CommonsCon 2016

CommonsCon 2016.


Your Colleagues in the Academic Commons would like to thank everyone who participated in the big event; we are very pleased with the outcome and grateful to everyone who made this event possible and successful.


The Academic Commons held CommonsCon: Teaching and Technology at Drew on Thursday, February 18th from 12:00 – 4:00. The event included a variety of poster-style presentations by students, faculty and staff about technology use in Learning and Teaching.

Keynote Speaker:

Tom Heinzen

Professor of Psychology William Paterson University

Game Design and Student Retention: An Extravagant Promise

Well-designed games can create extraordinary levels of the kind of perseverance that college students need to succeed. This presentation a) reviews core principles of game design, b) demonstrates how higher education is already structured as a poorly designed game, c) describes a game-based degree audit system designed by undergraduates and a professional graphics designer, d) assesses student reactions to the system, and e) demonstrates how particular game mechanics suggest novel solutions to the problem of student retention.

Featured Project:

Oliver Street Museum

Linda Swerdlow

Online Environmental Justice Museum
Professor of Education, Drew University

As part of the of the Drew MAT graduate course in Historical Inquiry, Social Studies candidates collaborated with Drew educational technology staff, the Ironbound Community Corporation and an eighth grade class at the Oliver Street School in Newark, NJ to create an online museum documenting the struggle for Environmental Justice in the Ironbound section of Newark. Drew MAT candidates taught the eighth grade students how to think historically and analyze primary source documents using a method devised by the professors at Stanford University Graduate School of Education. Then the four way partnership went into full gear.

The Ironbound Community Corporation provided access to their archives and found activists willing to be interviewed. The 8th graders learned the basics of conducting an oral history, devised questions and videotaped their interviews. Members of the Drew Technology staff trained the graduate students on how to use the technology to create an online museum and provided the resources needed for the videotaping. The eight graders worked in small groups with their graduate student mentors to create museum exhibits of the struggles in their community.

Linda Swerdlow, Associate Professor; Catherine Carmichael, Keenan Grey, Kevin Hasbrouck, Rafia Khatun; Graduate students

Additional Highlights:

Winners of The Alan Candiotti Fund
Gerald Liu and Giandomenico Sarolli

Gerald Liu: 3D Sculptures

Gerald will display two student 3D sculptures. They are liturgical objects designed for an experimental worship class in the Theological School. The course was entitled, “Witness Beyond Convention.” In the seminar, students were challenged to innovate new methods for worship ritual. Two students, Katherine Myers and Yolanda Croswell, designed and printed 3D religious artifacts as parts of their final projects.

Giandomenico Sarolli: DrewLab

Experimental Economics is at the cutting edge of Economic research. Using laboratory settings and controlled experiments, economists can study the behavior of economic decision makers. Thanks to DrewLab, a suite of experimental programs, we can bring this research here to Drew. We will be showcasing one of the programs we will be using to study risk aversion.

Drew Makerspace 2016:  Plans, Dreams and Aspirations

Mike Richichi

We’ve been working hard for the past year on plans to implement a Makerspace at Drew.  A Makerspace would be a dedicated facility to allow faculty, staff and students to take advantage of such technologies as 3D printing, electronics, laser cutters, to design and build objects to support teaching and instruction.  A successful Mini Maker Faire this past fall has developed momentum, and new equipment donations continue to enhance our existing offerings.  Our next steps are to secure funding to renovate a space in the Learning Center, and develop the support model for the program.  We will discuss where we are, our plans for the future, and inspire you to think of ways to integrate maker ideas into your classes.

NY Times in Education
Kathie Brown and Kathy Juliano

Kathie Brown has been using the New York Times as a principal resource in her class in the Theological School, PSTH 681, Language and Learning in Theological Education, a required class for first year international  students. She uses the New York Times, in particular, the Op-Ed section, both for Oral Discussion and Developmental Writing. Come discuss the advantages of using the Times as a pedagogical resource with Kathie, and talk to Kathy Juliano about your own Academic Pass.

Google Sites
Kevin Newburg

Come discuss with Kevin the use of Google Sites in your courses. Kevin will share the advantages and disadvantages of using Sites.

LMS Vendors

Brightspace by D2L
Canvas by Instructure
Joule by MoodleRooms

Learn how to “Google like a Boss”
Jennifer Heise

Almost everyone uses Google, but there are ways to use it better! Come discover some search tricks you might not be aware of. We will share handy tips for image searches, news searches, tilt searches, and conversions and fast facts. We will also cover Google Scholar.

My WC Online
Center for Academic Excellence

MyWConline is an online scheduling and record keeping service for writing and tutoring centers. By visiting, students can schedule appointments with tutors in the Center for Academic Excellence (CAE). The software helps the CAE track usage so that we can determine and meet the needs of students seeking academic support.

Margery Ashmun

Come learn about the teaching tool Kahoot!, which uses a game-based approach to make assessing student progress fun and easy and to promote learning retention.

Bruce Lancaster

Artstor builds and distributes the Digital Library, an online resource of 1.8 million images in the arts, architecture, humanities, and sciences, and Shared Shelf, a Web-based cataloging and image management software service that allows institutions to catalog, edit, store, and share local collections. Come talk to Bruce about Drew’s access to ArtStor.

Swank Motion Pictures
Ginny Palmieri

Drew is currently running a trial database from Swank of 100+ streaming films, which are discoverable in both the library catalog, and through the Library links A-Z list.  At this point, the films in the database were pre-selected, representing the 100 movies most frequently requested by academic institutions.  Should we decide to continue this service after the trial, the list will be fully customizable based upon our teaching needs.  Please stop by to see how it works.  Movies are now just a click away.

Google Apps for Education
Minjoon Kouh

Typically, introductory physics courses are taught with a combination of lectures and laboratories, where students have an opportunity to verify the natural laws through hands-on activities in small groups. This presentation reports the use of Google Drive, a free online document-sharing tool, in physics laboratories for pooling experimental data from the whole class, so that the trends in data are clearer and the underlying physics principles are demonstrated more effectively.

With the ever increasing usage and utility of computer technology in science, it is becoming more important for students to acquire computing skills in addition to analytical, mathematical, and laboratory skills. What is an essential computational skill set for today’s science students? In this presentation, I would like to share my experience of piloting a scientific computing course and the survey result of which topics students found interesting and relevant.

Door Prize: A free smart watch.

*Winner Erica Dunbar chose an Apple 38mm sport watch.