In the Spotlight: #TheGuide

Greetings OpenLab Community! We are now in the 4th week of the semester, with many of you settled into the routines of your fall semesters, and some of you may be wondering, what else?! This week we’re spotlighting #TheGuide as one response to that question. #TheGuide is one-of-a-kind, created by City Tech community members for City Tech community members (and more specifically, students of Professor Karen Goodlad and Professor Laura Westengard) and “includes tips and advice about City Tech’s campus and the surrounding community, including the Brooklyn Waterfront”.

Hungry for a lunch? #TheGuide has information on both the Namm Cafeteria AND  over 40 restaurants – both sitting and take-out – within walking distance of campus. Relatedly, there is a ‘Made in Brooklyn’ section identifying where you can buy locally -sourced and -made jams, cookies, mustards, salsas, wines and more — made with love by your Brooklyn-borough neighbors.

Want to learn more about downtown Brooklyn? The site also houses information for two walking tours – Art in Downtown Brooklyn and Architectural Gems in Downtown Brooklyn. You can also learn more about where to go and what to see by the Brooklyn Waterfront by reading through student’s own walking tours of the area.

Still finding your way around City Tech? (Me too!) #TheGuide also contains information on each of the buildings that comprise City tech, as well as the low-down on where the ‘secret’ on-campus cafe is (in the bookstore!), what to do during your 2-4 hour middle-of-the-day break between classes, where to seek support to improve your writing skills, where to get a quick, cheap bite while avoiding long cafeteria lines and MORE!

As you settle into your schedules, we encourage you to refer to #TheGuide for advice on what to do and see, and where to access support and services around City Tech and downtown Brooklyn more generally. Now get to exploring!

In the Spotlight: Story-telling in Interactive Fiction, FYLC

This week we’re shining the spotlight on Story-telling in Interactive Fiction, a first year learning community (FYLC) organized by Professor Jackie Blain who teaches English, and Professor Candido Cabo and Professor Ashwin Satyanarayana who teach Computer Science courses. The three courses in this community will support students in creating an interactive fiction game over the course of the semester.

Storytelling is one critical and tricky aspect of an interactive fiction game, and is the main focus in the English class of this FYLC. In interactive fiction games, storytelling is more complex than in a novel because the ‘interactive’ component of ‘interactive fiction’ means those ‘reading’ the story get to participate and make certain decisions about how the characters’ stories unfold. Thus the storyteller – here, the students – needs to create multiple scenarios and options that allow readers to forge their own path. This process can seem intimidating, particularly if one is an inexperienced storyteller. Seeming to anticipate this, Professor Blain has scaffolded the writing assignments so that students begin developing their storytelling skills by telling the stories they know best – those about themselves!

Storytelling is not the only challenging aspect of this FYLC. Students will also need to develop the technical skills that will be needed to actually create the game. In the computer science courses students will discuss programming and games, Game Design Documents and learn how to use Python, a programming language, to create a video game based on the story developed in their English course.

We encourage you to check some of the stories students are now sharing through various assignments, such as the About College project where students will reflect on their first weeks at CityTech, and to check back at the end of the semester to see what kinds of games students have come up with, and if possible, play a few of them!

In the Spotlight: Fuse Lab

This week we’re spotlighting the Fuse Lab, a NSF-funded “collaborative education project for tomorrow’s technology in architecture, engineering and construction” (AEC). This project is all about remixing things: students and faculty with established industry professionals through their advisory board, industry partners, collaborators and organizational partners; classes and skills in mathematics with computation and fabrication with sustainability and building performance (and more!); and teaching with learning, as the project seems to have created as many resources as they are relying on. This ‘remixing’ is useful if not necessary for keeping up with ‘the ever-diversifying technological needs of the AEC industry.” Moreover, this ‘remixing’ makes the site a unique repository or archive, bringing together information and people at and beyond City Tech in interesting and exciting ways!

Want to learn more about the Fuse Lab and the skills it promotes? You can access tutorials from the main menu bar! In addition, the site links out to other OpenLab sites for courses connected with the Fuse Lab project (such as Introduction to Computation and Fabrication). These course sites contain their own content and resources related to the course’s content, meaning that for visitors of Fuse Lab’s site, these course sites act as additional repositories of information and resources. Lastly, see what kinds of things Fuse Lab has uploaded to their social media accounts to – for example, the Vimeo site seems to have a number of additional informational videos that may act as ‘how-to’s’ for those of you interested.

In the Spotlight: Welcome back!

Greetings City Tech community, and for those of you on break during the summer months, welcome back! We missed you over the summer! As you get back into the swing of things, make sure to join the Open Road and check out what we have planned for you all this semester. As you may know, the Open Road is our one-stop-shop for everything ‘OpenLab’. Here you can find out when/where our workshop for students and workshops for faculty* are (see Calendar also), when our office hours are, and any additional news and updates we have for you. For example, our latest news post informs you of all the updates we’ve made to the OpenLab over the summer.

Also, check out ‘People’s Choice’, a new-ish feature on the Open Road where OpenLab members can recommend sites to be featured on ‘In the Spotlight’. Recommend a site today!

We also encourage you to check out our student blogging team, The Buzz!

As always, the OpenLab Community Team is here for you. Contact us online or at OpenLab@citytech.cuny.edu. We look forward to hearing from you!

*This semester we have two new workshops for faculty – one focusing on copyright and attribution, and another focusing on annotation, both of which are tied to our Open Pedagogy events happening this semester. Join Open Pedagogy on the OpenLab for more on these events.

In the Spotlight: Student Mary Lewis’ ePortfolio

“Anything is possible in life. With motivation and self discipline.”

This week we’re spotlighting the ePortfolio of Mary Lewis, a City Tech student pursuing a degree in dental hygiene. Mary’s ePortfolio tells an integrated story about her academic progress and achievements, her professional development and goals, and her personal history. On her ‘About Me’ page, Mary documents her journey from Freetown, Sierra Leone, to Guinea, to Germany, and describes how her experiences led her to pursue a career as a dental hygienist. Under ‘Skills’, Mary has included a detailed list of skills learned through past professional and academic experiences – such as digital panoramic radiographs and extraoral and intraoral examination – as well as two case studies, all detailing the types of roles and tasks she has mastered and can fulfil or build upon through future employment opportunities. Along these same lines, Mary has included details about her timeline to certification and uploaded a copy of her resume. All in all, Mary’s ePortfolio serves as a great starting point for learning more about her, her skills and education, and her potential. In this way, not only does this site serve as an archive for Mary, it also serves as a great, public-facing resource where others, including potential employers, can learn about Mary, as a person and a future employee.

In the Spotlight: The Buzz is Hiring!

The Buzz is hiring for the upcoming academic year, and we’re seeking motivated, creative students to join our team! The Buzz is an OpenLab student project where students blog about themselves and topics of their choice (e.g., architecture in NYC, food, motherhood, academic discovery, the immigrant experience, and “Humans of City Tech”).

Why Join the OpenLab Student Blogging Team?

  • Publish your work on the OpenLab and develop a public portfolio of professional writing
  • Gain real-world blogging experience, build your resume, and get paid $500 per semester
  • Learn best practices for developing an online presence, personal brand, and using social media

Please help us to spread the word to any eligible students at City Tech. Applications are due Tuesday, May 16, 2016 by 5pm.  We can’t wait to hear from you!

Faculty and staff, we welcome (and encourage!) your recommendations of strong candidates. If there is a student (or students) you would like to recommend for the position, please email Professor Jill Belli, Co-Director of the OpenLab, at jbelli@citytech.cuny.edu and cc the OpenLab (openlab@citytech.cuny.edu).

Download (PDF, 101KB)

In the Spotlight: Recent Nucleus Issue ‘Spotlights’ OpenLab

This week we’re spotlighting the recent issue of the Nucleus (Winter, 2017), our Faculty Commons Quarterly. This season’s issue features pieces from faculty about the creative ways they’ve used the OpenLab in the context of their courses and/or research. Specifically, faculty discuss engaging students through creative and interactive assignments that incorporate multiple forms of media and dialogue, how the open and archival aspects of the OpenLab enable past students to share tips and strategies with newer students despite never meeting in person, how course sites can act as nodes in larger networks of resources that may benefit students academically, professionally, or otherwise, how to carry out collaborative student-faculty research projects, and how other innovative learning resources such as OERs and WeBWorks enrich students learning AND can help keep educational costs down for students. We hope you enjoy!

A hearty thank you to the Faculty Commons for their enthusiasm and support with this issue and always.

In the Spotlight: City Tech Women Engineers Club

This week we’re spotlighting the City Tech Women’s Engineer Club. This club provides an exciting opportunity for City Tech students to connect and collaborate with their peers as well as faculty members on projects and events around campus and the larger metro area. Moreover it allows students to the opportunity to join important professional organizations for engineering majors including the Institute of electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and specifically their Women in Engineering chapter (WIE). Thus, in joining this club, students enter into an extensive, multi-scalar community of professionals and future professionals who can support them in successfully pursuing a career in an engineering field. The group’s OpenLab site plays does a lot towards maintaining this community, but also plays a critical role in speaking to a larger public community about the work of the group. I’d like to highlight how two of the features on the site fulfills both roles simultaneously.

First, the site defines the contours to the group – who the group is, how they are organized, what the group is working on, how to get involved, and how getting involved may be beneficial to students. This information may be helpful to potential new members who are intrigued that the group is student-run while faculty and alumni serve as mentors and advisors. It may also be helpful to broader public audiences interested in contacting the group.

Second, the group highlights a number of events, activities and projects that members can attend or get involved with through joining this group, as well as shares resources that might be of interest. This kind of information is obviously useful to members who are committed to a career in engineering, but it may also be of interest to potential members who may be interested in joining an event or better understanding the work of the group before officially joining. The resources provided (including information about events and other activities) may also be of interest to a broader public audience – maybe a professor at another CUNY school who’d like to collaborate, or an engineering firm looking for promising students to hire, or high school students or others not currently in school who are thinking carefully about what career path to choose before returning to school.

Considering both of these functions when creating your site – be it for a project, club, course or ePortfolio – can help you give a larger life to the content and effort you are putting into building out the site.

In the Spotlight: ENG1121-D433 – English Composition 2

This week we’re spotlighting Professor Iddings’ English Composition 2 course (ENG 1121-D433). After a quick tour around Professor Iddings’ course site, it is easy to see how this site functions as an important hub for her students and aims to support them in being successful in the course. With this in mind there are a number of features I’d like to highlight:

At 15 points of their overall grade, Blogging is an important component of this english course. For Professor Iddings, blogging is a part of the larger motto of the class: “Writing—and writing frequently, with intention, and with significant feedback—is a great way to improve your understanding of the texts we will read.” With this in mind, Professor Iddings gives extensive details on how to approach the assignment including the requirements and deadlines, notes on how to post and what should be included, and a grading rubric. In addition, she gives an overview of what blogging is and how its style and etiquette compare and contrast with other forms of class writing. This last component seems particularly important given the likelihood that many students haven’t had the opportunity to blog before.

A second feature I’d like to highlight is her main menu item entitled ‘Classwork’. As her page description states, “This is where all kind of handouts, slide shows, and student-generated work will land.” While the page contains only slide shows at the moment, I think it’s worthwhile to note the facility of having a place where any loose-leaf handouts can be stored digitally. Undoubtedly, there will be a student or two (or 10!) who will lose track of handouts that will prove useful to them throughout the course. By uploading them here, Professor Iddings never has to worry about students in her losing access to these documents.

The last feature I will highlight here – though there are many more and I encourage you to check out the site! – is the “Helpful Links” section and RSS Feed for the NYTimes which she has in her widget area (the menu on the right side of the course site). While each of these offers different content – the first providing students with easy access to educational resources around City Tech and beyond, and the second linking to the latest articles from the Times – both work to connect the student’s classroom experience to the outside world. This is an important capability of the OpenLab platform that we encourage instructors to take advantage of!

In the Spotlight: HGMT 4989 – Culinary Tourism


This week we’re shining the spotlight on Professor Krondl’s Culinary Tourism course (HGMT 4989). This course facilitates students exploration of the concept of culinary tourism, and highlights its impact on the tourism industry. The first thing you notice about this course site is that it is easily navigable. In the top menu, students and site visitors can quickly find information on assignments and field trips, as well as download a copy of the syllabus. Organization is essential during the first few weeks of class, particularly because it sets up student’s expectations of the class and helps them prepare for successful completion of the course.

 

From the course site, it becomes quickly obvious that Professor Krondl’s course is organized around a series of experiential assignments that get students out exploring the city around them. These assignments are organized around four field trips that take students to different locations across the boroughs of Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. These trips are accompanied by brief prompts that ask students to examine the culinary tourism of a particular neighborhood in relation to its historical and contemporary contexts. In the context of these assignments, the course site primarily serves as a place for sharing analytic reflections of their experiences with the class and beyond.

This is a great example of how to use your course site to support your assignments while not limiting them. Here at OpenLab, the objective is not necessarily about what you can do with the technology we’re offering, but how can this technology support you in your pedagogical goals.

For more information and/or to meet with us one on one, attend a workshop or come visit us during an office hour! We also have two upcoming Open Pedagogy events – we hope to see you there!

Image Souce: Marco Derkson