This Week in the OpenLab: Student Blogger/Photoblogger Edition!

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Why should you become a student blogger or photoblogger?  Well, you can share your experiences and ideas with the City Tech community, collaborate with a team of students, publish your work on the OpenLab, gain real-world blogging experience, add to your resume, and get paid $300!

City Tech’s OpenLab, an open-source digital platform for students, faculty, and staff, is looking for enthusiastic City Tech students to blog weekly. Your posts could be about you: maybe you’re from far away, a parent, coming back to school after many years, a veteran, etc. Or you could write about what interests you and your friends and classmates: music, sports, food, movies. Or you could share your photography as a photoblogger.

Whether writing or photoblogging, OpenLab Student Bloggers will work with the OpenLab Community Team to create conversation on the OpenLab, commenting on the posts by other student bloggers and members of the OpenLab community. If you’re applying for blogging as a writer, you should:

  • have already passed English 1101
  • review The Buzz for a sense of what previous bloggers have done
  • send an email to
    • explaining what your posts will add to the OpenLab and why you should be chosen as one of our student bloggers
    • include a 400-word sample post that is clear and interesting for your potential OpenLab audience
    • attach your resume

If you are applying for photoblogging, you should:

  • have experience taking photographs and optimizing images for the web using Photoshop or similar software
  • send an email to
    • explaining what your posts will add to the OpenLab and why you should be chosen as one of our student bloggers
    • send at least 5 images to
    • attach your resume

This Week in the Openlab! November 4th Edition

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Hope your term going swimmingly!  We upgraded our WordPress system not too long ago and want to highlight the features of the new update for our users.  There are plenty more features than this, particularly on the back end, and if you’re interested you can have a look here.  What’s highlighted below are those features that will be most frequently encountered by our users.


WORDPRESS 4.0 “Benny”


  • Featured image previews now support .bmp files
  • Featured Image meta box is now hidden for contributors lacking upload capabilities
  • New supported oEmbed providers: CollegeHumor, Issuu, Mixcloud, YouTube playlists, TED talks
  • Streamlined Language management right from the dashboard


  • Display embed previews for audio/visual URLs in Visual editor content box.
  • Page scrolling now scrolls post content box.
  • Edit Post/Page menu bar sticks to top of content box when scrolling (Visual and Text editor).
  • Color picker was re-added to the Visual editor


  • Add Media Grid view option (default) for Media Library
  • Add “Bulk Select” button to Media Grid view to delete multiple items
  • Add oEmbed support for TED talks, Mixcloud,, Issuu
  • Expand oEmbed support to include YouTube playlist URLs and Polldaddy’s short URL format
  • Remove Viddler oEmbed support
  • Update SlideShare oEmbed regex
  • Improved media experience on small screen sizes (embedded videos now responsive)
  • Native video and audio shortcodes now support Flash playback looping


  • Comments in trash can now be marked as spam.


  • Display plugins list as grid, with thumbnails, on Add New screen.
  • Add popup window with plugin details (displays info from plugin’s directory page).
  • Add “Beta Testing” tab to Plugins screen for new features-as-plugins.


  • Improved keyboard accessibility in the Add Media panel
  • Improved screen-reader support for Customizer sections
  • Makes links in help tabs keyboard accessible
  • Improvements for screen-readers when managing widgets in the Customizer

That’s all for this week.  As always, email us anytime with your questions!

This Week in the OpenLab: October 21st Edition

(image by Mushin via Wikimedia Commons)

In keeping with our recent theme, this week we’re going to highlight some clubs from around the OpenLab.  Enjoy!


Energy and Environmental Simulation Laboratory (EESL)


EESL is Professor Masato R. Nakamura’s research group based on Mechanical Engineering Department in New York City College of Technology (City Tech), City University of New York (CUNY). This Lab is a research group, not a club, but opens to everyone who would like to conduct research on energy, environmental engineering (including ecodesign), and computing for sustainability. Also it’s for people who wish to obtain research and development (R&D) skills required in a high level position in the industry and academia.

Excellent students can be recommended to become research assistants in order to publish a paper as a co-author, and have an oral presentation in an international conference. These research activities make your resume strong (R&D skills, publication, professional presentation) and will be a huge advantage for finding an engineering position or being accepted or transfer to other graduate schools for obtaining master or doctoral degree.





As the club site creators write, “The music club was created to group together City Tech students who want to exercise their musical abilities. I expect to meet with members once a week on Thursdays during club hours (12:40pm-2:00pm). Ideally the club can  give us a chance to participate in school events and perform. We also have the chance to get to know other members within the club who share similar interests in music.”




Theatreworks, the resident theatre company at New York City College of Technology, is composed of students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members. Founded in 1974, Theatreworks has been recognized in the media and theater circles for its commitment to professionalism in performance, technology and the advancement of multicultural casting and crews in plays, videos, musicals, dance and other events. This unique approach to theatre has given Theatreworks citywide recognition and an audience from the greater New York area. Theatreworks is now performing in the state-of-the-art Voorhees Theatre, where a haunted hotel, the Gravesend Inn, has opened each October to hundreds of spectators for over 13 years. Each spring semester a resident group is hosted on campus to work with the Theatreworks students. Student technicians receive valuable training by participating in the lighting, sound, costume, video, publicity and scenery crews for performances each year. Theatreworks alumni can be found in the professional theater, in television and concert venues, and working with many theater-related companies in their respective communities. For further information about Theatreworks, call Professor Chip Scott in the Entertainment Technology Office in the Voorhees Building, room V 205, at 718.260.5590 or

That’s all for this week!

This Week in the OpenLab: October 9th Edition

Last week we highlighted OpenLab courses from this term. This week we thought we’d highlight a few project that are particularly interesting for the term.  Enjoy!



veterans affairs

Created last year, the Office of Veterans Support Services’ goal is to assess, plan, and expedite the required resources for our community of veterans at City Tech.  If you’re a veteran, you can find contact information, a list of events, and more!  Visit and support this growing, important project!




This site is a composition and grammar resource for students who want to write stronger papers. While topics here are produced in direct response to class discussions and interactions with students regarding specific writing concerns, they also are relevant to all students wishing to understand how to fix their own writing and gain a sense of how their writing questions are shared with others going through the same learning process.




This project features the photographs and writing of students in LAW 2301 Estates, Trusts and Wills, showing the varied ways that the inhabitants of New York City commemorate decedents. What’s particularly amazing about this site is the range–from large monuments we’ve all seen to tributes to Jam Master Jay to spontaneous street corner memorials, from all over the city.  Lovely lovely site.

That’s all for this week.  As always, contact us with any questions!

This Week in the OpenLab: October 2nd Edition

(image by Olve Utne via Creative Commons License)

Happy Holidays for some of you, happy short weeks for the rest. With the term well under way, we thought we’d highlight some courses! Enjoy!


LIB 1201 – Research and Documentation for the Information Age – Section D952 – Fall 2014

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This course, taught by Ian Beilin, explores research and documentation for all media formats including text, images, sound, and multimedia. Students will explore information issues, especially in terms of their relevance today: how information is produced and organized in both traditional and emerging media, how information access is affected by political, economic and cultural factors, and the ethics of information use. Students will also acquire the practical skills of locating information sources in a variety of media and formats, critical evaluation of sources, and documentation and citation of traditional and emerging media and technologies. Students will apply what they learn to create and present research and documentation projects.


Ways of Seeing: Adventures with Image & Text

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This Learning Community for ADGA students taking ADV1100 & ENG1101 and taught by our own Jenna Spevak and Jody Rosen includes field trips, hands-on projects, and cross-sensory experiences to help students’ discover and express their creative vision.  Great field trips, a nice blend of writing and art, and a great first visual assignment with written student reflection!


MEDU1010 Foundations of Math Ed, FA2014: Teaching Tomorrow’s Teachers.

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This course, taught by Andrew Parker, examines the historical, philosophical, and sociological foundations underlying the development of American educational institutions. The role of the schools, the aims of education, diverse learners, the mathematics curriculum in New York State, legal principles that affect education, and the role of state, local, and federal agencies will be emphasized.

We particularly love the”Why I Want to Be A Teacher” blog posts. Check them out here!

That’s all for this week!  Remember to contact us with any questions!

This Week in the OpenLab: September 17th Edition!


Living Lab Event: What’s New in the Living Lab

This message comes from Sandra Chang, who runs our very own Living Lab.  Come and find out what’s been happening in the Living Lab on Friday, September 19, 2014 in Namm 119, 11:45 am-1:30 pm. The dissemination event is open to all. See what your colleagues have been doing in the Living Lab. Take a break, grab a little lunch, and even think about different approaches to your own classroom. Hope to see you there!




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As we’ve been saying over the last couple of weeks, we’ve made quite a few upgrades to the OpenLab of late. One of which is a replacement for our Grader Plug-In, called OpenLab Grade Comments.  The plug-in is very very simple to use, with far less potential confusion for users, and an easier interface for privately leaving grades only the post creator and administrator can see. Once activated, you’ll see the two options appear next to any post. Easy!


That’s it for this week!  As always, email us with any questions!

This Week In The OpenLab: September 10th Edition!

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(image by via Creative Commons License)


Last week the OpenLab passed a huge milestone:  10,000 members!  We’re extremely proud to have fostered this community, and thank each and every one of you for participating, teaching, learning, and sharing.


Last week we mentioned that there were a number of updates, new features, and new bits of help on the OpenLab added or installed over the summer.  We’d like to spend the rest of this post (and probably the next–there are quite a few), pointing out a few of these.  Enjoy!

Theme Tutorials

While most of the themes on the OpenLab have the same (or very similar) functionality, we have a few themes that work quite a bit differently.  This means, in these cases, you might not be sure how they work or you might find them too complex for your use.  Fear not!  Our own Andy Mckinney has done us (and really, WordPress users everywhere) a great service by providing the clearest tutorials anywhere (we’re not kidding about that).  You can find tutorials here on the following themes:

Sliding Door

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Hero and Filter

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Member Portfolios in the Sidebar
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You can now add a list of member portfolios in the sidebar of your site.  It’s a great way for faculty to easily access student activity, particularly if the portfolio is a part of your class.  It’s also a good way for a club or project to gather and show off its membership!
You can add the desired portfolios under GROUP SETTINGS>SETTINGS.  Then you’ll be able to add the PORTFOLIO LIST widget to whichever sidebar you like.
That’s all for this week! As always, contact us with any questions!

This Week in the OpenLab–Back to School Edition!

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On behalf of the OpenLab, City Tech’s open-source digital platform where students, faculty, and staff can meet to learn, work, and share their ideas, we’d like to welcome you back (or welcome you) to the school year.  And welcome to The Open Road, our resource for all things OpenLab.  If you haven’t been here since the beginning of summer, you’ll find that we’ve started an overhaul of this site, simplifying our menu and the things you can find here and, we hope, creating an even more useful resource.



Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 4.02.15 PMThe OpenRoad is the place to sign up for workshops!  We have workshops throughout the fall for students, faculty and staff, on a variety of subjects.  You can sign up here, and be sure to check back here in January and in the Spring term for more updates.




(image by Johnathan Nightingale via Creative Commons License)

Another change to the Open Road is actually not an addition:  We’ve moved our overview of plug-ins and widgets to the help section of the OpenLab, and you can find that here:  While you’re there, have a look around the revised, expanded help section, which now includes troublesooting, FAQs, and Best Practices entries.



The summer has been a busy one here at the OpenLab, with a host of new features and resources.  We’ll be highlighting them all in the next couple of weeks.  Stay tuned and, as always, contact us with any questions!