Open Educational Resources

OER at City Tech

Page 4 of 36

OpenLab Updates: Summer 2023

There are a number of new features and improvements that have been included in the monthly OpenLab updates over the Spring and Summer 2023 semesters that may be of interest for OER. 

New features

Choose a Template for your Site

When you create a new Course, Project, Club, or Portfolio, the site created uses a template that is appropriate for each type of site. For example, new Course sites come with pre-created pages for Syllabus, Assignments, etc. Now, instead of one template for each type of site, there can be multiple templates for different types of Course, Project, Club, or Portfolio Sites. For example, there are two templates for Course sites: Interactive, intended for use with active student posting and commenting, and Informational, for sites containing course materials, with instructor posts. You can choose the type of site template you want to use when you’re creating your new site. Learn more in OpenLab Help.

Activity Widget & Block

The Activity page that appears on every Course, Project, and Club Profile was introduced in January 2023. It includes all site activity and can be filtered by type (posts, comments, docs, etc). There’s now a version of this activity feed that can be included on a Course, Project, or Club Site. This can be done by adding the OpenLab Activity block to a post or page, or the OpenLab Activity widget to the sidebar or footer of your site. Learn more in OpenLab Help.

Non-active Status for Courses, Projects, Clubs, and Portfolios

This new feature allows admins of a Course, Project, Club, or Portfolio to switch it to ‘Not Active’ status if it’s no longer being actively used. This status change means that new members are not able to join or request membership, unless invited by an admin. A notice will be added to the profile and it will display on the last page of My OpenLab > My Courses, Projects, or Clubs. Faculty may wish to set past courses to ‘Not Active’ so that course materials can remain open and available to the community but students won’t be able to join a past course by mistake. Learn more in OpenLab Help.

OpenLab Connections

OpenLab Connections is a new feature that allows you to link related Courses, Projects, or Clubs and share information between them. For instance, members of one course section can follow activity from a connected section without needing to become members of that section (private content will not be shared). Learn more in OpenLab Help.

Embedding for Padlet, Geogebra, and Desmos

Padlets can now be embedded in posts and pages. Instructions are in OpenLab Help.

For math-specific resources, you can now embed Geogebra and Desmos applets by pasting the URL in a post or page.

New Plugins

Broken Link Checker is the new and improved version of WP Broken Link Status Checker. You can use it to scan for and alert you to broken links on your site.

Editoria11y Accessibility Checker checks your posts and pages for accessibility issues, and displays any existing issues with a thorough description of what they are and how you can address them. It is also helpful as a learning tool, providing easy-to-understand information about making your site more accessible. 

GTranslate allows you to use Google Translate to offer versions of your website in different languages, using Google Translate’s automatic translation service. You can add a widget with a dropdown allowing visitors to choose their language. 

Reckoning is an assessment plugin developed for Blogs@Baruch, and built on by the CUNY Academic Commons, that we’ve brought over to the OpenLab. Made for Course Sites, it allows the instructor to view all member posts and comments in one place. It also incorporates grades from WP Grade Comments, and allows you to export all data to CSV. 

WeBWorK Problem Embed is a new mathematics plugin created as part of City Tech’s “Connect the DOTS” grant that allows faculty to embed WeBWorK math problems on an OpenLab site. Students can interact with the problem directly on the site, rather than having to navigate away to the WeBWorK site.

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:
Joshua Peach, Adjunct Reference & OER Librarian:
Jo Thompson, Adjunct Reference & OER Librarian:

Call for Applicants to the OER Fellowship, AY 23-24

Dear City Tech Faculty,

The Library seeks applicants for the Open Educational Resources (OER) Fellowship. Begun in 2015, this funded program runs in conjunction with the CUNY-wide initiative funded by New York state to “engage faculty in the redesign of courses through the replacement of proprietary textbooks with open educational resources to reduce costs for students, accelerate their progress, and better connect curriculum and pedagogy to student learning outcomes.” Research conducted at City Tech and other institutions shows a correlation between assigning zero-cost OER and positive student outcomes: higher retention and comparable or better grades. 

We invite proposals from faculty new and returning to the OER Fellowship. Projects may be proposed at various stages of progress, such as substantive expansions and/or revisions of existing OER.

Goals for the OER initiative at City Tech:

  • Provide students with long-term access to course learning materials (before, during, and after the course runs).
  • Support active learning and effective online instruction.
  • Help achieve curricular consistency across multiple course sections.
  • Help achieve coherence between sequential courses in programs.
  • Provide instructors with ready to use teaching resources that can assist with flexible teaching/learning modalities.

Considerations for applying to the OER Fellowship

Projects that incorporate active learning methods, take a student-centered approach, and address underrepresented and multidisciplinary subject areas are encouraged. 

Course selection:

We encourage prioritizing OER for courses that are gateway, high enrollment, part of a course sequence, required courses for a major or minor, pathways, etc., interdisciplinary in nature, course curriculum that is underrepresented, or inadequately represented by existing textbooks on the market.

Types of OER projects that may be funded:

  • Zero-cost OER for a course that previously required a paid textbook (this may include first time experimental pilots to assign OER in place of paid course materials).
  • Zero-cost OER for a course with a recommended text that does not require paid materials.
  • Zero-cost OER for supplemental/ancillary teaching and learning materials (e.g., study guides, review modules, lessons, discussion questions, class activities, lecture outlines, writing assignments).
  • Substantive updates to already assigned zero-cost OER (must be openly licensed materials authored by the applicant or another scholar).

Faculty Eligibility and OER Fellowship Requirements


  1. Full-time faculty that coordinate or regularly teach at least one section of a course, and have consulted with course / discipline coordinator and department chair.
  2. Part-time faculty on 1-3 year re-appointments, with the approval of course / discipline coordinator and department chair.


  • Active participation in an intentional community of practice among college peers. Fellows will participate in seven mandatory synchronous zoom meetings held on Fridays throughout the year (3 in fall; 4 in spring).
  • Learning materials created/compiled through this project must be Creative Commons licensed (CC BY, CC BY-SA, CC BY-NC, CC BY-NC-SA), public domain, library digital resources, or freely available to link to without violating copyright
  • Finished projects must be shared publicly via an OpenLab site or other CUNY supported public platform (Pressbooks, Manifold)
  • Project work must be completed during the 2023-2024 academic year. All participants must complete their projects by June 15, 2024. 

Funding Information

Faculty compensation will include project work and faculty development training. Faculty will be paid for participating in 14 hours of professional development meetings (at adjunct hourly NTA rate). In addition to this, faculty stipends for OER projects typically range from $1,300 – $5,000, depending on scope of work, and are also calculated at the average non-teaching adjunct hourly rate.

Apply online by Tuesday, September 12th, 2023. 

Faculty interested in proposing projects that may be outside the scope of this opportunity are encouraged to get in contact with Cailean Cooney promptly to explore whether the OER initiative can support your work this academic year. 

Other questions or things you’d like to discuss? Please get in touch with OER Librarian, Cailean Cooney ( or Interim Chief Librarian, Anne Leonard ( 

Check out our website at Open Educational Resources at City Tech.

View and download a PDF version of this call.

« Older posts Newer posts »