In the Spotlight: You, in 2022

bubbles” by Indigo Skies Photography via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

This week, we’re spotlighting you, OpenLab members, and all the great work you do on the OpenLab. It’s a hectic few weeks, but soon the Fall 2022 semester will be behind us. Until then, keep doing great work and sharing great ideas on the OpenLab!

Need some inspiration to finish your work? Look around the OpenLab at all the courses, projects, clubs, and portfolios that OpenLab members create, contributed to, and made thrive. You can also look back at previous In the Spotlight posts.

If you need any OpenLab support to finish, remember that you can always sign up or drop in for Open Hours, find helpful information in our Help section, or reach out via email to ask a question.

And when the semester is over, take a step back and look at all you have accomplished, and ask yourself what work of yours would you spotlight this semester? Share in the comments links to or descriptions of especially proud of some of your work!

Then get inspired for next semester, too–but not before catching up on some sleep, enjoying some hot cocoa, or spending time with friends and family, or however you mark the end of the semester and celebrate all of your accomplishments!

In the Spotlight: OpenLab Open Hours

Two blue birds” by Babak Fakhamzadeh via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

The OpenLab Team has a number of requests for open hours and questions about how to access them, so here the open hours are in the Spotlight!

Open hours are an opportunity for any member of the City Tech community–students, faculty, staff–to meet one-on-one with a member of the OpenLab team to ask your OpenLab questions and accomplish your OpenLab goals. Each session is 30 minutes, so they’re like mini workshops on the exact topics you’re interested in.

Not sure what you want to ask about, but know you need help? That’s fine, too! You can use the time to learn about how to use your site to meet your learning or teaching goals, what tools can help you meet those goals and how to implement and use them, how to find Help materials, how to browse through the OpenLab to find excellent examples of City Tech community members working together, how to build something new like a club or an assignment–even how to get used to the block editor if you’re still using the classic editor. So many possibilities!

Check out the schedule, register for a 30-minute open hour session, and when it’s time, join via Zoom. See you there soon!

In the Spotlight: PLAN Week 2022

North Fork Yachats River Covered Bridge” by Ian Sane via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Let’s focus on PLAN week, which is now! From October 31 to November 4, students can meet with advisors to plan their next steps at City Tech. The PLAN Week page on the OpenLab has all the information you need to “Get with the PLAN!” so next semester you can have the schedule you want and courses you need to graduate.

The PLAN Week page includes the schedule for in-person advisement in the Atrium Learning Center and the Voorhees Computer Lab, as well as other Academic Advisement resources.

It also includes links to the Academic Advisement website and to Academic Advisement videos for anyone who wants asynchronous support–plus there’s info about how students can enter to win prizes for participating in PLAN Week!

Make sure to check the site out, and happy planning!

In the Spotlight: Commenting

Graphic Conversation” by Marc Wathieu via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

Exciting news about comments!

If you added formatted text, links, or media to your comments on OpenLab posts or pages recently, you probably noticed some changes. If you read our This Month on the OpenLab posts on The Open Road (in the OpenLab News category), you probably already knew about this change to add rich text and media embedding for comments. Here’s what’s new:

The OpenLab now has enhanced commenting functionality, allowing you and your site members and visitors to write comments with rich text (bold, italics, links, etc), and easily embed media by simply pasting the URL, as you would in a post.

When you add a comment, you’ll see buttons to add rich text styles to your comment – bold, italics, underline, and numbered and bulleted lists. There’s also a button for adding a link, and one for embedding media. 

These plugins are already activated on all OpenLab sites, so if you’re a site admin, you don’t need to do anything on your site. We have help for Commenting on a Site, which includes the new rich text and media embedding functionality.

We hope this helps to make discussions on the OpenLab even more vibrant! 

In the Spotlight: National HSI Week and Hispanic Heritage Month

This week is National HSI Week (September 12-18), overlapping with Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15). The HSI (Hispanic Serving Institution) Committee has invited everyone at the college to celebrate, get involved, and join the community.

The HSI Committee is using their OpenLab site to share information about all of the events happening on campus for HSI Week and Hispanic Heritage Month. That means that departments and initiatives are hosting events, and you can learn about them in one central place, their Upcoming Events page.

There are several events taking place this week, including the annual HSI Week Forum on September 15 from 12:45pm-2pm in the Faculty Lounge, L632 in the Library Building. The committee asks all planning to attend to Register Here so they can best plan for the event (and for refreshments, too).

The HSI Committee has invited all of City Tech to “come together to share ideas and next steps as we continue to work towards servingness as an HSI.”

If you haven’t already, check out the list of upcoming events and start participating!

In the Spotlight: Connect Day

Tall tower with interconnecting poles and cables against a blue sky background
Connecting Cables” by Erik Shepers via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

At the beginning of the each semester, City Tech welcomes new students, and part of that welcome is Connect Day New Student Welcome. This semester, Connect Day takes place on Thursday, September 1st during Club Hours, 12:45-2:00pm. All new students should plan to attend!

New students attending Connect Day will join faculty, student leaders and peers in every academic department for an information session about their major! Students will have the opportunity to learn more about the courses they will take, where to go to receive academic advisement, discover important information critical to success, and learn more about being a member of the City Tech community.

A really exciting development this semester is that students who don’t have a major yet–undeclared students–have a Connect Day, too! Lauri Aguirre, Director of First Year Programs, will be hosting that session for anyone who has yet to declare their major.

Prof. Sue Brandt (from Entertainment Technology in the School of Technology and Design) built the useful Connect Day site as a project on the OpenLab; it includes information for students to find their department’s Connect Day event, including the location on campus or via Zoom. Additionally, the site uses the three schools at City Tech–Arts and Sciences, Professional Studies, and Technology and Design–to organize the list of departments and information about who will be leading each department’s event and a link to the department’s website. Not sure which department is in which of the three schools at City Tech? You can browse through each list to learn more. There is information about the Connect Day session for Undeclared majors in the list for each of the three schools.

Connect Day New Student Welcome
Thurs, Sept. 1, 2022
12:45 PM to 2:00 PM
Find the location for each department’s Connect Day event:

The site also includes other information to help orient students to City Tech and college work.

We hope new students find their way to their department for Thursday’s Connect Day, and that faculty and staff members and returning students share this information to help new students find their way to the right place for Connect Day.

Welcome again, and happy connecting!

In the Spotlight: Fall 2022 Welcome!

Welcome” by Stuart Caie on Flickr, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Welcome to a new academic year! We’ve heard that this 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. Check out the Fall 2022 OpenLab support options and join us for 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: We have workshops slated for the next two weeks, on Getting Started and on Working on the OpenLab. All are welcome.
  • Requested Workshops: Any group can request a workshop on a topic or technique! 

There are also great asynchronous options for support:

Remember, returning OpenLab members will need to reset their password. If you need help, these password reset instructions will guide you through the process. Reach out to us if you need additional help!

Wishing everyone a safe, healthy, and inspiring start to the semester. See you on the OpenLab!

Summer Series 2022

start” by nchenga via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

A 5-Part Self-Guided Series To Get Everyone Started on the OpenLab

Part 5 of 5: Planning your Semester, Pt. 2

Now that you’ve worked through Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of the OpenLab Summer Series, let’s work through Part 5! In this final installment, we wrap up our summer series with two tasks that will get your course up and running for the start of the semester. These tasks involve setting up your dynamic course content as well as your first few assignments.

Task 1: Customize your Posts

  • Read through the posts that come pre-loaded in new courses. By default, these are published all together in the Home page. 
    • Note the function of these posts. Unlike pages, which you used in Part 4 to publish your syllabus and course policies, posts are used to convey dynamic content, new information that will be updated throughout the semester.
    • Note that these pre-written template posts have 6 categories: Announcements, Surveys and Quizzes, Discussions, Student Work, Assignment Instructions, and Class Agendas. These categories can be accessed from the main navigation menu and can always be edited.
  • Edit each of these posts, adapting them to your course’s needs. You may decide that you don’t need some of the posts, in which case you can delete them.

Task 2: Design Student Assignments

  • Read the Designing Assignments section in OpenLab help for links to example assignments created by your colleagues.
  • Decide how you will  collect student work. Consider the following:
    • Do you want students to submit work you can read directly on your Course Site, or files that you can download onto your computer?
    • Do you want students to be able to see and respond to each other’s work?
    • What kind of feedback do you want to provide and where?

You are now well-equipped to start the semester on the OpenLab. The OpenLab Community Team is of course available to help you at any point in your process, so check our Support offerings, read through our Teaching with the OpenLab and OpenLab for Students modules, search through Help, or email the OpenLab Community Team with a question.

Summer Series 2022

start” by nchenga via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

A 5-Part Self-Guided Series To Get Everyone Started on the OpenLab

Part 4 of 5: Planning your Semester, Pt. 1

We hope that Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of the OpenLab Summer Series have helped you get ready to plan your semester in Part 4!

In this installment, we suggest two tasks to guide faculty in planning their semester. Both tasks help faculty customize the OpenLab course template to communicate with their students. 

Task 1: Explore Student-Instructor Communication in the Course Template

  • The template is a suggested model for designing your course. It is informed by known best practices for online and  hybrid teaching, but can and should be customized to suit your vision for your semester. Before you begin further customizing the template, ask yourself:
    • What information do students need from me to be successful this semester?
    • How would I like students to communicate with me this semester?
    • What kind of class dialogue would I like to see this semester?
  • Get familiar with the different types of communication facilitated through the course template:
    • The template facilitates communication from instructors to students. Under the Course Info tab, you will notice pages for your syllabus, the course schedule, and your contact information—all crucial content for your students to know and have access to on your site. The template also uses a category archive for your regularly updated announcements to students.
    • The template facilitates communication between instructors and students. For example, the home page includes a survey for your students to fill out at the start of the semester so that you can understand the technology and working spaces available to them as they working both on- and off-campus. Responses to the survey can inform your communication with students throughout the rest of the semester, as well as shape your expectations for course assignments and participation. 
    • The template also uses category archives for students to submit their assignments, and suggests a number of mechanisms through which you can provide feedback and grades on student work. (Note that FERPA protects student record privacy, and student work should not be graded publicly.)
    • The template facilitates communication between students! This is a key part of creating a lively online classroom. A category archive for Discussions creates a suggested space for students to hold class dialogue online. A first assignment is suggested to you in which students introduce themselves to each other, and encourages students to respond to each other’s introductions for extra credit.

Task 2: Customize the Pages on your Course

  • Prepare and gather your course materials for your site. These materials convey information from you to your students, and include:
    • Your syllabus
    • Your contact information
    • Your grading policy/ grading rubrics
    • Your course schedule.
  • Update the pages on your course site with these materials! 
  • If you have course readings that are available online, decide now how you will link to these readings from your OpenLab site. Please make sure to read our copyright guidelines as you do this.
    • Are your readings freely available online? Can you provide links in your syllabus/ class agendas/ course schedule?
    • Are your readings large PDF files? If so, we recommend using an external hosting service to host these files, such as Dropbox, Office 365 or other hosting service provided by the college. You can provide your students with instructions on how to access this service on your OpenLab site. 

In our final installment, we’ll focus on answering the questions “how can OpenLab sites further facilitate communication between students?” and “how can students submit work on the OpenLab?”

End-of-summer support

Dino’s Wonder Wheel” by Eric via Flickr CC BY 2.0

This is not a welcome back post–there’s still a week until the semester begins on August 25th! This is instead a reminder of all the support the OpenLab Team offers students, faculty, and staff members for getting started, setting up your OpenLab site, and continuing your OpenLab work as you get ready for next week.

Summer 2022 Workshops

Join the OpenLab team for a workshop to learn–or learn more–about the OpenLab! These workshops are open to all students, faculty, and staff members.

Use the registration links below to sign up and get a Zoom link for each day’s workshops.

Friday, 8/19:

  • 12:30-1:00 Getting Started
  • 1:00-2:00: Working on the OpenLab
  • 2:30-3:30: Creating a Site on the OpenLab

Register for 8/19 workshops. Please indicate which workshops you plan to attend (you are welcome to attend all).

Tuesday, 8/23:

  • 12:30-1:00 Getting Started
  • 1:00-2:00: Working on the OpenLab
  • 2:30-3:30: Creating a Site on the OpenLab

Register for 8/23 workshops. Please indicate which workshops you plan to attend (you are welcome to attend all).

The OpenLab Team looks forward to supporting you and seeing your great work on the OpenLab. And stay tuned for the Fall 2022 Welcome!