In the Spotlight: MTEC 2210 – Game Design & Interactive Media

Header image of course siteThis week we’re spotlighting Professor Boisvert’s Game Design & Interactive Media course (MTEC 2210) in the Emerging Media Technology department. The course offers students a “cross-disciplinary foundation for the design of games and interactive multi-media technology” and may be of interest to artists, engineers, scientists, technologists and more! In terms of digging in, assignments and experiences lead students through the process of deconstructing and reconstructing various websites – thinking through the aims of an organization and the intended audience and design of the website. Students share their reflections on the blog, seemingly as a way of sharing their analysis with the class at large, as well as practicing public writing and reflection.

Professor Boisvert also uses the blog to post weekly reading questions. As the stated question below suggests, these questions ask students to think creatively and collectively about the readings. Judging by the responses, students not only engage one another in discussion about the readings, but given that many students seem to filter their responses through their own experiences, also build rapport and familiarity with other students. In this way, the reading response questions also function to grow community in the classroom and among students, enriching their participation in the class and their education at City Tech more broadly.

example of reading response question

These assignments and class activities ultimately prepares students to begin thinking through the design of a game. This also takes place on the blog, which is now – in theory – a familiar and friendly place to share and get feedback from peers and Professor Boisvert. As the end of the semester nears, check back to see how student-generated games like Space Pirates or League of Rappers evolve!

In the Spotlight: English Composition 1 (Eng 1101 LC22/CD322)

The header image on the course site.This week we’re spotlighting Professor Sarah Schmerler’s English 1101: English Composition 1 class. This course is one half of a learning community, wherein she shares the same students with math professor Grazyna Niezgoda. The objective of the learning community, and common theme between the two courses, is to help students learn how to solve complicated problems by breaking a problem down into smaller, simpler steps. Likewise, Professor Schmerler’s syllabus suggests the class objectives are also further broken down into smaller goals such as using writing as a process of discovery and practice of critical thinking, building skills around drafting, revising and research, and fostering a personal writing style and process. This style of breaking a whole down into manageable parts is also a theme in the way Professor Schmerler has designed her course site. Wondering what materials you’ll need for this course? See the ‘Materials/Supplies’ item in her main menu. Similar questions can be asked about assignments, course policies, paper formatting and more. This results in quick and easy navigation of the course site both for her students and other visitors.

In addition to using the course site to organize course-related materials, Professor Schmerler also holds class discussions on informal topics generated by her students. So far, there is a discussion of the sometimes difficult task of figuring out what to wear each day, and a critical discussion of the pros and cons of Pineapple Pizza. These activities help students practice writing in an informal and low-stakes way, and likely supports them in translating their thoughts, opinions and perspectives into writing that is legible to others; in other words, facilitating the process of fostering a personal writing style.

The last aspect of Professor Schmerler’s course site that I’ll highlight is the use of the course blogroll to share resources with students (i.e. on semicolons, on active vs passive voice, on possessives). These resources are no doubt of use to the students in her course, but also may be of use to other students on the OpenLab and at City Tech more broadly. Thus, housing her course on the OpenLab rather than on a closed or private platform increases the potential impact of her course and its materials.

View the resources, join the discussion and learn more about Professor Schmerler’s course by visiting her course site today!

In the Spotlight: OER Fellowship

City Tech OER Fellowship Logo

This week we’re spotlighting the OER Fellowship project site on the OpenLab. Beginning in 2015, City Tech’s OER Fellowship supports full-time faculty in creating open educational resources (OERs) – or educational websites comprised of open-source and publically available materials that will consolidate and/or replace their course texts. While an important draw of OERs is the cut in textbook costs to students, during our Open Pedagogy event on this topic last year, Professors and 2016 OER Fellows Sue Brandt and Ari Maller also discussed the greater degree of flexibility in and customizability of content that OERs provide. Relatedly, Professor Brandt discussed the ability to keep course content up-to-date even if only by adding current examples, while Professor Maller enjoyed the ease of assigning texts of various mediums (i.e. videos, images).  

Information about the Fellowship, including participant requirements & guidelines and links to the OERs generated by past fellows, can be found on City Tech’s Ursula C. Sherwin Library website. This information and more – including the Seminar Syllabus, additional resources, and a forum that simultaneously documents the work of past cohorts and identifies some important conversations and considerations related to OERs – is available on the OpenLab site.

Further questions about the fellowship? Contact OER Librarian, Professor Cailean Cooney at ccooney@citytech.cuny.edu.

Further questions about OERs and their possibilities? Read the recap from our Open Pedagogy Event on OERs from last Fall (2016), the recap from our recent Open Pedagogy Event on Copyright and Attribution in Open Digital Pedagogy, and/or join us for our next Open Pedagogy event on Annotating Text on the OpenLab Thursday October 26th at 5:30pm in the Faculty Commons (N227). This is a follow-up to a well-received Spring event, “Annotating Texts in Open Digital Pedagogy”, and related to Librarian Monica Berger’s post, ‘Hypothes.is for OERs’ on the OER Fellowship OL site.

In the Spotlight: Open Pedagogy on the OpenLab

Open Pedagogy on the OpenLab Logo

In conjunction with our first Open Pedagogy Event of the semester, this week we’re spotlighting our in-house site, Open Pedagogy on the OpenLab. This site operates as a forum where OpenLab community members can ask questions and stimulate discussion related to teaching and learning on the OpenLab and in open digital environments more generally. This site is a good place to find ideas for digital pedagogy assignments, access information on best practices and tips for open digital pedagogy, and engage other faculty about how teaching on the OpenLab changes their curriculum and classroom environments and relations.

In conjunction with this site, our OpenLab team hosts Open Pedagogy Events, organized around particular themes and concerns related to teaching in open digital environments and more specifically with teaching on the OpenLab. This Thursday (9/28) we’re hosting our first Open Pedagogy event of the semester, Best Practices for Copyright and Attribution. The event will be held in the Faculty Commons (N227) from 5:30-7:00pm. Refreshments will be served (thanks to the Provost’s Office for its generous support of this event!). Visit the event posting for more information and to RSVP! We hope to see you there! We also have a follow-up workshop that will look more closely at how to integrate these best practices into your use of the OpenLab (RSVP here!). Part-time faculty are eligible to receive a stipend for participation in the event and/or workshop.

In conclusion, we encourage to join the site, and follow along and participate in the conversation!

In the Spotlight: #TheGuide

#TheGuide site header 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: Fuse Lab

Fuse Lab LogoThis 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!

OpenLab's The Open Road LogoGreetings 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: Recent Nucleus Issue ‘Spotlights’ OpenLab

cover of NucleusThis 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

logo for Women in Engineering clubThis 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: Science Fiction at City Tech

header image of science fiction at city tech siteThis week we’re spotlighting the faculty-run site, “Science Fiction at City Tech”. This site strives to “connect individual and collective efforts that study Science Fiction directly or leverage it to enrich City Tech’s students’ experiences, deepen classroom learning with archival research, and connect City Tech to the networks of science fiction research around the world”. In this way, the site operates as a hub connecting interested parties at City Tech with each other, with other resources at the college, and beyond. This ambition is embedded in the infrastructure of site, which includes information on City Tech courses and faculty members, a growing list of resources, and an active blog that shares updates about science-fiction-related events at City Tech such as the recently held Symposium on Amazing Stories: Inspiration, Learning and Adventure in Science Fiction.  

An important service of the site is to provide a digital presence for The City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which is held in the Archives and Special Collections of the Ursula C. Schwerin Library at City Tech. Gifted to the college by an anonymous science fiction scholar, this collection spans approximately 600 linear feet and contains monographs, anthologies, over 4000 magazines (including nearly full runs of every professional science fiction magazine from 1950 to 2010), scholarly journals and novels. Though the collection is still being processed, the site provides two way for students to see just what the collection contains: a searchable PDF that catalogs the magazine portion of the collection and a shelf-by-shelf photographic inventory. In addition, updates about the progress of the collection – such as a visit from CUNY Graduate Center Digital Initiatives – can be found on the blog. Learn more about the collection from the video below!