. The high cost of education includes having access to resources. Having easily accessible, low-cost resources has always been important. In our new reality, this is imperative.”
MERLOT created the Peer Reviewer Extraordinaire (PRE) award to honor the hard work and generous donation of members’ time, energy, and enthusiasm towards the growth and development of the organization. “We rely heavily on our Peer Reviewers to help expand the MERLOT collection and perform the Peer Review process,” said Jane Moore, Ed.D., Director of MERLOT Editorial and Professional Development Services.
In a press release announcing Dr. Evey’s honor, Dr. Moore said that Peer Reviewers Extraordinaire goes beyond the requirement of two reviews per year by completing at least 15 peer reviews in 12 months and submitting at least five materials to the MERLOT collection during that period. Dr. Evey completed 15 reviews and submitted five materials. She was among 32 reviewers from around the world to be named a 2020 MERLOT Peer Reviewer Extraordinaire.
Anyone can use MERLOT resources, conducting searches at no cost, Dr. Evey says. Free membership allows searchers to save their favorite sites with bookmark collections.
Also, anyone finding a useful resource can submit it to MERLOT for the editorial board to review in all fields of education. The MERLOT reviewers are educators who volunteer their time to support the resource collection. Submitted materials are reviewed by at least three MERLOT members who provide feedback to the authors. These completed reviews are then posted with links to the materials. Consequently, searches in MERLOT provide access to relevant, reviewed materials for teaching and learning, ensuring a level of quality surpassing the results of a general internet search.
Dr. Evey says, "I have worked with MERLOT for a long time and enjoy the relationships cultivated and the resources shared. At no point is any online collection complete, as new information is being created daily; MERLOT provides one resource anyone can use that includes reviewed materials. With the sudden need to teach virtually, a resource like MERLOT can be invaluable.”