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.

Early March News

... plan
“… plan” by wallsdontlie via Flickr

With Spring 2021 well underway–dare we say approaching midsemester!–the OpenLab team has some helpful information to share:

  1. Learn more about the support the OpenLab provides, both synchronous and asynchronous. The Spring 2021 support schedule includes open hours, one-on-one appointments, helpful OpenLab screencasts, and as always, email. Your group can also request a workshop.
  1. Everyone can share their ideas about the semester with the community on Open Pedagogy on the OpenLab. Anyone can comment–but also consider joining the project so you get updates whenever there are new posts about teaching and learning in the open!
  1. You can learn more about the latest OpenLab News, including the most recent updates to the OpenLab. For example, if you’re using the block editor to write posts and pages, you’ll be glad to know that the tool bar is now much easier to use! 
  1. PLAN Week is underway! You can learn more about the opportunities for students on the PLAN Week page of the City Tech Guide on the OpenLab.

The OpenLab, City Tech’s open digital platform for teaching, learning, and collaboration, offers virtual open hours, online support, and technical and pedagogical guidance throughout the year.

The OpenLab team also offers a selection of Help materials for Distance Education, plus Courses, Projects, Clubs, and Portfolios

Contact us with questions: openlab@citytech.cuny.edu!

The OpenLab Team

In the Spotlight: PLAN Week

PLAN Week is upon us at City Tech!

This week, from March 1 to March 5, students can come together for daily events to help them plan different aspects of their future (and present) at City Tech and beyond. Learn about each day’s events and register for as many as you can fit in your schedule. The week includes get-togethers on the following topics:

  • PLAN your Education
  • PLAN your Registration
  • PLAN for Remote Learning
  • PLAN your College Finances
  • PLAN for Success

There are also sessions to meet with peer mentors, and get support from counseling services, among other topics.

The event’s organizers describe the goals of the sessions: “to guide students to seek academic advisement, be directed to degree maps, offered workshops and success seminars, as well as virtual get-together sessions to develop an academic and professional identity through experiences beyond the classroom.”

These get-togethers will give students a chance to hear from faculty, staff, and students about these important topics, and to meet other students.

It’s no surprise that guiding students is a primary goal of PLAN Week–it’s part of The Guide, a site on the OpenLab that houses information for students about a wide variety of topics important for success in courses and at college. Want to know more about City Tech’s Guide? You can visit the project on the OpenLab and also read an earlier In the Spotlight about City Tech Guide’s offerings.

In the Spotlight: OpenLab Support

Up The Irons
“Up the Irons” by Florin C via Flickr

The OpenLab Team is here for you, but where exactly is here?

Synchronous support

Open Hours

Throughout the semester, the OpenLab Team hosts weekly open hours for students, faculty, and staff to get acquainted with the OpenLab, ask questions, explore new tools, and learn more about what’s possible when working in an open digital environment. These are open for multiple people to participate in at the same time.

One-on-one Appointments

If anyone wants any or all of the above but without other participants present, there are also one-on-one appointments available. Both these and the Open Hours are now conducted via Zoom.

Workshops by Request

The team is also available for workshops by request for a group (department, course coordination group, club, research group, etc) to learn together about any aspect of the OpenLab specifically or about open digital teaching and learning practices more broadly. All of the links provided here take you to the Support section on The Open Road, which is a site that the OpenLab Team uses to broadcast news, updates, and spotlights.

Asynchronous Support

Help

If there’s a question you have, we’ve probably thought about it, written about it, and made screenshots about it. Visit the Help as a starting point for OpenLab support to find answers to your questions (and to questions you didn’t even know you had).

Email

Use the contact form on the Help page, or email the OpenLab Team directly (OpenLab@CityTech.cuny.edu) to ask questions, report a problem, request a new feature, etc. If you’re having a problem with your account (signing up, logging in, etc), it’s best to email from your City Tech email account.

Screencasts

The OpenLab Team has been busy making screencasts to provide asychronous support in new ways. You can find a link to the screencasts in the Support section of The Open Road. That link will take you to a YouTube channel with all of the OpenLab screencasts.

Modules

There’s a lot of help in Help. For a more focused experience getting ready for teaching and learning on the OpenLab, visit these modules:

  • Faculty members can learn more about getting course sites ready throughout the semester, using the Teaching with the OpenLab module as a guide.
  • Students can get ready to use the OpenLab throughout the semester using the helpful OpenLab for Students module.

Open Pedagogy on the OpenLab

Open Pedagogy on the OpenLab is another site the OpenLab Team runs. It provides resources, support, and community space for anyone exploring teaching with open digital pedagogy. Until we can meet again in person, the OpenLab team will continue to use this site to pose questions and solicit community conversation in lieu of the popular Open Pedagogy events. Anyone can comment, even if they’re not part of the City Tech community–but if you’re an OpenLab member also consider joining the project so you get updates whenever there are new posts about teaching and learning in the open.

Comforting Content for COVID Coping

Finally, if what you need is something comforting, cute, or just generally different from what you’ve been looking at all day on your screen, visit Comforting Content for COVID Coping. Feel free to add or suggest if you have and idea for comfort or cuteness to offer!


Looking for additional support? Have an idea for additional ways the OpenLab Team can provide support? Feel free to reach out via email to OpenLab@CityTech.cuny.edu.

Welcome back!

Welcome back for Spring 2021! The OpenLab Team has some helpful information to share:

  •  The  Spring 2021 schedule  for OpenLab support is now available. Students, faculty, and staff can sign up for open hours and one-on-one appointments to ask specific questions or ask to learn more about topics such as getting started, using the OpenLab for courses, or how to use a tool  or pedagogical approach. Or any group can request  a workshop. Open hours and one-on-one appointments start today, 1/29, with additional options this Sunday and next Friday.
  •  Faculty members, have any questions about getting your course site ready for the semester? See helpful tips posted here: Teaching with the OpenLab.
  •  Students, want to help students get ready to use the OpenLab this semester? See the helpful OpenLab for Students module.  
  •  Get inspired by what City Tech has done on the OpenLab by looking through our past In the Spotlight posts. This week’s spotlight is shining on them!

The OpenLab, City Tech’s open digital platform for teaching, learning, and collaboration, offers virtual open hours, online support, and technical guidance throughout the year.

The OpenLab team also offers a selection of Help materials for Distance Education, plus Courses, Projects, Clubs, and Portfolios

Contact us with questions: openlab@citytech.cuny.edu!

The OpenLab Team

Artist credit: Adam J. Koon

Transition to Virtual Office Hours

If you’re reading this, you must have the OpenLab on your mind, too. Whether you’re completely new to it, an expert, or somewhere in between, the OpenLab team is working to support you. We’ve revamped our support schedule for the rest of the semester to support distance learning. Here are the highlights:

  • We’ve converted all in-person support to virtual office hours.
  • Please be patient with us, and we will certainly be with you–we’re still figuring out how these remote office hours will work, what we need to be mindful about, what the best practices are. Our trial run will be today, 1:00-3:00pm. You can meet us here.
  • We’re offering more office hours: each week has at least two sessions of office hours, two hours each.
  • We’ve shifted the workshop times to office hours: that way, we can address the specific questions you have rather than focusing on the content of our workshops.
  • We’re asking that if you’re interested in participating in office hours, please let us know by sharing  your contact info etc and in a sentence or so what you’re hoping to work on. It can help us be prepared and make the most of our time together.
  • Here are instructions for joining office hours remotely.
  • As always, we will continue to offer email support–if you can easily ask your question this way, we encourage it. It’s the same as for your teaching: asynchronous (not working at the same time) is going to be more feasible than synchronous (working at the same time) support. Email us at OpenLab@citytech.cuny.edu or use our contact form.
  • Our extensive Help section might have the answer you’re looking for!

As you think about what work you want help with, we want to encourage you to be realistic about what you can reasonably do this semester. Use tools that will make those goals possible, and that you’re comfortable with. During office hours, we might show you how to use the OpenLab to do something, but we might encourage you to use other tools you have available to you that you already know how to use (eg email).

We hope to see you on the OpenLab again soon!

Announcing Commons In A Box OpenLab!

Commons In A Box OpenLab logoEver since the OpenLab launched at City Tech back in Fall 2011, the OpenLab team has  been asked: “How can I get the OpenLab at my campus?” There wasn’t a good answer, until now.

The OpenLab team is excited to announce the public release of Commons In A Box OpenLab, a free open-source software platform for teaching, learning, and collaboration.

For the past two years City Tech’s OpenLab team has partnered with the Commons In A Box team, based at The Graduate Center, CUNY, to create a new teaching-focused version of their Commons In A Box community-building software that’s modeled on City Tech’s OpenLab.

Because the software is freely available, faculty members, departments, and entire institutions anywhere in the world will be able to create and customize their own OpenLabs!

This exciting development would not be possible without the contributions of our 27,000 OpenLab members over the past seven years. The OpenLab is a community-focused and community-driven platform, and it is so successful because of our community. So a big thank you to each and every one of the OpenLab’s members.

CBOX OpenLab homepage

The project was made possible by a Digital Humanities Implementation Grant awarded to The Graduate Center, CUNY, by the National Endowment for the Humanities’ (NEH) Office of Digital Humanities.

To learn more, check out the official launch announcement and the Commons In A Box site. And, as always, contact us at openlab@citytech.cuny.edu if you have any questions.

OpenLab workshops this week

This week, join the OpenLab Community Team for the last student and faculty/staff OpenLab workshops of the semester:
FOR STUDENTS:
 
INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE ABOUT CITY TECH’S OPENLAB?
JOIN US FOR THE FINAL SPRING ’14 WORKSHOP!

OPENLAB TOOLS, TIPS, AND TRICKS
Learn new skills for working with the OpenLab.
    Thursday, 5/1, 2:00-3:00pm, G604
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FOR FACULTY AND STAFF:
We on the The OpenLab Community Team know that the end of the semester is in sight, and hope that you have the time to join us for the final workshop of the semester:

REORGANIZING YOUR OPENLAB SITE (Experience Required!)–NEW!

Now that you’ve worked on the OpenLab for a while, learn how to structure your site for improved interaction with your audience.

  Thursday, 5/1, 3:30-5:00pm, G604

* Faculty/Staff workshops require registration. All part-time faculty are eligible to receive a stipend for workshop participation. Questions? Please contact us at OpenLab@citytech.cuny.edu.

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What is the OpenLab? Check it out at openlab.citytech.cuny.edu. The OpenLab is a key part of the U.S. Department of Education Title V grant-funded project, “A Living Laboratory: Revitalizing General Education for a 21st-Century College of Technology.”
For more information, contact our friendly Community Team at openlab@citytech.cuny.edu