The contribution of Open Educational Resource repositories to the quality and accessibility of higher education and to the general public is steadily growing year by year. Such repositories enable lecturers, teachers, and students at all levels of education to easily find learning objects most suitable to their needs, to reuse existing resources, and to develop and redevelop new ones based on existing content.
MERLOT (http://www.merlot.org) is the leading U.S.-based international learning consortium and publicly available digital repository, containing metadata for n 25,000+ online learning objects. MAOR, the Israeli community and metadata and object repository (http://maor.iucc.ac.il) was developed by MEITAL (IUCEL: Inter-University Center for e-Learning) in cooperation with MERLOT.
Through these online communities we encourage faculty to share materials and teaching methods, and learn from each other's classroom experiences. In order to enhance the pedagogical content knowledge of faculty in various disciplines, MERLOT has created more than 22 discipline communities that peer-review the materials, as well as expand the shared teaching expertise available for their reuse and adaptation. MERLOT also provides social networking and other tools for professional and scholarly collaborations among disciplinary and institutional colleagues.
MEITAL and MERLOT are currently working on the formation of the new discipline community of Jewish Studies. This community will be led by Jewish Studies researchers from Israeli institutions, in collaboration with experts from around the world. The community will facilitate the incorporation of learning objects in the discipline of Jewish studies, and will assist the process of peer review, which will assist optimal use of the objects by teachers, learners and researchers in Israel and around the world. Eventually, it is expected that this collaborative community will be the authoritative, international source of online learning materials for the discipline of Jewish Studies.