In the Spotlight: CMCE Career Site

Header Image for CMCE Career Site: features college graduates and construction and engineering workers against the backdrop of an urban landscape.
Header Image for CMCE Career Site

This week, we spotlight the excellent CMCE Career OpenLab site, which offers “career information and opportunities for construction management and civil engineering students and graduates.” Overall, the site offers a fantastic model of a job resource for City Tech students, both showcasing the work of City Tech alumni and directing current students to job postings and additional resources. I highlight some of what makes the site so effective below:

An engaging, media-rich home page: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have gotten all of us used to a long, vertical scroll. That said, the best way to keep a reader’s attention with this format is to break up chunks of texts with images or other forms of multimedia. The CMCE Career home page does this very well. For example:

  • Below the header image, the site includes an important note to students that is bolded and in a bigger font to catch their attention. The note reads: “Whether you are just getting started, are currently working, want to switch from field to office work or office to field work, or are switching industries entirely, there are people like you in our department and among our alumni.” It foreshadows what students will find on this site, which is alumni stories, job and internships postings, and information about CMCE.
  • A second menu below this introductory text allows the reader to jump to the section of the site/ home page they would like to visit: Jobs & Internships; Where CMCES Work; Alumni Stories; Alumni News.
  • Spotlight boxes with CMCE “talking heads” give students a compelling visual and brief descriptions of possible job options and alumni success stories. 
  • A search functionality at the top of the page allows readers to easily find what they are looking for once they’ve skimmed the home page.
  • Pie-charts and graphs provide visual breakdowns of CMCE career paths, helping break-up long chunks of texts.

The Jobs & Internships page takes advantage of the block format to direct students toward public agencies and private companies that have job opportunities. Each company has its own block on the page: its title is bolded, the full description of the company is prominently included, and a button links you out to the company’s site. Note that this lay-out makes it easy to digest information. It is also more effective than simply featuring a bulleted list of hyperlinks to various companies. We encourage OpenLab users to to follow this kind of model when linking out to other resources: it is always more engaging for readers to have the full description of what they are being linked out to than to just see a link on a page.

The footer gives more information about the site’s creator, A.M. Sowder, including a brief bio and professional headshot. But it also features recent news from the department, linking out to blog posts updating visitors on the activities of faculty, students and alumni. This is a great use of widget space: remember that footers appear on all site pages, which means they are unlikely to get overlooked.

These are just some of the many innovative features of the CMCE Career site. It is a great model of a jobs and internship site that is reader-friendly and replete with information. 

In The Spotlight: The Hospitality Garden is Back

Lettuce and herbs grown by the Garden Club at City Tech’s Hospitality Garden.

This week, we spotlight The Hospitality Garden, “a project that teaches students and faculty about the excitement and nuance of growing flowers and vegetables for the Culinary and Pastry Labs at NYC College of Technology.” The Garden Club tends to the garden, which was on hiatus the past 1.5 years, but it is back in action this semester. Students who are interested in volunteering are invited to help set up the new Hydroponic system. Currently the club is working with the new technology to plant lettuce and herb seeds. 

Some other noteworthy aspect of the site:

  • The home page is the project’s blogroll, meaning that posts appear there in reverse chronological order. Prof. Mark Hellerman, who runs the project, uses regular blog posts to keep members abreast of garden news and, most importantly, club meeting times. The club currently meets during club hours, from 12:45 -2:30pm on Thursdays, in Namm 201. Note that these blog posts are a smart way to remind members about club or project meetings. Another strategy is to feature club meeting information in the sidebar in the widget, such that it will be displayed on every page of your site.
  • The tag line–or the text featured next to or below the site title–is customized. It reads “Growing flowers and vegetables for the dining room, and for fun.” This tells the readers precisely what the project is about and is exactly how a tag line should be used. Because it’s more of a detail than a prominent feature on OpenLab sites, members sometimes forget to customize their tag lines and end up with the default text that reads “A City Tech OpenLab site.” This isn’t nearly as descriptive as what the Hospitality Garden has drafted. As a reminder, if you would like to customize your tag line, you can do so by going to Dashboard > Appearance > Customize > Site Identity. You will see an option to type in free text for your tag line.
  • The site’s menu links to a photo gallery. The photos featured show students and faculty planting herbs, vegetables and fruit on the rooftop garden, with the Brooklyn waterfront in the background. It is, indeed, a very picturesque setting. It also features photographs of the finished products– pastries and appetizers the Hospitality Department has made from the Garden Club’s produce. Note that the reader gets a vivid sense of what the club does by scrolling through these pictures and is given the (visual) context needed to imagine themselves volunteering for the club. This is a fantastic way to draw people into your work and projects.

Are you interested in joining the Garden Club and Hospitality Garden Project? Visit the site to learn more!

In The Spotlight: The HSI Committee

A group picture of faculty and staff serving on the Hispanic Serving Institution Committee.

This week, we celebrate Hispanic heritage month by spotlighting the Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Committee’s new site! The site is clean and well-organized and can serve as a model for other academic committees. From left to right, its menu features: a static home page which describes the committee’s goals; a page that answers the question What is an HSI?; a page About the Committee; and a page with additional Resources. Note how intuitive this set-up is: it briefly gives the information needed to understand the committee’s purpose before offering in-depth descriptions of the context in which the committee is working, the faculty and staff serving on the team, and additional readings and support opportunities for those who are interested. Note also that the header image features a group picture of the faculty and staff serving on the committee: this is a lovely personal touch!

We’d also like to draw your attention to the events page, as there many coming up for HSI Week 2021. Today, September 13, there will be two HSI forums: one for faculty, staff and administrators and the other for students and families. You can sign up for these forums here.

Finally, we want to highlight the committee’s recommendations for City Tech, which include doubling the number of students who complete their associate degrees or transfer to baccalaureate programs in three years and achieving a six-year graduation rate of 50% for baccalaureate program students. To do this, the committee recommends City Tech recognize the importance of having a representative size of Hispanic faculty and offer mentorship that is tailored to the needs of Hispanic Students.

All-in-all, this is a richly informative and easy to navigate site. Check it out for inspiration and mark your calendars with any HSI Week events you’d like to attend.

In the Spotlight: The Spring 2021 Semester, In Review

Photo by Federico Respini on Unsplash

Summer greetings from the OpenLab and congratulations to all on the closing of another semester! A special congratulations to the class of 2021!

While our weekly “Spotlight” blog series will go on hiatus for the summer, we wanted to remind you of the sites we featured this past semester, and encourage you to check them out if you haven’t already done so.

Spring 2021 Spotlight Posts

This past year, we released a series of OpenLab screencasts, providing audiovisual guidance to using different features of the OpenLab.

In addition to reviewing these posts from this past spring, you can find a full curated list of all sites that have been spotlighted in our  Spotlight Archive. This archive offers visitors 3 curated lists to help them sort through the posts:

  1. For everyone (By type of site – course, project, club, portfolio)
  2. For faculty/staff
  3. For students

As always, we also encourage you to check out our in-house sites:

The OpenLab Community Team will continue to offer email support over the summer– please contact us with questions or concerns.

We will also soon announce our summer programming, including one-on-one office hours. We will be in touch as we get more events and workshops on our calendar!

Wishing you all a very happy summer!

The OpenLab Community Team

Science, Art, and the Climate Crisis Along the Brooklyn Waterfront

BWRC annual conference

OpenLab friends at BWRC, the Brooklyn Waterfront Research Center, are excited to invite everyone to join them at their annual conference! “Science, Art, and the Climate Crisis Along the Brooklyn Waterfront” starts on Thursday, May 6th, at 6:30, and with two sessions on Friday, May 7th starting at 9am.

Learn more and register at bit.ly/BWRC2021

Didn’t have a chance to register? Find the event live here.

About this event                                

The Brooklyn Waterfront Research Center announces its 2021 Annual Conference as the crisis of climate change reaches all corners of the globe — including the Brooklyn waterfront.

Early observations of the changes in the climate that have led to our current climate crisis were made by scientists; however, it has not been scientists alone who have addressed this crisis.

This year’s BWRC conference will explore the interdisciplinary ferment created by scientists, artists, activists, and others whose work grapples with our rapidly changing climate.

Bringing together a diverse array of scientists, artists and community members, we will discuss and learn from the integration of artistic practice and scientific inquiry as a method of addressing the climate crisis globally and locally along the Brooklyn waterfront.


		Science, Art and the Climate  Crisis Along the Brooklyn Waterfront image

Welcome, Roundtable Discussion, and Virtual Exhibit Tour

Join us on Thursday evening for an opening welcome and roundtable discussion exploring the intersections of art, science, and the climate crisis along the Brooklyn waterfront. The panelists — an artist, a scientist, a curator, and a photojournalist — will use the discussion to draw together the key issues of the conference and provide a broader framework for the following day’s sessions. As a closing activity, Elisa GutiĂ©rrez Eriksen will provide a virtual tour of the new exhibit, Common Frequencies, opening May 1st at BioBAT Art Space at the Brooklyn Army Terminal.

Speakers:

  • Reginald Blake (Moderator), Interim Associate Provost, Dean of Curriculum; Research and Co-Director, Center for Remote Sensing and Earth System Sciences, New York City College of Technology
  • Jeannine Bardo, Artist, Founder / Artistic Director, Stand4 Gallery; Co-Founder / Co-Director, BioBAT Art Space
  • Klaus Jacob, Geophysicist, Emeritus Research Professor, Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
  • Mary Mattingly, Visual Artist
  • Nathan Kensinger, Brooklyn-Based Photographer, Filmmaker, Artist, and Curator

		Science, Art and the Climate  Crisis Along the Brooklyn Waterfront image

Session #1: Learning at the Intersection

Focusing on educational initiatives along the Brooklyn Waterfront, this session will feature community-based organizations that use innovative, interdisciplinary, and place-based approaches across the arts and sciences to better understand and address climate change.

Speakers:

  • Graciela Flores (Moderator), Science Educator; Founder, Kids Talk Science
  • Beth Tuck, Executive Director, Genspace
  • Eve AndrĂ©e LaramĂ©e, Professor, Art Department, Director, Dyson College Center for the Arts, Society, and Ecology, Pace University
  • Isa Del Bello, Education Director, Environmental Education Center, Brooklyn Bridge Park
  • Jasmin Alim, Education Manager, Genspace

Session #2: Working at the Intersection

Bringing together artists working in relationship to science, technology, and the environment, this session will highlight the creative integration of artistic practice and scientific inquiry as a method of making visible and addressing the climate crisis in new ways.

Speakers:

  • Katherine Gressel (Moderator), Contemporary Curator, Old Stone House & Washington Park; Artist, Writer.
  • Anna Lise Jensen, Artist; Co-Founder, Bike South Brooklyn
  • Simone Johnson, Interdisciplinary artist, researcher and cultural worker
  • Yuliya Parshina-Kottas, Designer, Researcher, Storyteller; Illustrator, The New York Times

For more information: http://brooklynwaterfront.org/

The BWRC has a project profile on the OpenLab so you can join their project and follow along with their updates. Their website is actually on the CUNY Academic Commons, the OpenLab’s sibling platform that’s for everyone at CUNY to use. So the BWRC are visible both here and in the larger CUNY landscape–or seascape? You can find helpful information there, including their previous annual conference information.

BWRC also communicates a lot via Twitter–if you don’t follow @BklynWaterfront, now you can! They often mention @CityTechOpenLab in their tweets, so you might have noticed them if you already follow us. Feel free to live-tweet the event!

Celebrating the Life and Work of Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks

You’ve probably noticed a project popping up on the OpenLab this semester, Celebrating the Life and Work of Gordon Parks: A COMD Student Group Art Show. This project works within the college-wide Gen Ed Theme, CONNECTED. In an effort to keep City Tech connected, COMD invites all of us to a celebration of the life and work of the photographer, author, filmmaker, designer, and activist, Gordon Parks.

The curated show, led by Grace Gallery Director Professor Sara GĂłmez Woolley, launched officially on April 15, with some impressive artwork in a variety of media from students in the Communication Design (COMD) department. All of the work connects Gordon Parks’s powerful artwork and words to the powerful weapons–to use Gordon Parks’s term–that COMD students have used to express themselves and their vision.

The show will remain up throughout the semester and beyond, so there’s plenty of time to explore all of the great student contributions. 

This week, there are two exciting Celebrating the Life and Work of Gordon Parks events:

  • Faculty Face Off: 4/29/21
  • Panel Discussion & Honors Reveal: 4/29/21

Thursday, April 29th, 12:30-2PM (Club Hours) – Faculty Face-Off 

The Faculty Face Off will be a live event during club hours.  It is part of a series spearheaded by Professors Josh Kapusinski and David Prusko. In the past, it was a live on campus event meant to build student engagement and departmental morale. Faculty were pitted against each other in a live design challenge in front of a screaming crowd of students. REALLY FUN! Now it’s online, and will be a great way to keep students and faculty connected and build excitement about the show. 

Professors go up against each other in a creative timed design challenge themed around the philosophies and work of Gordon Parks. Students choose the best work! Come root for your favorite professor! The details will not be revealed until the challenge date. DRAMA!

Watch the live stream from the COMD YouTube channel:

To participate in the chat or heckling, login to your Gmail account.   

Thursday, April 29th, 5:30-7PM – Gordon Parks Panel Discussion

Hosted by Professor George Larkins: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks

Watch the live stream from the COMD YouTube channel:

A Choice of Weapons, a panel discussion on the life, work, and impact of Gordon Parks.  This is the culminating event of the COMD department-wide celebration of the life and work of this visionary creator.  

Moderated by COMD Professor George Larkins, with Featured Panelists:

  • Dr. Marcyliena Morgan, Executive Director of the Hiphop Archive & Research Institute at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Research
  • Dr. Dionne M. Bennett, Assistant Professor, African American Studies Department, New York City College of Technology
  • Michal Raz Russo, Project Director, Gordon Parks Foundation

All voices welcome!  The event organizers invite you to contribute to this panel discussion – login to your Gmail account to ask a question, share a comment, etc. For more info contact Professor George Larkins glarkins@citytech.cuny.edu.

The evening will begin by revealing the Best in Show from the exhibition of student work inspired by Gordon Parks in the Grace Gallery Online

This event is hosted by:

  • The Communication Design Department, City Tech
  • And CO sponsored by:
  • The General Education Theme Committee, City Tech  
  • The Hiphop Archive & Research Institute at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Research
  • African American Studies Department, City Tech

In the Spotlight: City Tech’s EcoFest 2021

City Tech’s EcoFest 2021 poster

What do you plan to do for Earth Day? It’s this Thursday, April 22nd, 9:30am-5:00pm. Hopefully your answer is City Tech’s Sixth Annual EcoFest!

EcoFest is an annual college-wide event & Earth Day celebration providing a public forum for students, staff, faculty and guest speakers to share their ideas about City Tech and sustainability organized by the CityTech Sustainability Council.

The EcoFest site on the OpenLab is a project that has information about these different aspects of the Earth Day celebration: the full day of interesting panels and presentations of student work related to this year’s EcoFest theme of #RespectRestoreReflect.

You probably also noticed EcoFest in your email, on other sites on the OpenLab, and on Twitter–#EcoFest and #RespectRestoreReflect. Share your ideas here in the comments, on Twitter (with those hashtags!), and in other places you express yourself!

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.

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.

January Workshops

A close-up photograph of thin red-brown branches speckled with snow
Snow balls by blmiers2

Hi City Tech community!

We’re offering support throughout January for folks teaching and learning through the winter session, or even for folks who want to jump-start the spring semester!

Instead of synchronous workshops, which we have offered in-person in past semesters, we’re providing other options for support: screencasts, open hours, and 1-on-1 sessions.

We’re developing a growing playlist of short screencasts that focus on some of the most common support questions we receive; we recommend our Intro to Block Editor video for folks working with the new WordPress editor. Check out these screencast videos HERE!

We’ll be offering Open Hours and 1-on-1 sessions for staff, students, and faculty several times this month. 

Support Schedule – January 2021

Thursday Jan. 7, 2021: 3-5pm
Friday Jan. 15, 2021: 10am-12pm
Thursday Jan. 21, 2021: 3-5pm
Friday Jan. 29, 2021: 10am-12pm
Sunday Jan. 31, 2021: 3-5pm

To see the full schedule and to sign up for open hours and 1-on-1 sessions, visit The Open Road.

We’re also available 7 days a week for asynchronous support via email at openlab@citytech.cuny.edu