OER at City Tech

Author: Joshua Peach (Page 1 of 14)

New and Noteworthy OER 09/22

New and Noteworthy is the City Tech Library OER Team’s monthly roundup of new and noteworthy open educational resources. We try to include at least one OER relevant to each school at City Tech in every post. At the end of the month, these resources will be compiled and distributed by the library liaison for your department. Please contact us if you know of new or particularly interesting OER to share with our colleagues or would like more information about open educational resources initiatives at City Tech.

Biological Sciences

  • Introducing Mathematical Biology: An Open Education Resource, by Alex Best, University of Sheffield (2023). License: CC BY
    “Mathematical modeling plays an increasingly important role in almost any area of life sciences, and this interactive textbook focuses on the areas of population ecology, infectious diseases, immunology and cell dynamics, gene networks and pharmacokinetics. It is aimed at anyone who is interested in learning about how to model biological systems, including undergraduate and postgraduate mathematics students who have not studied mathematical biology before, life-sciences students with an interest in modeling, and post-16 mathematics students interested in university-level material. Some mathematical knowledge is assumed, and the mathematical models used are all in the form of ordinary differential equations.”


  • Adaptive Apparel Design, by Ellen McKinney and Rachel Eike (2023). License: CC BY-NC-SA.
    “…prepared to support those learning about adaptive apparel design. The text is easy for students, scholars, and designers to use, and is organized around the apparel design process: research, sketching, developing a sample notebook, mood or inspiration board, pattern work, first sample, and the completed ensemble. Users can read from beginning to end or jump into resources related to their current phase of design.”
  • Crawford Automation – A Guided Application of Structured Problem Solving: Continuous Improvement in Action, by Stephen Thomson; Kevin Hollis; and Laurie Turnbull, Conestoga College (2023).
    License: CC BY-NC-SA
    “This is a multimedia-enabled case in which students will be guided, by an industry expert, to apply structured problem-solving that addresses a typical supply chain problem, missing parts. What first appears as the issue may be a symptom of a root cause(s). The case utilizes videos, data files for analytics, audio recording, and videogame-style exercises to find the missing box of parts. The case is a collaboration between the Conestoga Centre for Supply Chain Innovation and ATS Automation and utilizes the ATS Business Model (ABM) approach to identifying and solving root causes.”


  • In Your Eyes: Communicating in Close Relationships, by Sydney Brammer; Ryan Martinez; and Narissra Punyanunt-Carter, Texas Tech University Libraries (2023). License: CC BY-NC
    “This book was crafted for a new generation of people with an interest in communication studies, especially scholarship and concepts that speak to the role of close relationships in our lives and work. As you read through each chapter, you’ll meet new characters, ponder discussion questions, and interact with reflection activities that will get you to think deeply about various themes.”

Communication Design

  • Colour Theory: Understanding and Working with Colour, by Lisa Cianci (2023). License: CC BY-NC
    Colour theory covers a long history from antiquity to modern times. It includes academic and scientific investigations into how we see and understand colour. It also includes practical applications for using colour in creative work. […] This learning resource covers the history of colour theory, how we see colour, and how to use colour systems to mix colour and create colour relationships.”

Computer Systems Technology 

  • Productivity in Common Operating Systems, by Lester Hiraki (2022, updated in 2023). License: CC BY-NC
    “The goal of this book is to provide the interested learner with the essentials to work in a Unix environment. […] The focus is on the user’s perspective to enable the user to be productive in a Unix environment.  Topics include understanding and navigating the file system, using common commands, and automating tasks.  Emphasizing the user’s perspective, the scope of this book does not include topics such as system administration, installation, or networking. […] This book is intended for adoption in the freshmen or sophomore year of a technical program (e.g. computer science, engineering, STEM, etc.).”


  • Essentials of Creative Writing, by Rachel Morgan, Jeremy Schraffenberger, and Grant Tracey, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa (2023).
    License: CC BY-NC
    “This free and open access textbook introduces new writers to some basic elements of the craft of creative writing in the genres of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. The primary audience for this textbook, however, is the new writer, someone who may be enrolled in an introductory class, or perhaps someone who is trying to learn about the craft of creative writing on their own.”

Dental Hygiene 

  • Dentistry Environment Essentials, by Nicole Stormon, Tachae Douglas-Miller, and Sowmya Shetty (2022). License: CC BY-NC.
    While the book is specific to the practice and standards of dentistry in Australia, the concepts, videos, and images, may be useful beyond this locale. This book aims to introduce the dental environment and give practical guidance on how to navigate the equipment, instruments, procedures and how to stay safe.

Health Sciences & Health Services Administration


  • Politics, Protest, Emotion: Interdisciplinary Perspectives: A Book of Blogs, edited by Paul Reilly; Anastasia Veneti and Dimitrinka Atanasova, University of Sheffield (2017). License: CC BY
    “Politics, emotion and identity performance presents a series of personal reflections on the ‘affective turn’ in social movement studies. Case studies such as Anonymous, the Hong Kong protest camps and the 2016 Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) march are  examined in order to explore the performance of identity in this era of global protest.”


  • Differential Calculus: From Practice to Theory, by Eugene Boman and Robert Rogers, Milne Open Textbooks, SUNY (2023). License: CC BY-NC-SA
    Differential Calculus: From Practice to Theory covers all of the topics in a typical first course in differential calculus. Initially it focuses on using calculus as a problem solving tool (in conjunction with analytic geometry and trigonometry) by exploiting an informal understanding of differentials (infinitesimals). As much as possible large, interesting, and important historical problems (the motion of falling bodies and trajectories, the shape of hanging chains, the Witch of Agnesi) are used to develop key ideas. Only after skill with the computational tools of calculus has been developed is the question of rigor seriously broached. At that point, the foundational ideas (limits, continuity) are developed to replace infinitesimals, first intuitively then rigorously.”

Mechanical Engineering Technology

  • Crawford Automation – A Guided Application of Structured Problem Solving: Continuous Improvement in Action, by Stephen Thomson; Kevin Hollis; and Laurie Turnbull, Conestoga College (2023).
    License: CC BY-NC-SA
    “This is a multimedia-enabled case in which students will be guided, by an industry expert, to apply structured problem-solving that addresses a typical supply chain problem, missing parts. What first appears as the issue may be a symptom of a root cause(s). The case utilizes videos, data files for analytics, audio recording, and videogame-style exercises to find the missing box of parts. The case is a collaboration between the Conestoga Centre for Supply Chain Innovation and ATS Automation and utilizes the ATS Business Model (ABM) approach to identifying and solving root causes.”
  • Machine Shop VESL, by Lisa Hillyard, MHCC Library Press. License: CC BY-NC
    An introductory text for those working in machine shops covering basic hand tools, measurements, reading plans, as well as working with large shop machines.

OER Team:

Cailean Cooney, Associate Professor, OER Librarian: ccooney@citytech.cuny.edu
Joshua Peach, Adjunct Reference & OER Librarian: jpeach@citytech.cuny.edu
Jo Thompson, Adjunct Reference & OER Librarian: jthompson@citytech.cuny.edu

Open Materials in African American Studies

Continuing our work this month of highlighting open educational resources in underrepresented disciplines, Joshua Peach of the OER Team has collected a selection of open textbooks, courses, primary resources, digital objects, and archives in the field of African American Studies. We hope you find these rich and deep collections useful in teaching and research within the discipline, as well as across other departments in the college!

  • African-American Odyssey, Library of Congress
    Digital projects that represent some of the rare and unique items from the Library of Congress’ vast African-American collections.
  • African American Experience: Primary Source Sets, Digital Public Library of America
    “Primary source collections exploring topics in history, literature, and culture developed by educators — complete with teaching guides for class use.”
  • Amistad Research Center Digital Collections and Projects
    In partnership with Tulane University, this independent community-based archive has created and maintained rich digital projects with their collections of film, photographs, television, and oral histories that “reference the social and cultural importance of America’s ethnic and racial history, the African Diaspora, human relations, and civil rights.”
  • Black Abolitionist Archive, University of Detroit Mercy
    “From the 1820s to the Civil War, African Americans assumed prominent roles in the transatlantic struggle to abolish slavery. In contrast to the popular belief that the abolitionist crusade was driven by wealthy whites, some 300 black abolitionists were regularly involved in the antislavery movement, heightening its credibility and broadening its agenda. The Black Abolitionist Digital Archive is a collection of over 800 speeches by antebellum blacks and approximately 1,000 editorials from the period. These important documents provide a portrait of black involvement in the anti-slavery movement; scans of these documents are provided as images and PDF files.”
  • Black Diasporic Visions: (De) Constructing Modes of Power, Reflections and Resources by Josh Adler, Rosa Angela, Darializa Avila Chevalier, Brittany Brathwaite, J. Michell Brito, O.D. Enobabor, Javiela Evangelista, Ruben Mina, Janelle Poe, Carla Shedd, Kayla Reece, Ashleigh Washington, Crystal Welch-Scott, CUNY Manifold (2022). License: CC BY-NC-SA
    “Black Diasporic Visions turns us toward a myriad of pathways for liberation formed by African people and people of African descent inside and outside of oppressive structures of power, as well as the development of alternative visions and spaces. More specifically, in this course, we consider these constructions which are often despite, within and at the intersections of institutions and systems that impact education, the prison industrial complex, food justice, public planning, preservation, legal personhood and climate change.”
  • Black Lives Matter Collective Storytelling Project, University of Washington, Tacoma and University of Washington Libraries (2020). License: CC BY-NC-ND
    Student reflections on race, racism and racial justice originating from a cross-course collaboration at the University of Washington, Tacoma.
  • Black Studies Across the Americas (BSAA), Borough of Manhattan Community College. License: CC BY-NC
    “In the Black Studies Across the Americas (BSAA) program faculty and students work collaboratively with Afro-descendant activists from across the Americas to create educational materials that insert Black Studies into disciplines where it is not traditionally the focus. Countries and/or communities that have been part of the program include Argentina, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, the Garifuna of Central America, Haiti, Peru, and Puerto Rico. These free educational products are shared on this site.”
  • Black Women’s Suffrage Digital Collection, Digital Public Library of America
    “The Black Women’s Suffrage Digital Collection is a collaborative project to provide digital access to materials documenting the roles and experiences of Black Women in the Women’s Suffrage Movement and, more broadly, women’s rights, voting rights, and civic activism between the 1850s and 1960. The materials in this collection include photographs, correspondence, speeches, event programs, publications, oral histories, and other artifacts.”
  • The Bright Continent: African Art History, by Kathy Curnow, Michael Schwartz Library, Cleveland State University (2018). License: CC BY-NC-SA
    “This book aims to act as your map through the world of African art. As such, it will help you define the competencies you need to develop–visual analysis, research, noting what information is critical, asking questions, and writing down your observations–and provide opportunities for you to practice these skills until you are proficient. It will also expose you to new art forms and the worlds that produced them, enriching your understanding and appreciation.”
  • The Center for Black, Brown, and Queer Studies OER Library
    A collection of audio shorts and podcasts from The Center for Black, Brown, and Queer Studies (BBQ+) that “activates, connects, and mobilizes educators, researchers, and activists from marginalized communities and whose mission is to dismantle the structural barriers that prevent the full participation and leadership of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, as well as members of the LGBTQ+ community, in spaces of learning and education.”
  • CUNY Dominican Studies Institute: Digital Resources
    “The CUNY Dominican Studies Institute at The City College of New York has developed digital open-source resources featuring various educational platforms to enhance teaching and learning on Dominican topics.”
  • Digital Schomburg, New York Public Library
    “Digital Schomburg provides access to trusted information, interpretation, and scholarship on the global Black experience through online materials at the Schomburg Center created and curated by our staff and librarians. Visitors can locate online articles, digital exhibitions, photographs, audio and video streams, historical projects, and external links for research in the history and cultures of the peoples of Africa and the African Diaspora.”
  • National Archives: African American Heritage
    “The Archives holds a wealth of material documenting the Black experience. This page highlights these resources online, in programs, and through traditional and social media.”
  • Slavery to Liberation: The African American Experience – 2nd Edition, by Joshua Farrington, Norman W. Powell, Gwendolyn Graham, and Ogechi E. Anyanwu, Encompass Digital Archive/Eastern Kentucky University (2022). License: CC BY
    “Slavery to Liberation: The African American Experience gives instructors, students, and general readers a comprehensive and up-to-date account of African Americans’ cultural and political history, economic development, artistic expressiveness, and religious and philosophical worldviews in a critical framework”
  • Smithsonian Open Access: National Museum of African American History and Culture
    Objects from the Smithsonian collections including the National Museum of African American History and Culture, African Art Museum, and American History Museum reproduced as digital assets—2D and 3D images and data available for use in the public domain under a Creative Commons 0 designation.

OER Tune-up Workshop: August 2023

This month we conducted a workshop to help faculty tune up their OER course sites on the OpenLab. We reviewed best practices for formatting course materials and your website at large for maximum accessibility. As instructors and students continue to rely on online and hybrid courses, these principles can be very helpful in easing communication with students and providing strong access to course resources. 

Formatting and Design Considerations for Accessibility and Ease of Use with Course Materials

Use Descriptive Hyperlinks

  • Avoid using links that don’t make sense out of context. Instead embed the link in a sentence with text that could stand alone. This will help users locate resources if links no longer work and create a usable list of links with screen readers.

    DO: Please read the City Tech Library’s OER Resource Guide for our next class meeting.
    DON’T: Get the reading for our next class meeting here.

  • Avoid using images as links. Don’t include a URL address as the link text. Screen readers will have a difficult time navigating either of these.

    DON’T: Get the reading for our next class meeting: https://libguides.citytech.cuny.edu/OER/find

  • Links should open in the same tab. Opening links in a new tab can be confusing for those who utilize screen readers or rely on the browser’s back button for navigation.

For more information on descriptive hyperlinks, watch:
Creating Descriptive Hyperlinks (video), by Syracuse University Accessible IT (2019).

Use Headings, Bullets, and Numbering Formatting

  • Use headings to create a logical structure that allows users to better understand where to focus their attention.  It helps people using screen readers to navigate among different sections of the site and helps sighted readers scan a page

  • Use specific Heading styles rather than bold or italics to indicate a heading on your OpenLab site. Bold and italics can be used for emphasis but not for site organization and navigation.

  • Breaking text and media in smaller sections (or “chunks”) makes scanning easier for users and can improve their ability to comprehend and remember information.

  • Keep related items close together and aligned. Use bullet points and numbered lists where appropriate for organization and ease of scanning.

Provide Alt Text for Images

  • Alt text is a short description you write for images that will be read aloud by screen readers and is required for accessibility. Alt text can also be helpful for users on mobile devices or slow internet connections, where the text can be read if images are turned off or not loading.

Create Stable Links to Digital Library Resources

  • Creating permalinks is the best option for providing stable links to students that work on and off-campus.

  • It allows City Tech affiliated users access to copyright protected materials legally, that the Library has licensed.

  • Linking to resources through the library, instead of a saved PDF through BlackBoard, helps the library with collection development and resource retention.

Accessibility tools on the OpenLab for building and maintaining your course site:

Mammoth DocX Converter (plugin)

  • Mammoth is designed to convert .docx documents, such as those created by Microsoft Word, Google Docs and LibreOffice, and convert them to HTML. Mammoth aims to produce simple and clean HTML by using semantic information in the document, retaining the formatting of the original document.

More Resources: WAVE & OpenLab Support 

Check your site’s accessibility compliance easily with the WAVE: Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool. “WAVE is a suite of evaluation tools that helps authors make their web content more accessible to individuals with disabilities. WAVE can identify many accessibility and Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) errors, but also facilitates human evaluation of web content.”

The OpenLab Help Page is also available to help answer any questions you might have about site construction, tools, plug-ins, and more.

Additional accessibility resources at City Tech and CUNY include:

Introduction to Accessibility: Accessible Organization and Layout

  • This section of the Introduction to Accessibility module site, created by Bree Zuckerman of the OpenLab, covers the accessibility concerns for design and formatting in more detail.

The Center for Student Accessibility at City Tech

CUNY – Student Affairs Disability Services

If you have questions about the OpenLab in general, contact the OpenLab team at openlab@citytech.cuny.edu.

If you have further questions about accessibility and OER, please reach out to the OER team at City Tech Library!

Take care,
Cailean Cooney, Assistant Professor, OER Librarian, ccooney@citytech.cuny.edu
Joshua Peach, Adjunct Reference & OER Librarian, jpeach@citytech.cuny.edu
Joanna Thompson, Adjunct OER Librarian, jthompson@citytech.cuny.edu

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