Open Educational Resources

OER at City Tech

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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:

  • 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

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,
Joshua Peach, Adjunct Reference & OER Librarian,
Joanna Thompson, Adjunct OER Librarian,

Open materials in Gender & Sexuality Studies

Starting this semester, the OER team is highlighting open educational resources in underrepresented disciplines with an emphasis on sharing high quality open materials.

This post focuses on gender and sexuality studies and was compiled by Jo Thompson. The materials within this post may be of interest to those in Gender and Sexuality Studies as well as those working across the Social Sciences and Humanities. Enjoy!

  • Gender: Reflections and Intersections (2022). Vancouver Island University. License: CC BY-NC-ND
    • “Gender: Reflections and Intersections is the collaborative culmination of student contributions in the Sociology of Gender Relations class (SOCI 322) in the Fall term of 2022 at Vancouver Island University.” Topics covered include gender and sports, gender bias in medicine, gender-expansive early childhood education, and more. 
  • Gendered Lives: Global Issues (2021) by Nadine T. Fernandez and Katie Nelson. License: CC BY
    • “Gendered Lives takes a regional approach to examine gender issues from an anthropological perspective with a focus on globalization and intersectionality. Chapters present contributors’ ethnographic research, contextualizing their findings within four geographic regions: Latin America, the Caribbean, South Asia, and the Global North. Each regional section begins with an overview of the broader historical, social, and gendered contexts, which situate the regions within larger global linkages.”
  • Global Women’s Issues: Women in the World Today, extended version (2012) by Bureau of International Information Programs, United States Department of State. License: CC0
    • “We cannot solve global challenges unless women participate fully in efforts to find solutions. Female participation in the private sector is a crucial economic driver for societies worldwide. Economic security benefits every facet of a woman’s life, with positive effects on the health, education and vitality of families. Learn about women who are changing their societies for the better. This extended version of Global Women’s Issues: Women in the World Today includes, for each chapter, a summary, key words, multiple choice questions, discussion questions, essay questions, and a list of additional resources.”
  • The Homosaurus by The Digital Transgender Archive. License: CC BY-NC-ND
    • “The Homosaurus is an international linked data vocabulary of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) terms. This vocabulary is intended to function as a companion to broad subject term vocabularies, such as the Library of Congress Subject Headings. Libraries, archives, museums, and other institutions are encouraged to use the Homosaurus to support LGBTQ research by enhancing the discoverability of their LGBTQ resources.”
  • Introduction to Human Sexuality (2022) by Ericka Goerling, PhD and Emerson Wolfe, MS. License: CC BY-NC-SA
    • “[The] first section, Reflections and Explorations in Human Sexuality, includes ten chapters ranging from Sexology to Gender to Sexual Behaviors. In many ways, Part 1 is a great example of introductory human sexuality and many of the subjects have personal application to one’s experiences and learning. Our second section, Part 2, is Professional and Clinical Topics in Human Sexuality and covers topics such as Sexuality Over the Lifespan, Sexually Transmitted Infections, and Sexual Dysfunctions and Treatment. While our Part 2 is still considered introductory in nature, it does have a more clinical/professional approach to topics in terms of learning. [The authors feel] that all these subjects hold value for students’ personal and professional development whether they’re going into psychology, social work, gender and sexuality studies, nursing, public health, anthropology, or something else entirely.”
  • Introduction to LGBTQ+ Studies: A Cross-Disciplinary Approach (2022) by Deborah P. Amory, Sean G. Massey, Jennifer Miller, and Allison P. Brown. License: CC BY
    • “Designed for an introductory course, this textbook takes a cross-disciplinary approach to the study of LGBTQ+ issues that helps students grasp core concepts through a variety of different perspectives.”
  • Introduction to Women and Gender Studies (2020) by Deborah Holt. License: CC BY
    • “The overall goal of the content selected for the creation of this book is to [b]roaden understanding and awareness of Women and Gender studies in the Humanities produced within the cultural and historical contexts of social groups throughout the world drawing upon such fields as art, literature, religion, philosophy, and music.”
  • Introduction to Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies (2017) by Miliann Kang, Donovan Lessard, Laura Heston, & Sonny Nordmarken, University of Massachusetts. License: CC BY
    • “This textbook introduces key feminist concepts and analytical frameworks used in the interdisciplinary Women, Gender, Sexualities field. It unpacks the social construction of knowledge and categories of difference, processes and structures of power and inequality, with a focus on gendered labor in the global economy, and the historical development of feminist social movements. The book emphasizes feminist sociological approaches to analyzing structures of power, drawing heavily from empirical feminist research.”
  • Marking Gender in Spanish by Silvia Rivera Alfaro. License: CC BY-NC
    • “This open educational resource is created for language learners who want to make independent decisions on the politics over their bodies and identities and determine how they would like to be called while learning Spanish. The material can also serve teachers and professors as a resource to help navigate this challenging topic of our current times. This guide allows the learner to gain a basic understanding of Spanish grammar and its relationship to gender in an independent way. It intends to be not only a resource to decide how you would like to be named but also to understand the complexity of the subject, in relation to Spanish-speaking societies.”
  • Persistence is Resistance: Celebrating 50 Years of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies (2020) by Julie Shayne. License: CC BY-NC
    • “Persistence is Resistance is a collection celebrating 50 years of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies. Contributors are a diverse group of scholars, from undergraduate students to faculty emeritus, representing twenty-four institutions. Essays cover GWSS’s history, praxis, and implementation. The book also includes artwork by GWSS undergraduates and alumni, and their answers to “why GWSS?” Persistence is Resistance is ideal for the classroom because the essays are short, jargon light, and inspire feminist inquiry, activism, and pride.”
  • The Psychology of Gender (2023) by Suzanne Valentine-French and Martha Lally. License: CC BY-NC-SA
    • Topics covered include and introduction to the psychology of gender, methods for studying gender, theories of gender identity, and more.
  • Sexuality, the Self, and Society (2022) by Susan Rahman, Nathan Bowman, and Dahmitra Jackson. License: CC BY
    • “Content included in Sexuality, the Self, and Society is aligned with the typical scope for an introductory, interdisciplinary Human Sexuality Textbook. It is written to be a complete text for a semester length course but could be used, in part, reorganized, or edited in true OER fashion. It is meant to be accessible, relevant, and inclusive. It also will not remain static meaning that the author will continue to update periodically and those who adopt may do so as they see fit.”
  • Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Employment Discrimination (2017) by Matthew William Green. License: CC BY-NC-SA
    • “This Chapter will address the current protections that are available to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (“LGBT”) individuals who allege they have been victims of employment discrimination. The Chapter’s primary focus will be on federal statutory law, particularly Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Although the focus here is on federal law, Appendix I to this Chapter lists the states that protect individuals from public and/or private discrimination under state laws.”
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