Sharing Content via the Academic Commons

NITLE encourages members of the liberal education community to use the Academic Commons to share articles, case studies, calls for proposals, calls for participation, and other written content that will increase the community’s collective capacity to engage in strategic, effective collaborations focused on integrating pedagogy, inquiry, and technology. We specifically encourage contributions 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.

Contributions should be written for a general, professional audience engaged with the challenges and opportunities facing liberal education. The readers of the Academic Commons hail from a variety of disciplines, professional roles, and institutional settings, so please tailor your contribution so that it is accessible to a diverse audience. If your contribution includes appendices, graphics, or rich media such as audio and video clips, please pay special attention to the relevant guidelines pertaining to these. By submitting content for distribution via the Academic Commons, you attest that your submission is original, that you are the author, and that you grant permission to NITLE to distribute it under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

These guidelines are intended to help you present your submission in a readable, aesthetically appealing way. If your submission does not conform to these guidelines, we cannot guarantee its timely distribution. If you have any questions—including whether your contribution is appropriate for distribution via the Academic Commons—please contact us at

Content Submission Requirements

Submit only complete, publication-ready content. We do not accept promotional content. Content containing promotional elements or advertising will not be distributed via the Academic Commons.

Structure your article or case study as ordered below. (Required elements are in bold font.)
  1. Title
  2. Author Information: All authors’ names, job titles, institutional affiliations, e-mail addresses, brief professional biographies (100 – 200 words), and high-resolution professional photographs of each author (at least 300 x 300 pixels).
  3. Executive summary or abstract (required only for case studies): A 150 – 200 word summary of key points for busy readers.
  4. Keywords: A list of 2 – 5 keywords that will help readers find your content.
  5. Main body of submission: Fully proof-read and properly formatted.
  6. Acknowledgements of collaborators, colleagues, funding organizations, etc.
  7. Endnotes and Bibliography (required only if using notes-and-bibliography style citations): please consult the Chicago Manual of Style.

Secure all rights and permissions.

It is the responsibility of the author to obtain permission for the use of any copyrighted material incorporated into his/her submission, including images, sound, and video files. Permission should be formally obtained, in writing, from the person or entity holding the rights, and must cover reproduction in electronic form. If permission cannot be obtained for online content, please link to the content from your text.

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 new paragraphs. Use only a single space after periods and colons. Use 11-point Arial black font for main text and endnotes (if any).
  3. Keep formatting within your document to a minimum. Simple formatting such as bold, italics, underline are acceptable. Headings and subheadings should be left-justified, in title case, and consistently formatted across sections.
  4. Do not use spacing, tabs, or line breaks for the purposes of formatting text. Use tables only to display tabular data. Do not use tables to format text. Save tables as separate graphics.
  5. Keep graphics simple. Pay attention to color contrast and its impact on readability. Use black, white, flat grays, and solid colors (rather than patterns). For legends, captions, and other type embedded into graphics, use a font size between 8- and 12-points. Keep line weights between 0.5 and 2 points. As much as possible, minimize the number of fonts, type sizes, and line widths you use within and across graphics, and be consistent in your formatting.
  6. Do not insert graphics—such as figures, tables, charts, graphs, diagrams, maps, drawings, and photographs—into your main text file. Instead, note the approximate placement of specific graphics inline within the text file, referring to each graphic by its filename. For instance: “[Insert Authorlastname_Figure1_YYYY.jpg here, with caption]” OR “[Insert Authorlastname_Figure3_YYYY.jpg here, no caption]”
  7. Be sure to note whether a graphic is accompanied by a caption. Include the caption directly below the inline graphic locator. If the caption or any part of the caption is to be bolded, italicized, or underlined, it should be formatted thusly.
  8. Create each appendix as a separate document. In the header, insert identifying information as follows: “[Title of Main Submission], by [list of authors’ names], distributed via NITLE’s Academic Commons, [year].” The main text of your submission should include clear references to your appendices.

Save and name your files as follows.

  1. Create/save your main text file in Microsoft Word. Acceptable filename formats:
    1. Authorlastname_final_YYYY.doc (or .docx)
    2. Authorlastname1_Authorlastname2_final_YYYY.doc (or .docx)
    3. Authorlastname1_et al_final_YYYY.doc (or .docx)
  2. Create/save all graphics (e.g., photographs, tables, figures, screen captures) as high-resolution .jpg files. Acceptable filename formats:
    1. Authorlastname_Figure1_YYYY.jpg
    2. Authorlastname1_Authorlastname2_Figure2_YYYY.jpg
    3. Authorlastname1_et al_Figure3_YYYY.jpg
  3. Save a copy of permissions secured for copyrighted materials as a .pdf file, referencing the file to which it pertains in the filename. Acceptable filename formats:
    1. Authorlastname_Figure1Permission_YYYY.pdf
    2. Authorlastname1_Authorlastname2_Figure2Permission_YYYY.pdf
    3. Authorlastname1_et al_Figure3Permission_YYYY.pdf
  4. Save all appendices as separate .pdf files, divided according to how they are referenced in the main text. Acceptable filename formats:
    1. Authorlastname_Appendix1_YYYY.pdf
    2. Authorlastname1_Authorlastname2_Appendix2_YYYY.pdf.
    3. Authorlastname1_et al_Appendix3_YYYY.pdf.

Send your submission to

  1. The Word file containing the main text of your submission 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 Please include author names and “Academic Commons” in the subject line. Indicate in the body of your e-mail the number of files that you are sending.
  3. Please include a copy of all permissions secured.