Humboldt State University

Center for Excellence in Learning & Teaching

Learning & Teaching Tips

Leveraging Technology for Instructional Furlough Days

Teaching often involves three types of interaction: student-teacher interaction, student-student interaction, and student-content interaction.

Due to furlough days, teaching this quarter will mean some reduction in student-teacher interaction, but adjusting your lesson design to include activities that can enhance student-student interaction or student-content interaction can also contribute to learning while maintaining instructional quality.

When adjusting your course design for student-content interaction during furlough days, consider using the following resources: Research Roadmap and MERLOT.

Research Roadmap

This online tutorial (available at: is an introduction to research skills. The seven, self-paced units in Research Roadmap are designed to teach students how to find appropriate sources for their papers so you don’t have to spend time doing this in class. They cover the basics, including how to distinguish between popular and scholarly sources, how information flows in different disciplines, how to select a topic and develop research questions, and how to search for, find, and evaluate information sources, as well as the ethics of information use, including copyright and fair use, how to avoid plagiarism, and how to cite sources correctly.

Research Roadmap includes a number of animations and interactive exercises and is ADA compliant. The units may be used as a whole or separately in any combination. Each includes a self-scoring quiz, the results of which can be sent to you if you instruct your students to enter your email address as part of their logon to the given quiz. You may add all of Research Roadmap, or any unit or combination, to the Moodle site for your course.

NOTE: Research Roadmap is intended to help improve how students research, so that they can tackle information problems in a variety of disciplines. For HSU-specific information with examples of how to search some of our databases, how to use our interlibrary loan service, etc., you may also be interested in the brief, captioned online video tutorials that we have created. The page includes links to tutorials from other universities that may also be of interest.


Description: MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning & Online Teaching) is a collection of over 20,000 free and peer-reviewed online teaching and learning materials. Merlot (available at: also offers a free and open community to share, advise, and evaluate online teaching and learning materials

How MERLOT can be used for teaching on furlough days:

1. Define the type of student-content interaction you want to provide (e.g., students interacting with one or a combination of the following content types: presentations/lectures, more explanation, more practice exercises/assignment, additional practice tests/quizzes, more references, complete tutorial, etc.) on a particular learning objective. Example: To provide additional explanation to students on how to read music by using an online tutorial.

2. Review/select a Merlot tutorial
For example:
Description: Interactive tutorial for learning to read music
Title: Reading Music
Material Type: Tutorial
Technical Format: Flash

3. For feedback, have each student write one sentence on each of the following: (1) what I now understand better and (2) one thing that is still confusing, and have them bring this to the next class meeting. At next class meeting, collect these responses, and start class with a review, randomly selecting from feedback submitted. Submitted papers can be used for attendance. Then proceed with re-teaching (if necessary) or to new lesson.

Merlot Quick-Start

Go to:
Click Learning Materials (under Exploring Merlot)
Choose from the following Material Types:

Case Study
Development Tool
Drill and Practice
Learning Object Repository
Online Course
Open Journal-Article
Open Textbook
Reference Material
Quiz/Test Simulation
Social Networking Tool
Workshop and Training Material

Or browse according to discipline:

Academic Support Services
Mathematics and Statistics
Science and Technology
Social Sciences

Tip References

Tip by Rowena Santiago, Teaching Resource Center, CSUSB)