Open Pedagogy Recap: OpenLab at the CUE/OER Showcase!

On Friday, October 30, the OpenLab team along with City Tech librarian Cailean Cooney hosted a digital workshop as part of the 2020 CUE Conference and CUNY OER Showcase.

This conference was originally planned for March 2020, but was rescheduled due to the pandemic. Because so much about our teaching and learning environment has changed since then, we adapted our February Open Pedagogy session to talk with folks about access and accessibility in our current circumstances.

Below are our discussion questions- talked through together via Google Docs instead of on chart paper!- and some highlights from participant comments.

1. What connotations do you have with the word “accommodation”?

people shouldn’t be “accommodated for,’ but instead design should consider the full range of human experience / abilities / dispositions”

“an accommodation is a place to stay…it’s a place at least comfortable, ideally welcoming and friendly, for all of us.”

Requires medical documentation, submission to disability office, approval and recommended “reasonable accommodation” for traditional learning styles”

Flexibility, willingness to make things easier and accessible.”

2. How do OERs help us address equity and access? What does the platform you use to share open course materials with students have to do with access? 

if students can’t get to materials from their available devices, this is a huge barrier to entry! mobile/tablet access is how many CUNY students (and honestly fac/staff) use the web!”

The platform is critical and should not be a secondary consideration. Using proprietary platforms to share open content is (IMO) problematic, and is a reason I’m happy that open solutions like openlab exist.”

Our LMS on campus simply can’t be used on a mobile phone even though the vast majority of my students are using mobile phones”

3. How does our current sociocultural situation affect how we think about access in higher education? What new questions or concerns have come up around using technology to facilitate access?

Access to … food, health care, child care, technology, space to work– it’s all part of the mix. We have to think of “access” in this much larger context.”

I’m thinking much more about how to take time into account in course design, course expectations for students, and for faculty. For instance, the time it will take to do required readings?”

I’ve most of all been thinking about how to make my sites accessible to those with poor internet access. Post-COVID, I realize that I need to redesign sites checking for bandwidth, loadability. I tested my sites with Google Page Speed, and although they seem fast on my internet, they clearly are not easily loadable.

I’ve been using more radical course policies than I have been brave enough to try in the past. I don’t want to go back, even after the pandemic. The current situation is just a more heightened/visible version of a situation that totally already existed.”

FLEXIBLE DUE DATES”

The technology needs to be taught, not just assume everyone knows how.”

4. What are some current strategies you have, or would like to try, to make course content accessible / useful / usable to all students, with shifting and complex needs?

Reflection-based grading: students respond to their own work from a reflective perspective, analyze what they struggled with and did great at, and assign themselves grades based on their work towards each project in the first-year writing/whatever course. (Read Jesse Stommel on ungrading!)”

Check-ins with students”

Lastly, some resources that might be useful in considering accessibility strategies:

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]

CUNY IT Conference 2018

Please see below the invitation to the CUNY IT conference next Thursday and Friday, November 29th and 30th, as well as a link for registering for the conference.

The OpenLab team will be presenting, so come join us: Friday, 9:30am: “Opening Education at CUNY with Commons in A Box OpenLab” and Friday, 1:00pm: “Opening the OpenLab at City Tech: Meeting CUNY’s Challenges.” Reply with a comment to let us know when you’re presenting, too!

****************************
TO:                      The CUNY Community
FROM:               Brian Cohen
DATE:                November 6, 2018
RE:                      Invitation to the 2018 CUNY Instructional/Information Technology Conference

I am delighted to extend to you and your colleagues this invitation to attend the 17th Annual CUNY IT Conference, which will take place this year on Thursday, November 29 and Friday, November 30 at John Jay College. I hope you will join me in attending; registration is free for members of the CUNY community. Please be aware that pre-registration is important as we need to be able to estimate attendance. You will find an overview of the Conference, the full program and the keynotes, and the link to register at www.centerdigitaled.com/events/CUNY-IT-Conference.html

The theme for this year’s conference is “Technology and Education: Challenges and Opportunities,” which will include the following topics:

·         How does technology provide challenges and opportunities for multiple stakeholders at CUNY and across the varied sectors of teaching, learning, research, and administration?

·         How do educators perceive the challenges and opportunities of technology in the classroom? And how do they balance them?

·         How can technology create new opportunities for students? What challenges does technology present that may also be viewed as opportunities for teaching and learning?

As with prior conferences, this year will feature two keynote speakers. The Thursday keynote is the author and NPR lead education reporter Anya Kamenetz, who will offer new ideas on the evolution of education and learning, including reforms and actions necessary to advance workforce training and reduce student debt. The Friday keynote speaker is Professor Stephen Brier from the Graduate Center’s Urban Education PhD program and founder and first coordinator of the Graduate Center’s Interactive Technology and Pedagogy certificate program.

The Conference begins at 12 pm on November 29, followed by two sets of concurrent presentations, Anya Kamenetz’s keynote address at 3:30 pm, and Interim Chancellor Vita C. Rabinowitz’s Welcome to the Annual CUNY Technology Awards at 4:30 pm. Day 2 (November 30) begins with continental breakfast at 8:30 am, concurrent sessions starting at 9:30 am, Professor Brier’s keynote address at 10:45 am, lunch, two more sets of concurrent sessions, and finally an end-of-day drawing with prizes from the vendors.

I look forward to seeing you there.

 

The OpenLab at the CUNY IT Conference 2015

We had a great time presenting at the CUNY IT Conference last week, where we showcased recent OpenLab community-building innovations, including L4: Living Lab Learning Library, a faculty-generated repository for General Education assignments; Open Educational Resources; The Buzz student blog for discussion and community building among students; and Patrick Corbett’s usability study that surveyed faculty engagement and recommended best practices. Presenters also discussed the OpenLab’s new mobile-friendly design and future initiatives, including cohort-based projects and collaborations across CUNY.

Thanks to everyone who came to our presentation, and to all our excellent presenters!  They were:

  • Jill Belli, Assistant Professor of English/OpenLab Co-Director
  • Cailean Cooney, Instructor, User Services Librarian
  • Patrick Corbett, Assistant Professor of English
  • Charlie Edwards, Living Lab Co-Director
  • Scott Henkle, Senior OpenLab Community Facilitator
  • Anna Matthews, Assistant Professor of Dental Hygiene/L4 Director
  • Andrew McKinney, Senior OpenLab Community Facilitator
  • Jody R. Rosen, Assistant Professor of English/OpenLab Co-Director
  • Laura Westengard, Assistant Professor of English/L4 Director

The presentation slides can be viewed below or downloaded as a PDF.  And, please feel free to leave a comment with any questions or ideas!

Download (PDF, 3.5MB)