Distance Education

Teaching on the OpenLab

Welcome to the OpenLab! This section is designed to provide help for faculty who are using the OpenLab for distance learning, especially those who are new to the platform and perhaps to teaching with technology.

What is the OpenLab?

The OpenLab is City Tech’s open online community. It’s designed to support teaching, learning, and collaboration, and can be used by everyone at the college.

Open: Unlike traditional closed teaching platforms, the OpenLab allows members to share their work across the college and with the world.

Lab: The OpenLab provides a virtual space where students, faculty, staff, and alumni can work together, experiment, and innovate.

What can you use it for?

Courses: The OpenLab is used in hundreds of courses across the disciplines, from Dental Hygiene to Hospitality Management, English to Entertainment Technology. Faculty use the OpenLab as an alternative or supplement to Blackboard to share materials, hold discussions, collect assignments, grade coursework, and more.

Projects: It also supports thousands of projects, including student research projects, college committees, grant-funded initiatives, departmental working groups, and more.

Clubs: OpenLab members can gather around shared interests in official clubs or informal groups; examples include Girls Who Code and the Hospitality Management Ambassadors Club.

Portfolios: Each member can create a portfolio: ePortfolios for students and alumni, and professional and teaching portfolios for faculty and staff.

The OpenLab is also City Tech’s platform for Open Educational Resources (OER). Find OER created by City Tech faculty that you and your students can use.

Why use the OpenLab?

It’s open: Unlike traditional closed platforms, faculty and students can share their work with peers beyond the classroom and across the disciplines (there are also robust privacy settings). Faculty can share their pedagogies with colleagues and learn best practices from others. It makes the work of the college visible and accessible.

It’s flexible: Instead of being one-size-fits-all, it offers a rich set of tools that you can customize to meet your needs and use in creative and innovative ways.

It’s useful: The OpenLab runs on WordPress, an open source publishing platform that powers over 35% of sites on the internet; using it builds proficiency with digital media and equips students with important transferable skills.

It’s yours: The OpenLab has been built using free and open source software (not proprietary tools) by City Tech faculty, staff, and students. OpenLab members choose how to use the site, control the materials they post there, and can take them when they leave. Development of the site is driven by the community’s needs, not commercial considerations.

It’s a community: You can use it to connect with your colleagues as well as your students, which is especially important when working remotely.

Other resources

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