In the Spotlight: BIPOC IN DESIGN

In celebration of Black History Month, we’ve been shining the spotlight on Prof. George Larkins’s BIPOC IN DESIGN site honoring BIPOC creators in the fields of art and design.

In addition to the artists and designers highlighted on BIPOC IN DESIGN’s home page, there are additional resources featuring artists and designers from different backgrounds in the BIPOC Designers section of the site.

Visitors can also learn more by browsing through Events and Stories to find links to websites listing recent and upcoming events, useful resources, and more. The sites linked to for their events are themselves useful resources worth browsing.

How has your department or program celebrated Black History Month this year?

Image credit: Avatar from the OpenLab profile of BIPOC IN DESIGN, called BIPOC Resource Site.

This Month on the OpenLab: February 2024 Release

Orange fritillary butterfly with open wings on a bright yellow, pink, and orange lantana flower.
Valentine’s – a fritillary heart, by Vicki DeLoach, is licensed under CC ​​BY-NC-ND.

On February 13, we released version 1.7.74 of the OpenLab. It included a new theme, a few minor plugin and theme updates, and a bug fix.

New theme

We added a new theme called Typology. It allows for a lot of customization in Dashboard > Theme Options, but also looks good as soon as you activate it, without needing to make any changes. 

Help documentation for the theme is coming soon, but there’s also good documentation from the theme authors. 

Bug fix and other updates

There was a bug in the Discussion forum that appears on a Course, Project, or Club profile that was preventing any pages beyond the first page of discussion from showing. This has been fixed.

We made a few small text changes on the sign up page. One was to clarify that when we ask for your email address to sign up it won’t be displayed publicly on your Profile. We also adjusted the text in the avatar upload section to make it more clear that an avatar doesn’t have to be a picture of yourself – it can be anything that represents you or your interests. 

– 

As always, please contact us with any questions!

In the Spotlight: Spring 2024 Welcome!

Welcome to a new year and the Spring 2024 semester! City Tech is welcoming even more new students and faculty members–so welcome to everyone new, and welcome back to everyone returning!

The OpenLab team is excited to work with you this semester as you do great things on the OpenLab–and to help you learn more about using the OpenLab and working in an open community.

This Winter Break, there were some exciting new features added to the OpenLab, and some updates in response to members’ needs. You can read about them in the January 2024 edition of This Month on the OpenLab. We’re especially excited about this new option to change the visibility of posts made on open sites–now in addition to posts being as open as the course is or private between author and site admin, authors have the option to share their work with only members of the group or only members of the OpenLab.

As the Spring 2024 semester begins, check out the OpenLab’s synchronous support:

  • Open Hours: students, faculty, and staff can sign up for open hours, one-on-one appointments to ask specific questions or ask to learn more about topics ranging from getting started to using a tool to implementing pedagogical approach. 
  • Workshops: All are welcome for our calendar of workshops, plus any group can request a workshop on a topic or technique! The next workshops are on Thursday, 2/1:
  • Co-working sessions: for quiet working time with others, with the option to move to a breakout room for conversation or questions. The next co-working session is on 2/16:

There are also great asynchronous options for support:

Wishing everyone a safe, healthy, and inspiring new year and Spring 2024 semester. See you on the OpenLab!

Photo Credit: “Frozen Peanuts are Slippery!” by DaPuglet via Flickr under the license CC BY-SA 2.0 Deed.

This Month on the OpenLab: January 2024 Release

Cat bounding through the snow with ears back.

On January 23 we released version 1.7.73 of the OpenLab. It included some new features, as well as updates to all existing themes and plugins, including BuddyPress and WordPress, the two primary plugins that power the OpenLab. 

New Features and Functionality

We created additional post privacy options that appear on public sites, allowing you to choose from three different privacy options, for more fine-grained visibility choices when working in the open: 

  • Everyone: This is the default setting, which matches the setting of the open site. 
  • Site members: Only logged-in members of the site can see the post. 
  • OpenLab members: Only logged-in members of the OpenLab can see the post.

You don’t need to activate anything. These options will appear automatically when a site is set to either “Allow search engines to index” or “Ask search engines not to index this site.”

Additional privacy options, as described above.

We added a space for uploading an avatar when people first create an OpenLab account. We’re hoping this will encourage more members to add an avatar to their profile. It doesn’t have to be a picture of yourself – it can be a pet, a drawing, a photograph, or anything!

During the process of portfolio creation, the name and URL of the portfolio has always autofilled with the creator’s first initial and last name. It was possible to change it, but most people did not. In order to better protect members’ privacy and support people’s autonomy in how they choose to be identified on the OpenLab, we removed these default values so that portfolio title and URL must be filled in at the time of creation. People can choose to use their real name or their Display Name, which may not be the same. 

Plugins

We added four new plugins, and retired one plugin, CM Tooltip Glossary, in favor of a more accessible glossary plugin. The new plugins are:

TranslatePress 
We recently added the GTranslate plugin, which allows you to add an automatic translation option to your site. TranslatePress allows you to translate it manually, for a more accurate translation.

Reading Time WP 
This plugin adds an estimated reading time to posts and pages. 

WP Reading Progress 
Used alone or together with Reading Time WP, this plugin adds a progress bar to posts and pages, indicating to the reader how far along they are in the text.

Name Directory 
This plugin allows you to create a glossary, or multiple glossaries for your site. You can also allow others to submit glossary entries. 

Bug Fixes

We fixed an issue where the ‘Favorites’ dropdown in the OpenLab Toolbar was being skipped when navigating the site with a keyboard.

We made a few fixes to the OpenLab Attributions plugin to improve keyboard navigation, and to fix an issue preventing existing attributions from being edited.

– 
As always, please contact us with any questions!

In the Spotlight: Pre-semester Prep

It may be cold and snowy outside, but preparing for the upcoming semester is heating up. The OpenLab team is here to support your course building efforts!

Join a Workshop

Click here to view the full schedule and register to receive the Zoom link for the workshops.

Monday, 1/22/24

  • Getting Started on the OpenLab: 10:00-10:30am
  • Creating a Course Site: 10:30-11:30am
    (30 min break following this workshop)
  • Fostering an Interactive Course Site: 12:00-1:00pm
  • Co-working session: 1:00-2:00pm

Register for the 1/22/2024 Workshops

Tuesday, 1/23/24

  • Getting Started on the OpenLab: 1:00-1:30pm
  • Creating a Course Site: 1:30-2:30pm
    (30 min break following this workshop)
  • Fostering an Interactive Course Site: 3:00-4:00pm
  • Co-working session: 4:00-5:00pm

Register for the 1/23/2024 Workshops

Co-work with us

Last year, the OpenLab team piloted co-working session for quiet working time with others, with the option to move to a breakout room for conversation or questions. You’ll notice there are some co-working sessions listed above–and one just for First Year Writing (your group can request a co-working session, too). Whether you’ve come to the workshops or not, join OpenLab team to work on your course site, build out your portfolio, sort through your email, anything OpenLab or not OpenLab, or just to be a positive force for anyone else joining who needs that energy!

Help is here

Use Help materials and screencasts to guide your work. Search for your specific topic in the OpenLab’s Help section or navigate through the different sections. You can also reach out for email support by sending a message to us at OpenLab@CityTech.cuny.edu or via our contact form.

Want more? Request a workshop or co-working session for your group, or contact us to ask a question, or let us know what else we can do to support you!

Photo Credit

Spring Will Not Be Held Back” by Tim Dennell via Flickr under the license CC BY-NC 2.0 Deed

Reminder: More Co-Working Today!

The semester is nearly over, but there’s so much left to do! Let’s work together to finish something and get closer to being done!

The OpenLab Team is hosting a co-working session today, Friday, December 15th, 1:00-2:00PM. Join us in what we hope is a welcoming space that helps as you focus on accomplishing everything you need to finish. Bring whatever you want to work on, whether it be OpenLab related or not. We’ll bring bring work, too, plus some good energy for checking things off your to-do list.

You can work silently in the main Zoom room or move into a breakout room to talk with a collaborator or with one of our team members if you have specific questions we can help you with. 

Please share this opportunity with colleagues and students–all are welcome!

Photo credit: “Not a yellowjacket” by cotinis via Flickr is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 Deed

In the Spotlight: Student Surveys

The faculty and staff working on City Tech’s current Title V grant, the STEM Success Collaborative, have developed student surveys and are asking for faculty members to share one or both with students. Here’s a message from them:

We would like to ask you to participate in the Title V STEM Success Collaborative Grant through having your students take a survey designed to help improve life at the college.  The survey takes 10-15 minutes and should be given during the class to help ensure that students complete it. We would ask that you reach out to Anne Leonhardt (aleonhardt@citytech.cuny.edu) to confirm your participation. Students can participate in the surveys through December 21st, 2023.

The Student Surveys

These are the two surveys currently underway, so consider which is most appropriate for the students in your courses as you choose which to invite students to participate in:

Resource Communications Student Survey

Thank you for participating in the Resource Communications Student Survey!

The purpose of this survey is to identify the flow of information from the college and amongst students. We will ask you questions about how you find out about City Tech resources. Your participation in this research project is completely voluntary. You have the right to say no. Your continuing to the next page will indicate your consent to participate in this research. The data for this project is being collected anonymously, so your answers are completely confidential. Your willingness to participate in this survey and your responses will not affect your grades or academic standing with CUNY. Please answer the questions as honestly as possible. Thank you for your thought given to responding to these questions.

If you have any questions about how information from this survey will be used or other questions about this survey, please contact Anne Leonhardt at aleonhardt@citytech.cuny.edu.

Sense of Belongingness / Community

Thank you for participating in the Sense of Belongingness / Community survey!

The purpose of this survey is to understand your sense of belongingness and community within different peer groups, your major/department, and City Tech at large. Your participation in this research project is completely voluntary. You have the right to say no. Your continuing to the next page will indicate your consent to participate in this research. The data for this project is being collected anonymously, so your answers are completely confidential. Your willingness to participate in this survey and your responses will not affect your grades or academic standing with CUNY. Please answer the questions as honestly as possible. Thank you for your input in responding to these questions.
Information from this survey will be used to help us understand how students like yourself perceive City Tech and make changes to ensure that all students feel more welcomed and supported here.

If you have any questions about how information from this survey will be used or other questions about this survey, please contact Anne Leonhardt at aleonhardt@citytech.cuny.edu.

Reminder: Co-Working Today!

As the semester winds down, let’s work together to check things off the to-do lists we all have–or take some time to make to-do lists!

The OpenLab Team is hosting a co-working session today, Thursday, December 7th, 2:30-3:30PM. Join us in what we hope is a welcoming space that helps as you focus on accomplishing everything you need to finish. Bring whatever you want to work on, whether it be OpenLab related or not. We’ll bring bring work, too, plus some good energy for checking things off your to-do list.

You can work silently in the main Zoom room or move into a breakout room to talk with a collaborator or with one of our team members if you have specific questions we can help you with. 

Please share this opportunity with colleagues and students–all are welcome. And save the date for our next co-working session, on Friday, December 15th at

We hope this co-working session is useful for you–and let us know how else we can help!

Photo credit: “Working together again” by Nick via Flickr is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Deed

In the Spotlight: Science Fiction Symposium

The Spotlight is on the Science Fiction at City Tech website leading up to the Eighth Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium. This year’s event, Science Fiction, Gender, and Sexuality, will take place on Thursday, November 30th, from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. EST (GMT/UTC -5 hours) online via Zoom Webinar. It will also be available via YouTube Livestream.

Co-organizers Jill Belli, Wanett Clyde, Leigh Gold, Kel Karpinski, Lucas Kwong, Vivian Papp and Sean Scanlan invite everyone to join for the day-long event or stopping by as schedules permit. The online event is free and open to everyone. Links for registration on Zoom and the livestream on YouTube, along with the symposium program and participant bios, are available on the Science Fiction at City Tech’s event post on their OpenLab site.

Image credit: event poster by Lucas Kwong.

This Month on the OpenLab: November 2023 Release

Cardinal sitting on a railing.
Autumn Antics by  likeaduck is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND.

On November 15 we released version 1.7.72 of the OpenLab. It included one feature improvement, minor theme and plugin updates, accessibility improvements, and a bug fix.

Adding social media to your profile

In the August release, we introduced a new way to add social media links to your profile. In this release, we improved the mobile interface so the experience is cleaner and easier to use.

Fixes

We made a number of small accessibility fixes around the site, to improve the experience for people using screen readers. 

We also fixed a bug in portfolio creation causing the template chooser containing available site templates to disappear when a template category was chosen from the dropdown menu.


As always, please contact us with any questions!