Summer 2021 Virtual Support

The OpenLab is a great community-run platform for anyone at City Tech to expand their web presence. But we realize that you may need support in setting up your OpenLab site, or managing it as the semester continues. The OpenLab team is here to help!

We have scheduled virtual open hours this summer (see full schedule below), with two kinds: one-on-one appointments, and open drop-in hours.  Both kinds offer the opportunity to meet with a member of the OpenLab Community Team. All are held via Zoom and are open to faculty, staff, and students.

Drop-In Open Hours

Support in drop-in office hours is first-come, first-served. Come with specific questions, or ask us to review topics ranging from getting started, using the OpenLab for courses, facilitating communication within your class or group, to using a specific tool or pedagogical approach. If possible, please reach out to the OpenLab team in advance to let us know what questions you have or topics you want to hear about. Our drop-in open hours will take place during the following days and times:

June

6/9 (Wednesday), 10:00am-11:00am

6/23 (Wednesday), 12:00pm-1:00pm

July

7/6 (Tuesday), 12:00pm-1:00pm

7/22 (Thursday), 10:00am-11:00am

August

8/6 (Friday), 12:00pm-1:00pm

8/19 (Thursday), 2:00pm-3:00pm

8/23 (Monday), 10:00am-11:00am

8/24 (Tuesday), 2:00pm-3:00pm

To RSVP for drop-in open hours, use the scheduler here

When it is time for your open hours session,  click here to join us in our Zoom room.

One-On-One Appointments

We are also happy to offer one-on-one/private appointments. All of these appointments will take place on the same days listed above, but either immediately before or immediately after the drop-in hours. These one-on-one appointments will be limited to 30 minutes each. If you want additional support, please also attend the open hours.

June

6/9 (Wednesday), 11:00am-11:30 am OR 11:30am-12:00 pm

6/23 (Wednesday), 1:00pm-1:30 pm OR 1:30pm-2:00 pm

July

7/6 (Tuesday), 1:00pm-1:30 pm OR 1:30pm-2:00pm

7/22 (Thursday), 11:00am-11:30am OR 11:30am-12:00pm

August

8/6 (Friday), 1:00pm-1:30pm OR 1:30pm-2:00pm

8/19 (Thursday), 3:00pm-3:30pm OR 3:30pm-4:00pm

8/23 (Monday), 11:00am-11:30am OR 11:30am-12:00pm

8/24 (Tuesday), 3:00pm-3:30pm OR 3:30pm-4:00pm

To book a one-on-one appointment, please use the scheduler here.

We look forward to working with you!

This Month on the OpenLab: June 2021 Release

On June 3, 2021 we released version 1.7.52 of the OpenLab. It included the introduction of a new plugin for portfolios called OpenLab Private Comments, updates to the WP Grade Comments plugin, a change to the site options available during cloning, a few minor plugin and theme updates, and a bug fix for the OpenLab Attributions plugin.

New features and updates

OpenLab Private Comments plugin

This new plugin, based on WP Grade Comments, was designed with student portfolios in mind. It allows private comments to be added to posts and pages on the site where it’s activated. Only the site admin and the commenter can see the private comments.

WP Grade Comments plugin

We made a change to protect against accidental breaches of privacy if the plugin is deactivated. If this plugin was used on a site to provide grades and/or private comments, they will remain hidden even if the plugin is deactivated. This functionality is also included in the new OpenLab Private Comments plugin.

Cloning 

We removed two options in the “Site Details” section while cloning a course, project, or club that were confusing and not relevant to the cloning process. There are now two options available: 

  • Choose your cloned site: this will be the choice for the majority of cases, and will copy the contents of the site being cloned to the new site.
  • Use an external site: this option may be used when only the profile is being cloned, which will be attached to an external site.

Bug Fix

We fixed a bug in the OpenLab Attributions plugin, which caused the superscript number that links to an attribution to remain in the text even when the attribution was deleted.

As always, please contact us with any questions!

In the Spotlight: The Spring 2021 Semester, In Review

Photo by Federico Respini on Unsplash

Summer greetings from the OpenLab and congratulations to all on the closing of another semester! A special congratulations to the class of 2021!

While our weekly “Spotlight” blog series will go on hiatus for the summer, we wanted to remind you of the sites we featured this past semester, and encourage you to check them out if you haven’t already done so.

Spring 2021 Spotlight Posts

This past year, we released a series of OpenLab screencasts, providing audiovisual guidance to using different features of the OpenLab.

In addition to reviewing these posts from this past spring, you can find a full curated list of all sites that have been spotlighted in our  Spotlight Archive. This archive offers visitors 3 curated lists to help them sort through the posts:

  1. For everyone (By type of site – course, project, club, portfolio)
  2. For faculty/staff
  3. For students

As always, we also encourage you to check out our in-house sites:

The OpenLab Community Team will continue to offer email support over the summer– please contact us with questions or concerns.

We will also soon announce our summer programming, including one-on-one office hours. We will be in touch as we get more events and workshops on our calendar!

Wishing you all a very happy summer!

The OpenLab Community Team

In the Spotlight: City Tech Astronomy Club

This week we spotlight the City Tech Astronomy Club, which allows students to come together to explore the universe, even in a remote semester. Students in the club can use “Slooh.com” to access “online remote controlled telescopes located around the world.” Members can “conduct and participate in live observation observation sessions through a web browser interface,” and “look at remote galaxies, dying and exploding stars, dark spots on the sun’s surface, rings around Saturn and craters and mountains on the Moon.” 


Interested in learning more about the club? You can visit the club site to find out more! The City Tech Astronomy Club leaders have made information readily available for you by featuring a video on the evolution of telescopes and their current use in slooh.com, as well as a slideshow to teach you more about slooh.

In the Spotlight: PHIL2203ID Healthcare Ethics, OL 50, SP 2021

Header image for Heathcare ethics, two healthcare workers in the operating room.

This week, we spotlight Professor Rob MacDougall’s philosophy course, Healthcare Ethics. The timely course examines “major ethical theories of what is morally right and wrong, and the meaning of moral concepts (e.g., the concepts of right and duty). Focus is on ethical problems associated with the practice of medicine and biomedical research.” The course builds from the OpenLab OER template, using a clean, intuitive design that facilitates ongoing communication with students. It also shows how the OpenLab can be used in conjunction with other platforms (e.g. YouTube, Blackboard). Here are some highlights from the course:

  • A simple, sparse main menu that includes tabs for the Syllabus, Lecture Materials, and Assignments. We especially like that the syllabus is broken up into smaller parts: course policies on the one hand, and course readings and schedule on the other. This shortens the text contained on a single page and makes vital information more digestible and find-able!
  • A sidebar widget that directs students to the City Tech writing center. This is a great use of the sidebar widget space. Often, faculty opt to have a full page of additional resources that students can consult, including the Student Help Desk, the library, etc. But if you have a writing-intensive course and know your students will benefit from writing help, it can’t hurt to highlight the writing center in a widget, thus making it more visible.
Sidebar text widget that reads “visit the City Tech Writing Center for help with writing.”
  • A home page with regular announcements. Professor MacDougall makes sure to remind students when assignments are due, when they have been graded, when synchronous course is cancelled, etc. Remember that you can set your site’s email notifications to have your students receive a message when a new announcement is made.
  • Linking directly to turnitin.com in blog posts announcing that papers have been graded. For faculty who use turnitin or Blackboard to collect assignments, this is a good option. Working across platforms is necessary these days, but regularly linking out to these other platforms from your OpenLab site makes navigating back-and-forth easier for your students!
  • Using short YouTube videos for lectures and guest lectures (for example, here). As always, we recommend giving your students ample opportunities for this type of asynchronous learning. 

Healthcare Ethics is a thoughtfully designed course, kept current and engaging throughout the semester. Keep the link around as a model of an easy-to-navigate, effective site!

Science, Art, and the Climate Crisis Along the Brooklyn Waterfront

BWRC annual conference

OpenLab friends at BWRC, the Brooklyn Waterfront Research Center, are excited to invite everyone to join them at their annual conference! “Science, Art, and the Climate Crisis Along the Brooklyn Waterfront” starts on Thursday, May 6th, at 6:30, and with two sessions on Friday, May 7th starting at 9am.

Learn more and register at bit.ly/BWRC2021

Didn’t have a chance to register? Find the event live here.

About this event                                

The Brooklyn Waterfront Research Center announces its 2021 Annual Conference as the crisis of climate change reaches all corners of the globe — including the Brooklyn waterfront.

Early observations of the changes in the climate that have led to our current climate crisis were made by scientists; however, it has not been scientists alone who have addressed this crisis.

This year’s BWRC conference will explore the interdisciplinary ferment created by scientists, artists, activists, and others whose work grapples with our rapidly changing climate.

Bringing together a diverse array of scientists, artists and community members, we will discuss and learn from the integration of artistic practice and scientific inquiry as a method of addressing the climate crisis globally and locally along the Brooklyn waterfront.


		Science, Art and the Climate  Crisis Along the Brooklyn Waterfront image

Welcome, Roundtable Discussion, and Virtual Exhibit Tour

Join us on Thursday evening for an opening welcome and roundtable discussion exploring the intersections of art, science, and the climate crisis along the Brooklyn waterfront. The panelists — an artist, a scientist, a curator, and a photojournalist — will use the discussion to draw together the key issues of the conference and provide a broader framework for the following day’s sessions. As a closing activity, Elisa Gutiérrez Eriksen will provide a virtual tour of the new exhibit, Common Frequencies, opening May 1st at BioBAT Art Space at the Brooklyn Army Terminal.

Speakers:

  • Reginald Blake (Moderator), Interim Associate Provost, Dean of Curriculum; Research and Co-Director, Center for Remote Sensing and Earth System Sciences, New York City College of Technology
  • Jeannine Bardo, Artist, Founder / Artistic Director, Stand4 Gallery; Co-Founder / Co-Director, BioBAT Art Space
  • Klaus Jacob, Geophysicist, Emeritus Research Professor, Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
  • Mary Mattingly, Visual Artist
  • Nathan Kensinger, Brooklyn-Based Photographer, Filmmaker, Artist, and Curator

		Science, Art and the Climate  Crisis Along the Brooklyn Waterfront image

Session #1: Learning at the Intersection

Focusing on educational initiatives along the Brooklyn Waterfront, this session will feature community-based organizations that use innovative, interdisciplinary, and place-based approaches across the arts and sciences to better understand and address climate change.

Speakers:

  • Graciela Flores (Moderator), Science Educator; Founder, Kids Talk Science
  • Beth Tuck, Executive Director, Genspace
  • Eve Andrée Laramée, Professor, Art Department, Director, Dyson College Center for the Arts, Society, and Ecology, Pace University
  • Isa Del Bello, Education Director, Environmental Education Center, Brooklyn Bridge Park
  • Jasmin Alim, Education Manager, Genspace

Session #2: Working at the Intersection

Bringing together artists working in relationship to science, technology, and the environment, this session will highlight the creative integration of artistic practice and scientific inquiry as a method of making visible and addressing the climate crisis in new ways.

Speakers:

  • Katherine Gressel (Moderator), Contemporary Curator, Old Stone House & Washington Park; Artist, Writer.
  • Anna Lise Jensen, Artist; Co-Founder, Bike South Brooklyn
  • Simone Johnson, Interdisciplinary artist, researcher and cultural worker
  • Yuliya Parshina-Kottas, Designer, Researcher, Storyteller; Illustrator, The New York Times

For more information: http://brooklynwaterfront.org/

The BWRC has a project profile on the OpenLab so you can join their project and follow along with their updates. Their website is actually on the CUNY Academic Commons, the OpenLab’s sibling platform that’s for everyone at CUNY to use. So the BWRC are visible both here and in the larger CUNY landscape–or seascape? You can find helpful information there, including their previous annual conference information.

BWRC also communicates a lot via Twitter–if you don’t follow @BklynWaterfront, now you can! They often mention @CityTechOpenLab in their tweets, so you might have noticed them if you already follow us. Feel free to live-tweet the event!

Celebrating the Life and Work of Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks

You’ve probably noticed a project popping up on the OpenLab this semester, Celebrating the Life and Work of Gordon Parks: A COMD Student Group Art Show. This project works within the college-wide Gen Ed Theme, CONNECTED. In an effort to keep City Tech connected, COMD invites all of us to a celebration of the life and work of the photographer, author, filmmaker, designer, and activist, Gordon Parks.

The curated show, led by Grace Gallery Director Professor Sara Gómez Woolley, launched officially on April 15, with some impressive artwork in a variety of media from students in the Communication Design (COMD) department. All of the work connects Gordon Parks’s powerful artwork and words to the powerful weapons–to use Gordon Parks’s term–that COMD students have used to express themselves and their vision.

The show will remain up throughout the semester and beyond, so there’s plenty of time to explore all of the great student contributions. 

This week, there are two exciting Celebrating the Life and Work of Gordon Parks events:

  • Faculty Face Off: 4/29/21
  • Panel Discussion & Honors Reveal: 4/29/21

Thursday, April 29th, 12:30-2PM (Club Hours) – Faculty Face-Off 

The Faculty Face Off will be a live event during club hours.  It is part of a series spearheaded by Professors Josh Kapusinski and David Prusko. In the past, it was a live on campus event meant to build student engagement and departmental morale. Faculty were pitted against each other in a live design challenge in front of a screaming crowd of students. REALLY FUN! Now it’s online, and will be a great way to keep students and faculty connected and build excitement about the show. 

Professors go up against each other in a creative timed design challenge themed around the philosophies and work of Gordon Parks. Students choose the best work! Come root for your favorite professor! The details will not be revealed until the challenge date. DRAMA!

Watch the live stream from the COMD YouTube channel:

To participate in the chat or heckling, login to your Gmail account.   

Thursday, April 29th, 5:30-7PM – Gordon Parks Panel Discussion

Hosted by Professor George Larkins: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks

Watch the live stream from the COMD YouTube channel:

A Choice of Weapons, a panel discussion on the life, work, and impact of Gordon Parks.  This is the culminating event of the COMD department-wide celebration of the life and work of this visionary creator.  

Moderated by COMD Professor George Larkins, with Featured Panelists:

  • Dr. Marcyliena Morgan, Executive Director of the Hiphop Archive & Research Institute at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Research
  • Dr. Dionne M. Bennett, Assistant Professor, African American Studies Department, New York City College of Technology
  • Michal Raz Russo, Project Director, Gordon Parks Foundation

All voices welcome!  The event organizers invite you to contribute to this panel discussion – login to your Gmail account to ask a question, share a comment, etc. For more info contact Professor George Larkins glarkins@citytech.cuny.edu.

The evening will begin by revealing the Best in Show from the exhibition of student work inspired by Gordon Parks in the Grace Gallery Online

This event is hosted by:

  • The Communication Design Department, City Tech
  • And CO sponsored by:
  • The General Education Theme Committee, City Tech  
  • The Hiphop Archive & Research Institute at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Research
  • African American Studies Department, City Tech

In the Spotlight: City Tech’s EcoFest 2021

City Tech’s EcoFest 2021 poster

What do you plan to do for Earth Day? It’s this Thursday, April 22nd, 9:30am-5:00pm. Hopefully your answer is City Tech’s Sixth Annual EcoFest!

EcoFest is an annual college-wide event & Earth Day celebration providing a public forum for students, staff, faculty and guest speakers to share their ideas about City Tech and sustainability organized by the CityTech Sustainability Council.

The EcoFest site on the OpenLab is a project that has information about these different aspects of the Earth Day celebration: the full day of interesting panels and presentations of student work related to this year’s EcoFest theme of #RespectRestoreReflect.

You probably also noticed EcoFest in your email, on other sites on the OpenLab, and on Twitter–#EcoFest and #RespectRestoreReflect. Share your ideas here in the comments, on Twitter (with those hashtags!), and in other places you express yourself!

This Month on the OpenLab: March and April 2021 Releases

On March 15 and April 15, 2021 we released versions 1.7.49 and 1.7.50 of the OpenLab. They were both small releases, which included some changes to the OpenLab Attributions plugin, a few minor plugin and theme updates, and a small bug fix. 

OpenLab Attribution Plugin

We changed a few of the labels to make them more clear. In addition, we changed “Derivative Work” to “Adapted From” and under “Adapted From” added three additional items: Item Title, Author Name, and License. 

Bug Fix

In My Profile > My Settings > Email Notifications there was a duplicate section for “Individual Group Email Settings,” which we removed.

As always, please contact us with any questions!

In the Spotlight: Literary Arts Festival

This year’s Literary Arts Festival–the 40th annual installation of this City Tech institution–will no doubt be different than the previous 39, but certainly exciting and enriching as always.

We’re spotlighting both the festival itself–now virtual via Zoom–and the revamped call for student submissions. The organizers of the Literary Arts Festival emphasize that “Your Voice Matters. Your Story Matters. You Matter and We Care.” Instead of a writing competition, the call asks students to share stories with the City Tech community. The focus is on “quarantine, hardship, loss, resilience, social activism, remote education, mental health, essential workers, health care workers, caregivers” and can include “personal essay, poem, song, photography, illustration, video/animation, dance, spoken word performance”–so any format of creative work. Submit your work by March 17th.

Details on the call for submissions are available on the Literary Arts Festival’s OpenLab site.

Then check out–and share!–this awesome poster for the event, designed by Or Szyflingier in COMD! It has information for you to save the date for the event: on Tuesday, April 13, at 5:00pm, the City Tech community will gather for a Literary Arts Festival featuring spoken word artist Staceyann Chin and City Tech students from among those submitting their work for the call for submissions.

Before the festival, get to know Staceyann Chin’s spoken-word work. Here are some samples of her work from the Poetry Foundation, and some videos and further reading.

Thanks to the Student Government Association President Ngozi Okonkwo and the SGA Team for hosting, and for their work with English Department faculty, led by Dr. Caroline Hellman, in organizing and supporting this year’s festival.