Distance Education

Example courses

These are just a few of the hundreds of courses running on the OpenLab, selected to illustrate some of the ways your colleagues are using the OpenLab for distance education. You can also check out the many courses we’ve featured In the Spotlight in the past, or explore the Courses directory for courses in your discipline.

Questions? Contact us at openlab@citytech.cuny.edu. You can also join the conversation in the Open Pedagogy project.

Sara Gómez Woolley, Advanced Strategies in Illustration (Spring 2020)

Sara Gómez Woolley uses both the Course Profile and Course Site for her course, Advanced Strategies in Illustration, along with student ePortfolios.

On the Course Profile:

On the Course Site:

  • She uses categories to organize posts on the site, with menu items corresponding to the categories (Guest Speakers, Class Posts, Sketchbook, Resources).
  • She uses the Home page as a blog, for communicating with students.
  • Students post their coursework in the Class Posts and Sketchbook areas, and via linked posts on their ePortfolios.
  • She has a “virtual office” area where students can post questions; she encourages students to answer one another’s questions, and invites students to message her via the OpenLab if their question is of a personal nature.

Kate Poirier, Calculus II (Spring 2020)

Kate Poirier uses the Course Site for her Calculus II course. Because she is not using the Discussion or Files features in the Course Profile, she has disabled them, to avoid confusing students.

On the Course Site:

  • In addition to the syllabus and other course information, she provides links in the menu to open educational resources for her class: open textbooks and WeBWorK, a free and open source online math homework system.
  • She also uses categories to organize posts on the site.
  • She posts pre-class prep lessons for students to review before class.
  • She uses Webex for synchronous class meetings and office hours, providing links to recordings of the sessions for those who are not able to attend, and PDFs of her class notes, so there’s a complete record for all students to access at any time.
  • She also has a Weekly Check-In page with a link to a Google Form, where students report back privately about their progress.

Jason Ellis, Science Fiction (Spring 2020)

Jason Ellis uses the Course Site for his Science Fiction class. He disabled Files and Discussion on the Course Profile to avoid confusing students and to direct them towards the Course Site.

On the Course Site:

  • Before the transition to distance learning, he posted videos of each lecture to help all students maintain engagement with the class and support student note taking, which is a substantial part of each student’s final grade. These videos were shot using a camcorder positioned in the class to capture him speaking and the board or overhead behind him. He hosts his video on his YouTube channel, and embeds each video in an “Assignment” post that students respond to with comments.
  • After the transition to distance learning, he posts videos of each lecture made for easier readability of topics while providing a picture-in-picture view of himself speaking to his students. He makes these videos on his Windows 10 desktop computer using a webcam and two open-source programs: OBS Studio (for screencasting) and Shotcut (for editing the screencast). Read more about his setup and workflow in this Open Pedagogy post.
  • He uses Categories to organize Posts, including Announcements, Assignments, and Opportunities.
  • His Course Site’s menu items are linked to the relevant Categories.
  • Students will submit their research essays later this semester by creating a Post and assigning it an appropriate Category for student work.