Access Open Hours

August 21, 2019 1:00-3:00 PM in G603

This year, we’re highlighting accessibility best practices on the web, specifically working on the OpenLab! This includes usability, providing content in multiple formats (text, audio, video, etc.), and providing descriptions for users using screen readers, among many other strategies. We’ll be running our Open Pedagogy series on this theme all year, so please join us for these more discussion-based events!

 

For these Open Hours (8/21/19), participants will have the chance to work on developing their own courses and projects, but we’ll also be talking through some simple accessibility protocols to incorporate into your OpenLab sites. 

 

Defining Access

Scholars in disability studies and pedagogy center a broad definition of access: instead of requiring that students disclose access needs to an on-campus disability services office, scholars recommend integrating accessibility in the syllabus and day-to-day classroom management. 

 

Accessible Syllabus provides a bounty of possible strategies to practice inclusive learning, including some alternatives to traditional deadlines, developing grading contracts with students, and offering students resources in the form of an inclusive learning statement. 

 

The OpenLab team is committed to sharing best practices in sharing and collaborating in digital spaces, and has developed a Summary of Accessibility on the OpenLab. It’s important to remember that when we share content on the OpenLab, we don’t want to create additional barriers for students.

 

Digital Access

The web offers formal options for including content, including posting audio or video versions of lectures and announcements, allowing users to modify colors and font sizes to accommodate low-vision needs, and other options for making use of multimedia formats. However, it’s important to also include transcripts and/or captions alongside multimedia formats in order to best serve users with different kinds of access needs. 

 

Even simple choices, like including hyperlinks in the course syllabus or on the homepage, can help demonstrate a commitment to interactive and independent engagement with site content by allowing students to visit linked sites at their own pace rather than listing blurbs for resources directly on the syllabus. The OpenLab’s Help section offers additional support for reading ease and accessibility when composing in digital spaces. 

 

Accessible Syllabus includes an in-depth list of strategies for making text on your site user-friendly, including recommendations for “thinking about learning disabilities that affect reading, such as dyslexia” as well as simple measures to improve readability, including using bold typeface to highlight important information.  

 

City Tech’s Library has also incorporated a focus on accessibility into the professional development faculty members participate in to develop open educational resources. The materials gathered for the Introduction to Accessibility Module that specific group are useful to anyone developing materials to share on the OpenLab. 

 

What is access? group activity

When thinking of the terms “access/ability” or “accommodations,” what comes to mind?

Jot down a few terms/examples.

Share with a partner, then share with the group!

What common ideas about accessibility do we share? Where do our ideas diverge?

 

Resources:

Accessible Syllabus

Summary of Accessibility on the OpenLab

Reading Ease and Accessibility

Introduction to Accessibility: A Module for OER Faculty

CBOX OpenLab at ACH2019

"Cross Pollination" Shibori image by Michelle Griffiths
Cross Pollination by Michelle Griffiths

This past October, The OpenLab at City Tech and Commons in a Box proudly announced the launch of Commons In A Box OpenLab, a partnership that adds a new option to what CBOX offers. OpenLab team members, as representatives of CBOX OpenLab, are part of a demo, “Fostering Open Scholarly Communities with Commons In A Box” at Association for Computers in the Humanities, ACH2019.

CBOX OpenLab Logo

CBOX OpenLab is a platform that brings together work that happens in different aspects of college life: coursework, portfolios, collaborative projects, initiatives, clubs, and administrative, committee, and pedagogical work. The platform’s more defined architecture–for example: courses, projects, clubs, and portfolios, but customizable to any taxonomy–structures college activities to make visible on its homepage, on member profiles, and through browsing, the robust work and life of the college community.

Bringing these different aspects of college life together on one platform benefits the work of the college community. The skills from using the platform for one aspect–coursework, for instance–become invaluable in  another, such as participating in a club. Rather than segmenting OERs or portfolios or isolating coursework from extracurriculars, each into  separate, closed, often proprietary platforms, these resources and activities comingle in one open digital space.

Students benefit from the experiential learning and real audience an open digital space makes possible. The flexibility of the platform also makes it easy to team teach, pair courses for learning communities, foster community across sections of a course, develop informal partnerships, etc.

Campus-wide efforts that foster scholarly communities can break down disciplinary and hierarchical silos, and extend their reach, visibility, and impact: see Undergraduate Research, the Office of the Provost, Roboquin, and here, Open Pedagogy on the OpenLab. OERs on the OpenLab are a great example of this: not only are they a robust resource and easily findable for both students and instructors, and for members and visitors alike, but OERs are also the subject of scholarly and pedagogical collaboration. On the OpenLab, there are resources for building and adopting OER materials, and OER fellows can communicate with each other as a cohort. Large-scale OERs can develop from activity across the site, such as L4, a crowdsourced library of activites and assignments; Science Fiction at City Tech, with its finding guides for the large science fiction archive; the robust Help documentation; and still in development, the OpenLab Guide to Open Learning, which will share knowledge and resources for members of CBOX OpenLab communities.

[some slides]

Recap: Curating Faculty/Staff Portfolios

On Thursday, April 4, faculty and staff from City Tech got together for the second of two Open Pedagogy events the OpenLab hosted this semester where participants discussed “curating a faculty/staff Portfolio.”

Quite aptly, a participant kicked the evening off by reminding us that, whether we are aware of it or not, we tend to leave a trail of digital footprints. Sometimes, like when students pull up our Rate my Professor reviews, these footprints suggest something about our pedagogy. How can we use academic portfolios, we wondered, to curate a more intentional digital presence?

This was one of  the main questions animating the discussion. Folks shared different strategies for building academic portfolios, including chronicling past syllabi, using previous OpenLab course sites as repositories—evidence, even—of previous pedagogical work, archiving invitations to serve on panels and other planned events, and selecting finished researched to showcase. One participant noted the multiple advantages of maintaining an academic portfolio on the OpenLab. For graphic designers, architects, photographers, and videographers, OpenLab academic portfolios lend themselves to showcasing visuals in high resolution—something that is not always a possibility in their print counterparts. Moreover, for those who teach (and learn!) on the OpenLab, the ability to link out to one’s other projects and/or courses is a uniquely helpful practice.

A number of staff—including librarians and members of the OpenLab team—and faculty in non-teaching roles led a discussion about how to present work done outside of the classroom. In these roles, staff often find themselves giving workshops, or training faculty and students in specific and skilled tasks. What would it mean, we wondered, to consider this work as pedagogy?

Finally, we closed our discussion with the question: are portfolios exclusively spaces for perfection—vehicles to portray our best work and successes? Or can they also be spaces for reflection—organic examinations of our “failures” and teachable moments? Many of us had (understandably) defaulted to using portfolios solely as required by our institutions: regular benchmarks of accomplishments made available for institutional review. We asked: how can academic portfolios grow more capacious? How often do we publicly reflect on our pedagogical experiences? Why not use the OpenLab’s affordances to think through teaching and learning—inside and outside the classroom—and invite others into the conversation?

Open Pedagogy Event (4/4): Curating a Faculty or Staff Portfolio

Brooklyn-NY DUMBO by alh1

Curating a Faculty or Staff Portfolio

Thursday, April 4, 2019, 4:30-6:00pm (Faculty Commons, Namm 227)

*Refreshments will be served. (Thanks to the Provost’s Office for its generous support of this event!)

*Part-time faculty are eligible to receive a stipend for participation.

*Please RSVP by commenting on this post. Please share this invitation with your colleagues!

Join the OpenLab Team, City Tech faculty and staff, and CUNY colleagues at our next Open Pedagogy event, where we’ll be discussing using Portfolios for faculty and staff on the OpenLab. While Portfolios are often associated with student work, faculty and staff have embraced the opportunity to create dynamic, compelling collections of their work in teaching and learning, research, student success, and academic initiatives across the college, as well as a space to reflect on these experiences. We’ll work to expand the portfolio beyond a “teaching” portfolio so as to consider its role for faculty and staff in non-teaching roles. We’ll discuss how Portfolios offer opportunities for authoring a professional identity within the context of the City Tech community, and some strategies for curating work in the open, public-facing space of the OpenLab. We’ll consider the following questions:

  • What are the affordances of creating and maintaining a digital portfolio on the OpenLab (or another digital format) instead of a collection of printed-out materials?
  • What curation strategies are important for Portfolios on the OpenLab? Is this the place for reflection or perfection?
  • How might Portfolios help you as you move through your career in higher education? In what other educational contexts could you see a Portfolio as a useful tool?
  • Considering the recentering of the teaching Portfolio, what opportunities and challenges arise when the teaching isn’t just in the classroom (e.g., OpenLab project, administrative responsibilities, committee work, altac careers)?

This event is the second of two in our Spring 2019 Open Pedagogy series on curation in open digital pedagogy. We’re excited to continue our conversation around how “curation”–practically and conceptually–can be integrated into professional development on the OpenLab.

Save the date for our upcoming linked workshop, “Curating Faculty and Staff Portfolios, ” where we will share best practices for developing a reflexive and professional teaching portfolio (Thursday, April 11, 2:30-4:00 PM Room L441A).

Recommended Readings:

Recap: Curating Student Work in ePortfolios

 

summer_grass by lia510

On Thursday, February 21st, faculty and graduate students from across CUNY got together over wine and cheese to discussing curating student work in ePortfolios. The evening marked the first of our two Open Pedagogy events this semester and drew faculty participation from departments like Communication and Design, Art History, English, and Biology. Each participant shared their concerns and hopes for student ePortfolios.

ePortfolios on the OpenLab are designed to allow students to create professional websites to showcase and reflect on their academic/ professional experiences. That said, providing students with built-in opportunities and guidance to curate their online work has not always been an obvious task. First, we might ask whose task it is: should it be the role of academic advisers, faculty instructors, or departments to work with students on their ePortfolios? To the extent that advisers, faculty, and departments are already doing this work, how can their efforts be better coordinated in service of guiding students in (dare we say?) the art of curating their work, reflecting on their City Tech career and academic growth, and transitioning, even, to building a professional portfolio they can share with employers? These were some of the questions animating the discussion.

We began by tackling the first of these questions: how and where to help students select their best work to showcase on their ePortfolios? Is the classroom the best space to do this? If that is case, then who should be providing students with feedback? Instructors only? Peers? Participants at the event shared some strategies. Some instructors set up detailed guidelines early in the semester, emphasizing to the class as a whole that seeming minutiae like Avatar images and usernames on the OpenLab can project an online image. They encourage students to think through how they would like to present themselves creatively, but thoughtfully. Others suggest to students that when coursework takes the form of public, multimedia writing-i.e. through blog posts and other reflective assignments-then the audience is not just the instructor grading the work: the audience is a larger online public.

Moreover, by reflecting in blog posts on their academic careers, students are writing for their future selves, giving themselves a record of their trajectories: milestones to commemorate and, yes, even early work to cringe at. Instructors hope in this way to equip students with a variety of perspectives, so that they can be the final curators of their own work. A challenge noted by participants was that advising sessions–which could theoretically be ideal spaces to guide students through curating an ePortfolio-are more often than not bureaucratic, demanding attention to administrative requirements such as course registration, rather than a broader vision for a student’s academic career. We wondered whether having more streamlined use of ePortfolios within departments might make ePortfolios easier to incorporate into advising sessions. Would this, we asked, lead to more robust portfolio use?

In the hard sciences, such as Biology, which are less writing-intensive, instructors wondered how they might effectively incorporate ePortfolios. Participants suggested having students blog to reflect on the ethical implications of experiments, as well as their own growth and challenges in learning scientific material. In photography courses, an instructor noted a more technical challenge: storage space-and limits- on the OpenLab! This is a broader concern for students whose coursework takes the form of larger files like images and videos. We noted that CUNY is hoping to soon offer unlimited Dropbox storage to students and faculty, which should be a good workaround.

A final question was when students should begin curating their ePortfolios? Are ePortfolios, which offer all of the affordances of open digital tools, best taken advantage of early in college careers? Or are they better saved for later, to avoid overwhelming students who are transitioning to higher education? Both perspectives were endorsed. Some noted that having students begin early gives them time to curate and look back at their work, if only to reflect on how far they’ve come and to select later, perhaps more polished, work to keep on their sites. It also improves buy-in from students to begin early, allowing them to gain familiarity with the digital tools of the OpenLab. Others argued for a more structured approach, streamlining ePortfolio use across classrooms, at least within departments, and easing students into the process. A long-term vision along these lines is to develop streamlined, but scaffolded ePortfolio assignments that help students iteratively build up their online presence.

Do your students use ePortfolios? Do you have ideas for how to help students with curation? Keep the conversation going by replying to this post and sharing your thoughts.

On a final note, folks interested in ePortfolios might want to take a look at the Association for Authentic, Experiential, and Evidence-Based Learning’s conference on ePortfolios, which will be held at Bronx Community College in New York City, July 15-18.

Here are a few additional resources and readings on ePortfolios that are worth a read:

This article highlights interdisciplinarity of using ePortfolios, which the authors contend is a critical skill for students to develop alongside critical thinking and transferring knowledge across fields. The appendices include assignments from General Education portfolio assignments in the author’s colleges.

  • Yancey, Kathleen Blake. “ePortfolio.” Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments. MLA Commons, 2016.

This resource explicates some basics and highlights creative assignments including ePortfolios.

The sample prompts included in this article are thought-provoking and gathered from CUNY-based research.

By thinking through the public online contexts of different types of ePortfolios, this article presents ways to use ePortfolios to develop digital literacies and tips for maintaining a professional online presence, including considerations of the specific needs of a digital format, architecture and design of a site.

Open Pedagogy Event (2/21): Curating Student Work in ePortfolios

“Red Bull Curates” by Laine Pub Company

Curating Student Work in ePortfolios

Thursday, February 21, 2019, 4:30-6:00pm (Faculty Commons, N227)

*Refreshments will be served. (Thanks to the Provost’s Office for its generous support of this event!)

*Part-time faculty are eligible to receive a stipend for participation.

*Please RSVP by commenting on this post. Please share this invitation with your colleagues!

Join the OpenLab Team, City Tech faculty and staff, and CUNY colleagues at our next Open Pedagogy event, where we’ll be discussing teaching and learning with ePortfolios on the OpenLab. While ePortfolios are the work of students, faculty and staff have a key role in helping students to build an online presence and curate an ePortfolio that is reflexive, engaging, and professional. ePortfolios on the OpenLab are designed to allow students to create professional websites that showcase their academic and professional experiences, as well as a space to reflect on these experiences. We’ll discuss how ePortfolios can be integrated into class-based assignments, and the challenges of having students curate their work in the open, public-facing space of the OpenLab. We’ll consider the following questions:

  • How can the opportunities available in digital spaces change the way we think about curation in teaching and learning (and how we teach and learn through curation)?
  • How can ePortfolios scaffolded into students’ coursework at City Tech help students curate and reflect on their academic, extracurricular, and personal growth?
  • How can ePortfolios be revised as a student approaches graduation to present a professional portfolio for their career or graduate studies aspirations?
  • How does working individually, publicly, and socially change the way we implement and consider curatorial strategies?

This event kicks off our Spring 2019 Open Pedagogy series on curation in open digital pedagogy, and we’re excited to start a conversation around how “curation”–practically and conceptually–can be integrated into teaching and learning on the OpenLab.

Save the date for our upcoming linked workshop, “Curating Student Work in ePortfolios, ” where we will share best practices for / do hands-on work for incorporating ePortfolios into coursework to facilitate student curation of their academic work (Friday, March 1, 12:00-1:30 PM Room G606).

Recommended Readings:

 

Troubling Race in the Classroom, 2/13

Our colleagues at the Graduate Center’s Teaching and Learning Center send along the following invitation:

Troubling Race in the Classroom
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
3-5pm, Room C204
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10036

Many college instructors struggle to engage students in complex thinking about race and racism. Such work is increasingly necessary, but the range of perspectives in many classrooms can make discussing such topics challenging for both students and instructors alike. Strong feelings and opinions, as well as divergent and disparate experience and knowledge, demand a thoughtful and creative pedagogical approach.

These challenges can make dialogues about race and racial justice uncomfortable, emotional, and difficult. But a classroom that features a range of knowledge and experiences also has the potential to fuel transformative learning. Students and faculty have opportunities to expand their vision of the world through reading and dialog alongside those with very different experiences.

Join the Teaching and Learning Center for a workshop where we will discuss some of the theories that have informed our approaches to teaching about race and racism in our respective disciplines. Together, we will consider both the challenges to and potential for engaging race in classroom spaces, ranging from how to address the unexpected, alarming comment to how to facilitate entire courses. We will conclude by documenting and sharing our collective knowledge about teaching and learning about race in the classroom.

Register to attend this workshop at http://cuny.is/tlc-spring-19.

(note that there are options for non-GC students at the bottom of the list of programs in the registration form!)

Workshop: Hip-Hop Pedagogy, 2/14

Our colleagues at the Futures Initiative (at the CUNY Graduate Center) send along this invitation for a workshop on hip-hop and pedagogy moderated by Futures Initiative Fellow Kashema Hutchinson. It’s at the CUNY Graduate Center on February 14 at 12pm in room 9207.

This workshop will be conducted as a cypher, a hip hop cultural event, such as freestyling or battling that takes place in a circle, to discuss the relationship between the elements of hip-hop culture and pedagogy in traditional and non-traditional educative spaces. Narratives and infographics will be used to examine the different types of hip-hop pedagogy. Topics such as identity, school to confinement pathways and mass incarceration will also be addressed. Participants will include students from the Undergraduate Leaders Fellowship.

Continue reading “Workshop: Hip-Hop Pedagogy, 2/14”

Tomorrow: “Equity, Health, and Learning: Social Determinants of Academic Success” at the Graduate Center

Earlier this semester, the OpenLab team hosted an Open Pedagogy event focused on how open digital pedagogy can support student success in gateway courses. There was a great recap of the event. There was also a linked workshop that showcased some tools on the OpenLab and some practices OpenLab members have put in place to foster student success in their courses and at City Tech.

The Futures Initiative has sent an invitation to all interested to join them for “Equity, Health, and Learning: Social Determinants of Academic Success” (details below in the invitation). This event seems like a great way to continue this conversation beyond City Tech. Added bonus: if you attended our event or workshop, or if you’ve gotten to know the OpenLab team, you’ll notice below that OpenLab digital pedagogy fellow Jesse Rice-Evans is one of the speakers at this Futures Intiative event!

Here’s the invitation:

Dear All,

Please join us on Thursday, November 1, 2018 from 12pm to 1pm at The Graduate Center (Room 9204) for a collaborative discussion that will bring together students, faculty and administrators across CUNY to discuss challenges and opportunities that students face outside of the classroom that impact their success inside of the classroom including access to transportation, healthcare, housing, and food.

Speakers will include Peggy Groce, Former Director, Office of Travel Training, District 75, New York City Department of Education, Nicholas Freudenberg, Distinguished Professor at CUNY School of Public Health, Chris Palmedo, Associate Professor of Media Marketing, & Communications at CUNY School of Public Health, and Jesse Rice-Evans, Ph.D. Student, English, The Graduate Center, CUNY.

This panel, moderated by Futures Initiative Fellows Jessica Murray and Adashima Oyo, is part of The University Worth Fighting For, a series of workshops that tie student-centered, engaged pedagogical practices to institutional change, race, equality, gender, and social justice.

This event is free. Please RSVP here, seating is limited!

You can also join us:

  • Watching the livestream at bit.ly/FuturesED-live (unedited footage will be available after the workshop for a limited time under “Recent Videos”, and we’ll post an edited version soon)
  • Following the hashtag #fight4edu and tweeting your questions/comments
  • During and after the event, adding your questions and comments to this Google Doc

Please feel free to share this invitation with your network. More details are below.

Panelist Bios

Nicholas Freudenberg is Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Social/Critical Psychology at CUNY and Director of Healthy CUNY, a university-wide initiatives that promotes health for academic success. For more than 30 years, Freudenberg has worked with community organizations, social services agencies, government and others to develop, implement and evaluate policies and programs that promote more equitable access to education and health for children and young people. Healthy CUNY’s recent report Promoting Health for Academic Success is available here. It describes how depression and anxiety, sexual and reproductive health problems, lack of access to health care and food insecurity undermine the academic success of CUNY undergraduates and how CUNY can act to assist students to overcome these issues.

Peggy Groce initiated Travel Training in the NYC Department of Education in 1970 for students with intellectual disabilities who aged out of school at 17 years of age unless they could travel independently to school. Over time, travel training instructional services were offered to students with diverse disabilities in the NYC public schools. Peggy is a strong advocate for including the teaching of disability history and the disability rights movement in our education system, especially to youth with disabilities, parents, educators, and staff of service provider agencies.

Chris Palmedo is an associate professor in the Community Health and Social Sciences department at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. He teaches courses in health communications, social marketing, and health advocacy, and conducts an online certificate program in social marketing for health offered to students all over the world.  As a Healthy CUNY Initiative faculty fellow, his research is concerned with helping improve student access to mental health and health insurance. He recently co-authored a college textbook which covers personal health in a public health context.

Jesse Rice-Evans (she/her/hers) is a queer femme rhetorician and PhD candidate at the Graduate Center researching intersections of language, disability, and digital culture. She’s the author of five books, including HONOR//SHAME, an interactive digital chapbook out from Gap Riot Press (2018), and The Uninhabitable, forthcoming from Sibling Rivalry Press in 2019. She teaches queer texts and composition at the City College of New York.

Moderated by:
Jessica Murray, Ph.D. Candidate, Developmental Psychology, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Adashima Oyo, Ph.D. Student, Social Welfare, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Recap: Remixing and Sharing in Open Digital Pedagogy

Image Credit: starsandspirals

On Thursday, October 18th, CUNY faculty and staff got together for the second of two Open Pedagogy Events planned for Fall 2018, Remixing and Sharing in Open Digital Pedagogy. This event asked: What opportunities for sharing and remixing teaching materials do open digital environments like the OpenLab present? What responsibilities do you have when you share and remix the materials of others? What responsibilities do you have when you make your materials open and available to be remixed? What responsibilities do others have toward you when they remix and reuse your materials?

City Tech faculty from English, Mathematics, Computer Systems Technology (CST), and Biology, and the library  joined us in the Faculty Commons (N227). 

A special thanks to Andy McKinney, former OpenLab Community Team member, who joined us from CUNY Central, where he has been working on scaling up OER (Open Educational Resources) initiatives CUNY-wide. A huge thank you also to Cailean Cooney, OER librarian at CityTech, who has been working with faculty to create OERs on the OpenLab. Thank you both for attending the event, sharing your insights regarding open education and the steps being taken throughout CUNY to promote a culture of responsible sharing and remixing of course materials.

It is fairly common for instructors teaching a course for the first time to begin by looking into existing educational materials that can support them in devising a syllabus, assignments, and lesson plans. Such materials can be shared peer-to-peer among colleagues, as well as consulted—to the extent that they are “open” or publicly and freely available for reuse on the internet and the OpenLab. Many instructors acknowledge that sharing and borrowing educational materials has been part of what has made them successful educators. However, many also have honest reservations about making course materials open and sharing them freely given the significant time and effort they take to create. This recognition prompted and guided the evening’s discussion.

We began with a self-reflection and discussion of: “Creating and teaching a course can be time-consuming and challenging, and sometimes instructors are hesitant to make this work (either the process or product) public. How do you [faculty]  feel about sharing your course materials and pedagogy (syllabi, assignments, lesson plans) with others? What about using someone else’s materials? What benefits are there in doing so? What reservations might you have?”  During the discussion portion, we discussed a number of non-discipline-specific benefits and drawbacks of sharing:

  1. None of us can do it alone! At some point in our careers, all of us have been asked to teach courses we have not taught before. The ability to inherit existing syllabi or consult the OpenLab and other OERs for inspiration has been crucial. Open materials makes the sharing of instructional materials a public practice and validates it as a necessary point of departure for teaching.
  2. Remixing materials makes us better instructors. Whether we are teaching a course for the first or twentieth time, we all benefit from sharing ideas with colleagues and consulting open materials. Open materials get our creative juices flowing, serve as inspiration for new assignments and lesson plans, and introduce us to new readings and open textbooks that support accessible (and no cost!) student learning. When we share, borrow, and adapt, we participate in a process of collaborative pedagogy that puts a diversity of perspectives and tried and true practices into conversation. We are better instructors for recognizing each other’s wealth of experience and building on it. We can also model for students how to properly cite the work of others and debunk the myth that successful scholarship should be done alone.
  3. What is the value of sharing? Concerns and Reservations
  • When materials are open, how can we adequately value and remunerate the labor that an educator put into creating pedagogical tools? We can give proper attribution to the creators of the materials we borrow, but is such rhetorical acknowledgement sufficient? How can we ensure that the labor instructors put into pedagogy is visible and valued in concrete ways?
  • Do we need more time officially built into our instructor/ staff schedules for the sharing of pedagogical practice?
  • Along these lines, discussants expressed concern that creating an OER –or putting together an open textbook—is less well compensated than writing a textbook for a private industry publisher.
  • Quite frequently, instructors do not cite past course content creators when they borrow materials. This makes the labor of those who share invisible.
  • Many courses on the OpenLab remain closed—unavailable for consultation except by course members. This can create a tension for those who chose to keep their work open but find that their willingness to share isn’t always reciprocated.
  • Is it possible that students think less of an instructor who borrows and adapts the materials of others? Or do they recognize the value that is added when instructors build on existing tools and remix them for their own students and course?
  • How can we create a loop wherein, in addition to thanking and crediting those whose materials we borrow and adapt, we give them concrete feedback on how their materials worked in our (adapted) courses? In essence, how can we make reusing and remixing a collaborative and communicative process?

Sharing and Adapting on the OpenLab

As we shared our experiences of sharing and adapting course materials, we noted that the OpenLab, in more ways than one, lends itself to the kind of open, collaborative pedagogy many of us aspire to. Instructors can peek into the courses of others that are left open, consult their syllabi and assignments, and use these as a point of departure in creating and teaching their courses. OERs and the “shared cloning” functionality take sharing a step further, offering built-in mechanisms to keep full courses open, available for reuse and even exact copying. We offered an overview of these two new OpenLab features related to OERs and shared cloning:

  • OERs refer to educational content that is free (educational materials are provided at no cost to students) and openly-licensed, meaning that the creators of the educational content have made their work available for others to use. Learn more here. Faculty and staff have been building OER course sites on the OpenLab. The August release of the OpenLab added an OER badge, which appears on the avatar of course or project designated as an OER. Courses and project with an OER badge can also be searched for in course and project directories. You can learn more about the OER badge and searching for OERs on the OpenLab here.
  • The August release of the OpenLab also made changes to the course cloning functionality, called “shared cloning.” This feature can be enabled to allow other faculty to clone a course that is designated as available for shared cloning. Course creators who choose to enable the feature will be allowing other faculty and staff to clone the course, creating an exact copy of the existing course, including all content created or uploaded by the course admin, which can be reused, remixed, and transformed in the new version. Cloned versions of the course will include a list of credits on the course profile and in the site sidebar with attribution to any of the original courses. If the original course was itself a clone of another faculty member’s course, that course, as well as all previous iterations, would be included in the credits list as well. You can find instructions on shared cloning in our help section.
  • Please note that our linked 11/1 workshop on “Sharing & Remixing on the OpenLab” will cover how to use the shared cloning functionality, and how to search for, link back to, and properly cite OERs. RSVP here. Agenda here.

We also named a few additional resources for those interested in sharing and borrowing, both on and off the OpenLab:

  • In the Spotlight is a blog series on The Open Road that highlights a different innovative OpenLab site each week. Review the archive, and check back weekly for inspiration. The courses/ projects highlighted change every week!
  • The L4 site (Living Lab Learning Library) is “a resource exchange for innovative teaching practices, ideas big and small, and a place where educators within and beyond City Tech can interact with each other, share classroom activities, and search for inspiration.”
  • The OpenLab is home to a growing list of OERs. Find them easily by going to the search page and filtering for OERs.
  • The Teaching and Learning Center at The Graduate Center, CUNY has a site called Visible Pedagogy in which members of the CUNY community dialogue about teaching and learning.

As we wrapped up the evening, we recognized that some of the barriers to valuing open pedagogy are deeply institutionally entrenched throughout academia. To be sure, much work still remains to be done to reinforce the value (financially and otherwise) of open pedagogy. There is much work to be done to proliferate the culture of responsible sharing that undergirds open pedagogy. Proper citation practices are a good starting place, but continued development of best practices for sharing and adapting existing open course materials is also necessary, for  like all things, these will age and need to continually updated. As noted, the culture around sharing and remixing at CityTech is, opening up. The (growing) resources for making digital pedagogy open on the OpenLab are a testament to this.

Have you ever borrowed or shared your instructional materials?

Have there, in your experience, been benefits to keeping pedagogy “open”?

Do you share any of the concerns about sharing and remixing outlined above?

Do you have any additional resources for sharing and remixing you think should be highlighted?

Join the conversation below!

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All-in-all, it was a great evening! Thanks to all who attended the event for a rich and provocative discussion, and for the support from the Provost’s Office.

Join us for our upcoming linked workshop:

  • Workshop, Thursday 11/1 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM (AG-21): A hands-on look at remixing and sharing on the OpenLab RSVP

Learn more about workshops and office hours on The Open Road!

Check out our student blogging team, The Buzz!