The MELO Social Network



This diagram was created by Steve Lonn (a Research Specialist in the USE Lab) and depicts the “MELO Social Network”. Each circle represents a different member of the group and each line illustrates how faculty, staff, and graduate students are connected to the group.  At the heart of the diagram are Nancy and Brenda, who founded the MELO group and are connected to the UM Merlot community. Radiating outward are staff (shown in blue) and faculty (purple). The addition of staff members, like Chace Masters, Steve Lonn and Emily Rodgers, to the MELO group have enabled us to openly share the learning resources we’ve created, to tap into new and emerging technologies, and to understand the outcomes of our efforts through analysis of learning resource usage.  Around the periphery we see the graduate students (shown in yellow), whose efforts drove each of the MELO projects in each discipline and made them each a reality in the classroom.

The most remarkable features of the diagram are those that are not visible.  If we could represent all of the shared ideas and collaborations between faculty, staff, and graduate students, the diagram would be filled with lines. We refer to this phenomenon as “cross-pollination”, which we see to be the most powerful outcome of our group.  Cross-disciplinary pollination, which we’ve documented primarily through anecdotal evidence, arises naturally as faculty and students from very different disciplines share ideas openly and inspire each other.

The final, and most important, feature of the diagram are the thousands of invisible dots, which represent the undergraduate students whose classroom experience was impacted by the MELO group. If we could take you on a tour of the diverse set of MELO classrooms you might see students learning to speak Spanish using Grammar Podcasts ( created by Tatiana Calixto. You could witness a dynamic classroom discussion between Michael Witgen and his students in History 373: History of the American West, which was inspired by the interactive syllabus created by the history cohort ( In Statistics 250 you might see students engaged in “Name that Scenario” a learning object ( designed to help students learn to apply statistic procedures in different scenarios and created by Brenda Gunderson and the statistics cohort. Finally, you might see students from all over campus watching video testimonials about revision in writing (, which were created by Christine Modey and others at the Sweetland Center for Writing.

These and other MELO projects are shared on Open Michigan at


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