Leading Seminars via the Academic Commons

NITLE encourages members of the liberal education community to use the Academic Commons to lead seminars that will increase the community’s collective capacity to engage in strategic, effective collaborations focused on integrating pedagogy, inquiry, and technology. We specifically encourage seminars that focus on specific practices, outcomes, and lessons learned that are extensible beyond their immediate context and relevant to a variety of institutions and organizations.

Academic Commons seminars enable real-time inter-institutional exchange and help participants build their personal learning networks. Using videoconferencing technologies, seminar leaders connect with colleagues from a variety of fields. Participants share knowledge, discuss questions and problems, learn from each other’s work, and generate fresh insights about how to collaborate strategically and successfully around the mission-driven integration of pedagogy and technology. Leading a seminar can be an effective way to expand the impact your collaborative initiative or program. Seminars are a good channel for engaging a broader network of colleagues, finding potential collaborative partners, or simply sharing your hard-earned knowledge with others and gathering useful feedback.

Use these guidelines and templates to create your seminar announcement. By submitting a seminar announcement to the Academic Commons, you agree to lead the seminar as described and grant permission to NITLE to distribute the announcement, related materials, and a recording of the seminar under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please submit only complete, publication-ready announcements. We do not accept seminars that promote or advertise specific products or services. If your announcement does not conform to the template provided, we cannot guarantee its timely distribution. If you have any questions, please contact us at contact@nitle.org.

Required Elements

Seminar Announcement Checklist

(Standard language is included in italics.)

  1. Title
  2. Date and Time. All times Eastern.
  3. Program Description (200-300 words). Describe the seminar program. What is its focus? Why is it important? How will the interaction be structured (e.g., its format and/or agenda)? What can participants expect, and how should they prepare to participate?
  4. Expected Outcomes (50 – 100 words). Describe the expected outcomes of the seminar for participants and for sponsors/leaders.
  5. Seminar Materials. Please take some time to read or explore the following resources so you’re ready to participate actively. [Insert a bullet list of citations—preferably with links or .pdfs—for all preparatory materials for participants, such as videos, podcasts, articles, tools, discussion guides, etc.[1]
  6. About the Seminar Leaders. Write a brief description (100 – 150 words) of each of the seminar’s leaders, including their names, job titles, institutional affiliations, brief professional biographies. Indicate the role each will play within the context of the seminar[2]
  7. Event Hashtag (optional). Participants are encouraged to share their thoughts on Twitter via this event’s hashtag: [insert hashtag].[3]
  8. Registration. Those interested in [insert description of specific interests that will be addressed by the seminar] will especially benefit from participating in this seminar. Attendance by institutional teams is encouraged; individuals are also welcome to participate. No additional registration fee applies, but space is limited. Please register online by [insert registration deadline].
  9. Questions? For more information about this seminar, please contact [insert main contact person’s name] at [insert contact’s e-mail address].[4]
  10. Keywords. Provide a list of 2 – 5 keywords that will help potential participants find your announcement.
  11. Registration questions. Submit up to two questions that allow you to gather specific feedback from registering participants. These will be included in the registration form.
  12. Practice dates. List two possible dates (with times) for your practice session: a first choice and a back-up choice.[5] You must schedule at least one practice session.

Checklist for Submitting Your Seminar Announcement

Follow these formatting and style guidelines.

  1. Your submission must conform to Chicago Manual of Style guidelines.
  2. Your document should be single-spaced and left-justified. Do not insert extra line breaks between paragraphs or indent paragraphs. Use only a single space after periods and colons. Use 11-point Arial black font.
  3. Keep formatting within your document to a minimum. Simple formatting such as bold, italics, underline are acceptable. Section headings should be left-justified, in title case, and in bold. Do not use spacing, tabs, or line breaks to format your text.

Save and name your files as follows.

  1. Create/save the main text file for your seminar announcement in Microsoft Word, using this filename format: MainContactLastName_SeminarTitle_YYYY.doc (or .docx[6]
  2. Save photographs of seminar leaders as high-resolution .jpg files (at least 300 x 300 pixels), using this filename format: Lastname_YYYY.jpg

Send your submission to contact@nitle.org.

  1. The Word file containing the main text of your seminar announcement should be complete, fully proof-read, properly formatted, clean (no-mark-up or sidebar comments), and publication-ready. Submissions are published as received. NITLE cannot provide post-publication correction of errors originating from the author’s final submission.
  2. Send all of your files as attachments to a single e-mail to contact@nitle.org. Please include main contact person’s name and “Academic Commons Seminar” in the subject line. Indicate in the body of your e-mail the number of files that you are sending.


[1]Discussion guides help participants share what they have learned and engage colleagues locally after the seminar ends. They promote rigorous, interactive inquiry into the practical issues and solutions raised by the seminar at the local level. Those who attend seminars use discussion guides as a conversation starter on their campuses. If you would like to view sample discussion guides, please let us know (contact@nitle.org).

[2]Examples of roles are facilitator/moderator (required), speaker, panelist, discussant, contact person (required), backchannel moderator, etc.

[3] Hashtags can be used to promote the seminar and/or to serve as a backchannel for participants in-event.

[4]The contact person receives inquiries from potential participants and sends/receives official communications to/from NITLE.

[5]We recommend a practice session at least one to two weeks in advance of your scheduled seminar to test your computer setup, let you get comfortable with the technology, and run through your presentation. Additional practice sessions may be scheduled as needed.

[6] YYYY = year of submission