MERLOT and SkillsCommons

Preparing Teachers & Students for Online Learning

In response to the recent developments due to the coronavirus, SkillsCommons and MERLOT have created this FREE online resource to help both Teachers and Students prepare to start teaching and learning online.

Free Teaching and Learning Online Materials

Teachers - Teaching Online

Virtual Labs for Online Courses

MERLOT has create a collection of virtual labs across a variety of STEM disciplines that can be very effective in supporting online instruction for laboratory courses.   The Virtual Labs portal also provides a collection of teaching ePortfolios by faculty implementing virtual labs and research on the effectiveness of using virtual labs.

The Basics for Teaching Online

Looking for free,  online mini-courses to help you learn the basics for teaching online?    Here are two courses developed by higher ed for higher ed funded by federal grants.  You can download the course files or take the course "in the cloud".

  1. Designing and Teaching Online course has six (6) easy-to-review modules to cover the basics created by Tyler Junior College.
  2. Introduction to Distance Education course has five (5) easy-to-review modules created by the Kenai Peninsula College and the University of Alaska Anchorage.   Includes FLASH videos so Internet Explorer browser works and Chrome browser might have problems.

Looking for Online Course Content?  

MERLOT is your free and open library of free and open course content across all academic disciplines.    In addition to its over 90,000 materials, it also simultaneously searches over 70 other free and open libraries as well as a dynamic, education-aligned searching of the web.

SkillsCommons is your free and open library of free and open workforce development and training resources funded by the U.S. Department of Labor.  It is a national repository of workforce OER that supported over 700 community colleges creating enhancements and innovations in their workforce curriculum that is now OER available to you.

Free Commercial Technology Services in Response to COVID 19


TechSmith is helping organizations and academic institutions who are preparing for prolonged absences and/or campus closures due to COVID-19. TechSmith is offering free access and expanded usage of tools that help enable business and educational continuity through June 30, 2020 to any organization that needs it.   Learn more....

Students - Learning Online

Student Readiness for Online Learning

Your students need to be prepared to learn online.   You can provide them self-assessments about their readiness to learn online and easy-to-use tutorials to learn the skills they need to be successful in online learning

  1. Self Assessments on Readiness for Online Learning:  Explore a collection of these self-assessment organized within MERLOT and choose ones that are right for your students.
  2. Tutorial for Online Learning:  The California Community College's Online Education Initiative created eleven (11) modules and 4 interactive tools to help students learn skills and plan for being a successful online student.

Competency-Based Tutorial for College Skills including Online Learning

MERLOT, SkillsCommons, and Gooru have created a self-paced, competency-based tutorial that faculty can add to their course as a supplemental learning activity.  The tutorial is like “Google Maps for Learning”; after a diagnostic to assess the learner’s current knowledge, the Navigated Learning tutorial delivers a pathway of learning resources and assessments to the learner’s destination.   The knowledge domains of College Skills includes guidelines for seeking advice, engaging with faculty, time management, and more as well as how to be a successful online learner.  The tutorial provides the faculty a dashboard on every learners’ progress in attain the various competencies.

Supporting Mentoring and Apprenticeships Online  

Face-to-face learning is essential for learners in apprenticeship programs and mentors face-to-face teaching is essential for successful learning.   There are many ways that online learning and teaching can augment and complement work-based learning.   SkillsCommons  has organized a wealth of resources that can help you integrate online teaching and learning within work-based teaching and learning.   SkillsCommons also provides exemplary models for apprenticeship program that were funded by the U.S. Department of Labor grants.

Let Students Find and Share Online Learning Resources That Work for Them!

MERLOT and SkillsCommons are free and open online libraries for everyone to use, including students!    Over 50,000 students from around the world are MERLOT members (it’s free to join) and have used it to support their own online learning.  Students can create their own personal collections of learning resources and easily share them with you and their fellow students. Providing your students an assignment to explore MERLOT and SkillsCommons and share the online resources they find most valuable helps them learn (and develop ICT literacy skills) and reduces faculty workload in finding the “good stuff” on the web.