Academic Master


MERLOT Learning Objects: The Valley of the Shadow


Multimedia Education Resource for learning and online teaching, MERLOT is an online teaching and learning source for the higher education students and the teachers from the existing online academic resource and data available for the educational enhancement. MERLOT provides access to many interactive online sites and material for the development of learning and teaching objects and encouraging the online information transfer among the teachers and the students through these sites. In this assignment, we will discuss the contents of the online site case study document named as “The Valley of the Shadow.” The learning object is accessible through MERLOT.


The Valley of the Shadow is an interactive online site. The document type of this site is a digital historical case study. The Valley of the Shadow is about two communities in the American civil war including Virginia and Pennsylvania. The text of the site is briefly explained in written form, but it is informative as it provides hundreds of original documents, newspapers, letters, diaries, church records, and speeches of the people that took part in the Civil war. There is a heavy study material on the site. It serves to help fulfill the instructional purposes of providing access to the learning object easily, quickly, and in an enjoyable manner. The students can access so much information about the topic of their interest just by clicking the hyperlinks. There are many hyperlinks used in the learning material, which serves as a source of huge information for the students.

If they want more details about a particular topic, they can click the link and get more information on that which is a way to promote the learning. The Valley of the Shadow provides the students to get informed about the people living before and during the civil war. Whenever the text is limited, there are many supporting materials like digital graphics, visuals, and audios available to help the students get more guidance on the topic. In “Minds on Fire,” Brown and Andler talked about the new and emerging tools for educating students. The students in this 21st century prefer to learn and work in a social group and in an interactive way, for which such kind of online sites and virtual classes can be helpful for them. They can work individually in these interactive sites to get information (Brown & Andler, 2008). The students and the teachers both are in control. By learning from the social and open education with the latest technology, it allows some control to the students to create virtual groups, but the teacher also has control on student and summon them to come in the virtual class.

The learning object “The Valley of the Shadow,” has unique and interesting navigations that attract the users. The graphics used for directing the user to any topic they want to explore, are exceptional and easy to use. User-friendly navigations may allow the students to get indulged in the online material as they do not feel it a boring task to read. The users must not get confused because the navigation is clear, do not misdirect, and easy to understand. It serves as a bridge to access the knowledge and learning for the students.


The digital learning tools and learning objects are different from the traditional learning tools. They are more interactive, attractive, and interesting for the students than the traditional tools like books and handouts. They provide up to date information and ability to further explore more information just by one click, but the traditional tools have limited and not necessarily recent information. Due to these benefits, learning objects not just enhance learning but also the teaching methods too. Technology plays a vital role in expanding the concept of e-learning, as it provides access to more and latest information to the teachers and students.


Brown, J., & Andler, R. (2008). Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0. EDUCAUSE REVIEW, 16-32.



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