The Thoughtful Egg: A Learning Community of Culinary, Baking, and Art History Classes

Student photo of an egg for group project on photographer Alexander Rodchenko

Student photo of an egg for group project on photographer Alexander Rodchenko

Last fall, Professors Sandra Cheng (HUM, Living Lab Fellow), Kylie Garcelon (HGMT, Living Lab Associate Fellow), and Joanne Jacus (HGMT) participated in “The Art of Food,” a learning community between the Hospitality Management and Humanities Departments. Entry-level students enrolled in their first lab courses, either Professor Jacus’s Baking and Pastry I (HGMT 1204) or Professor Garcelon’s Culinary I (HGMT 1203), came together in Professor Cheng’s art history course dedicated to studying the history of photography (ARTH 1100). One objective of the learning community was to foster stronger bonds between Hospitality students in order to emphasize the importance of teamwork, an essential practice for success in culinary labs and in the daily operations of commercial kitchens.

Egg and photography themes in collaborative poem written during shared luncheon

Egg and photography themes in collaborative poem written during shared luncheon

M.F.K. Fisher’s “How not to boil an egg” provided the theme for the learning community as a shared reading between all three classes. Students engaged with the Fisher reading in individual sections as well as in a shared dining experience, in which faculty and students dined together. The shared meal included a shared poetry writing exercise that reinforced the structure of group work promoted in culinary labs and in the art history class.

Whether in culinary labs or the lecture class, students were asked to contemplate creative expression in a myriad of ways, which included considering the visual elements of culinary production, the study of poetry in culinary labs, or taking photographs of eggs for group projects on important photographers. All three classes shared a central website on the OpenLab for the learning community, which was filled with student reflections and examples of student photography. The learning community culminated in smart phone photo contest, from which the winning photos will be exhibited in City Tech’s Janet Lefler Dining Room.

Jeremy Seto: Study Rats! An Innovative Learning Community To Promote Exploration

Garbage in your neighborhood, part of a student study on waste in Biology I

Garbage in Local Neighborhoods, part of student studies on waste in Biology I

Last fall, a unique learning community brought together first-year students in English, Math, and Biology courses. 24 English composition students in Professor Suzanne Miller’s ENG 1101 along with 24 Math students in Professor Lin Zhou’s MAT 1175 section came together in Professor Jeremy Seto’s BIO 1101 Biology I course.  Exploration was the theme of the learning community that encouraged students to better understand their environment in a qualitative and quantitative manner. Professor Seto helped students identify math problems, Professor Zhou helped her Math students find the solutions, and Professor Miller helped the Composition students articulate problems and solutions. In an early assignment, students read about the local rat problem in Manhattan’s Upper East Side and responded to the article on the OpenLab. Professor Seto even contributed a graphic decomposition study to illustrate the effect of poison on rodent control. Soon after, students were asked to document the waste in their own neighborhoods to compare to the Manhattan rat problem. The photo essays encouraged students to better relate the terms and concepts they learned in the classroom to their own environment (click here for an example of  student documentation). Simultaneously, students learned to better articulate their analysis of texts and acquired basic skills such as distinguishing between primary and secondary sources. Assignments were scaffolded to help students draw connections between the diverse courses and their own lives. For a group project, students in English Composition and Math worked together to identify and solve a math problem in Biology I. Over the course of the semester, student groups identified a challenge, formulated questions to solve the problem, and collectively answered the questions. Each group was tasked with creating a poster to illustrate the process of investigating problems and finding solutions.

Explore Professor Seto’s Learning Community here.

Paul King: The Field Trip as Architectural Scavenger Hunt

Professor Paul King teaching on the Brooklyn Waterfront

Professor Paul King teaching on the Brooklyn Waterfront

Professor Paul King heads a unique learning community comprised of two classes, ARCH 1200 Architectural Drawing II and ARCH 1290 Architectural CADD, both taught by him. Using the learning community framework to combine the two classes offers increased one-on-one contact hours between professor and students, and it allows for greater flexibility with lessons. Both courses share a common class website on the OpenLab that links to team pages for group projects. Professor King applies numerous innovative pedagogical strategies to his courses, including a motivating field trip early in the semester that allows students to apply practical, disciplinary knowledge as well as become better acquainted with their teammates.

A field trip to the nearby Brooklyn waterfront launches a two-part assignment for which students are assessed for individual work and a group presentation. Professor King uses a detailed worksheet to transform a field trip to Brooklyn Bridge Park into a site visit. Students are asked to present a preliminary subject for an individual case-study that they continue working on during the semester. Working in teams, students prepare slideshow presentations that present team members and documentation of architectural structures related to “movement,” “expansion joints,” “points of failure,” “retrofits,” and things that need improvement in design. The early field trip enhances class objectives by encouraging students to discover and apply architectural concepts in real settings. Moreover, the class outing creates an opportunity for students to interact beyond classroom walls to foster group dynamics.

Click here to see a final Powerpoint presentation of the Brooklyn Bridge Park site visit by a student team.

The President’s Taste Test: Wine Making in Karen Goodlad’s Class

Guests are served student wine blends in the Janet Lefler Dining Room at City Tech

Guests are served student wine blends in the Janet Lefler Dining Room at City Tech

In honor of Presidents’ Day, it is fitting to showcase a class lesson conducted by Professor Karen Goodlad and Prof. Lynda Dias as guest lecturer’s in Prof. Roger Dagorn’s class, HGMT 4997 Wines of the New World, which ended in a wine presentation to City Tech President Russell Hotzler in the University’s Janet Lefler Dining Room.  Students worked in groups to produce new blends and evaluated and voted on which wines to serve in City Tech’s dining room, a veritable lab for students in the Hospitality program.  Student teams created blends called “Spicy Brooklyn” or “Charlie’s Angels” by striking a tasty balance of reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Syrah.  The teams blogged about their experience and various blend formulations on the class website.

This course examines the multi-faceted world of wine, from production to service to economic regulations of wine industries in North America, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, and South Africa.  Class trips included a memorable one to the local City Winery in Lower Manhattan.  In turn, experts from the industry visited the classroom on City Tech campus.

Click here for more photos of Professor Goodlad’s blending lesson.

Libby Clarke: Team Work in Web Analytics

An Example of a Collaborative Project in Professor Libby Clarke’s Web Analytics Course ADV3561

Web Analytics: SEO and SEM

Team Project: SEO/SEM Makeover
You will be split up into teams. Each team member will search out and propose a prospective client for an SEO/SEM makeover. Once the team has chosen the final client choice, that client will be interviewed to ascertain his/her SEO/SEM needs. The team will then prepare and present a proposed plan of action to the class for critique. The final report will then be submitted to the client.


In order to help the students learn how they will have to function as a team member. The class made suggestions to their teams and voted on a final client. This person had to have a live website online, and needed to be willing to have the students go over it and make our suggestions. They also needed to be available to be interviewed in person, by phone, or by email the week of the 15th of October.

Link to Assignment Blog Entry