We are pleased to announce the publication of the fourth issue of
Academic Commons. As always, you can stay informed of newly released
material via our RSS feed at

You can find a complete Table of Contents at

Podcasting in Education: A Perspective from Bryn Mawr College
by Laura Blankenship
Podcasting is not just about the one-to-many delivery of lecture
material; it also allows professors to reconfigure the use of class time
in ways that enhance the intimate learning environment that is the
hallmark of the small liberal arts college. Laura Blankenship describes
the experiences of three Bryn Mawr professors in the sciences who began
using podcasting last year.

French through Songs and Singing: Language and Culture Through Music Online
by Aaron Prevots
Aaron Prevots was looking to incorporate music more in his French
language, literature and culture classrooms, and beyond that, to create
a dynamic, collaborative space online in which to share this music and
exchange information, articles and music-related pedagogy with others.
The result: a multimedia educational Web site featuring music-related
articles, streaming MP3's of primarily public domain material and
annotated, downloadable lyrics.

Assessing Learning Objects: The Importance of Values, Purpose and Design
by Diane J. Goldsmith
Despite claims that "the learning object is dead," learning object
repositories continue to grow. But how do we measure the success of a
learning object?  Diane Goldsmith provides her own clear and
comprehensive "assessment" of the problem.

The Horizon Report: A NERCOMP SIG Event
by Gail Matthews-DeNatale
The Horizon Report, a publication developed by the New Media Consortium
in collaboration with the Educause Learning Initiative (ELI) "identifies
and describes emerging technologies likely to have a large impact on
teaching, learning or creative expression within higher education."
Reviewer Gail Matthews-Denatale attended a NERCOMP event about the 2006
Horizon report and reports on a fascinating workshop where
"presentations were adapted on-the-fly to address participant questions
and therefore sessions merged into a fluid day-long experience."

Using Digital Images in Teaching and Learning: Perspectives from Liberal
Arts Institutions
by David Green
David Green's study focuses on the pedagogical implications of the
widespread use of the digital format for images. While the core of the
study involved changes in the teaching-learning dynamic and the
teacher-student relationship, related issues concerning supply, support
and infrastructure rapidly became part of its fabric. In addition to the
report, the site contains a set of one-on one-interviews with faculty on
how digital changes everything.

You.Niversity? A Review of Reconstruction’s Special Issue:
“Theories/Practices of Blogging”
by Kevin Wiliarty
Amid what he calls "speculation and scuttlebutt" concerning blogging,
Kevin Wiliarty finds a welcome antidote in this recently-published
series of essays. True to the spirit of blogging, the contributions are
diverse and international, covering a wide range of topics and disparate
methodologies, from academic blogging, to blogging as a literary
enterprise, to blogging in journalism and beyond. Wiliarty provocatively
asks if more "effective usage of blogs is restricted, practical, and
collaborative rather than public, expressive, and individual."

Zotero: The Next-Generation Research Tool
by Roy Rosenzweig
Zotero is a free, easy-to-use open source research tool that helps you
gather and organize resources (whether bibliography or the full text of
articles), and then lets you to annotate, organize and share the results
of your research. It combines the best parts of older reference manager
software such as EndNote with more "modern" features like sorting,
tagging, advanced searches and more.

Open Context: Community Data-sharing and Tagging
by Eric Kansa
Open Context, a free, open-access online database resource for
archaeology and related fields, is a highly-generalized tool that pools
and integrates individual researcher datasets and museum collections. To
help make sense of this widely varying body of material, we have
developed a user folksonomy system. Individual users can add value to
the pooled content by identifying and annotating items of interest using
a tagging system. Open Context has a variety of demonstration datasets
now available for exploration and testing. These include field
archaeology contextual records and finds registers, geo-archaeological
samples, and a variety of zooarchaeological analyses. Some projects have
rich image collections and narrative material, and others are of primary
interest for specialist comparative analyses.

Ukiyo-E Techniques
by Jennifer Curran
This site is intended to help students, collectors and researchers to
better understand the Ukiyo-e technique. Photographs and video clips
show demonstrations of the techniques by master printmaker Keiji
Shinohara. These demonstrations are accompanied by traditional prints
from the Davison Art Center collection at Wesleyan University, and
contemporary prints by Keiji Shinohara.With its impressive depth of
information, captivating visuals and easy navigation, the Ukiyo-E
Techniques website highlights the level of collaboration that is
required to produce these sorts of materials.

Renaissance Women, Text Encoding, and the Digital Humanities: An
Interview with Julia Flanders
by John Ottenhoff
Julia Flanders is a key figure in humanities computing and text encoding
initiatives. She is Director of the exemplary Brown University Women
Writers Project and Associate Director for Textbase Development at the
Brown University Scholarly Technology Group, and Editor in Chief of the
Digital Humanities Quarterly, due to launch in 2007. Academic Commons
recently caught up with her to talk with her about her projects.

Digital Image Interview Series: Robert Nelson
by David Green
Robert Nelson, studies and teaches medieval art at Yale University. He
came to Yale in 2005, after a long and distinguished career at the
University of Chicago. It was there that he started teaching with
digital images, and he has not looked back. He is co-curator of the
exhibition Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai, on display at
the Getty Museum through March 4, 2007.

Digital Image Interview Series: Ann Burke
by David Green
Ann Burke teaches evolutionary and developmental biology at Wesleyan
University. Her image-intensive classes now also use animations and she
looks forward to using 3-D images in the near-future. In 2005, she
developed, with the Wesleyan University Learning Object Studio, an
animation of the Body Wall Formation of the Chick Embryo, which has
provided a useful link between her teaching and research.

Digital Image Interview Series: Hank Glassman
by David Green
Hank Glassman teaches Buddhism, Religion and Gender, East Asian
Religions, Japanese Literature, Language, and History. Images have
become increasingly important in his teaching on Japanese language,
history, and culture and in his research on Japanese religions in the
medieval period. He constantly struggles with how best to display images
in his classes and how to help students engage them as texts.


Academic Commons Editorial Board:

Founding Editors:
Michael Roy, Wesleyan University, and John Ottenhoff, Alma College

Managing Editor: Jennifer Curran, Wesleyan University

Section Editors:

     *   Essays: David Bogen, Emerson College
     *   Reviews: Bryan Alexander, NITLE: The National Institute for
Technology and Liberal Education
     *   Interviews: Michael Roy, Wesleyan University
     *   Showcase: Rachel Smith, NMC: The New Media Consortium
     *   Announcements: Jennifer Curran, Wesleyan University
     *   Center for Teaching and Learning:  John Ottenhoff, Alma College
     *   Developer's Kit: Peter Schilling, Amherst College
     *   Library: M. Claire Stewart, Northwestern University