In the Spotlight: Ten Years of OpenLab

OpenLab 10 Year Anniversary banner

The OpenLab at City Tech was officially launched ten years ago this semester! As we celebrate ten wonderful years working with all of you, here are ten things we love about the OpenLab:

  1. It’s open! You can share your work with others at City Tech and beyond and can see and learn from work shared by other members.  (And when you need to, you can work in private, too.)
  2. All are welcome: Everyone at City Tech can join the OpenLab–students, faculty, staff, and alumni. On the OpenLab, everyone can create, experiment, innovate, and share the results with the larger community.
  3. It’s built by and for City Tech: Because it’s created here at City Tech, everyone has a voice in how the OpenLab is built. Members come up with great ideas (like early on adding LaTeX to use mathematical language on the OpenLab!)–and those great ideas become new features for everyone to use!
  4. It’s designed for collaboration and community: Members can use the OpenLab to work together even if they’re in different classes or departments, within and across courses, in group projects, departmental projects, and cross-college committees,  and in student clubs. It’s a space where members can connect and share interests and ideas. The OpenLab team also offers asynchronous support, workshops, and community events to foster connection and support.
  5. Open Educational Resources live here: The OpenLab houses City Tech’s Open Educational Resources initiative. Open Educational Resources are zero-cost, available beyond the semester, and free for instructors to remix and adapt, fostering a collaborative style of teaching and learning.
  6. It nurtures open pedagogies: The OpenLab invites students and instructors to discuss what works in and out of the classroom. Through workshops, events, blog posts, and more, we also consider what deserves rethinking and, most importantly, what allows students and instructors to challenge each other in mutually rewarding and respectful ways. 
  7. You can learn new skills: The OpenLab is built on the WordPress publishing platform, which powers more than 43% of sites on the internet. Members can also build out and customize sites using plugins and even more advanced tools like CSS. So, when you’re using the OpenLab, you’re learning technical skills that can help you beyond City Tech.
  8. It’s open source: WordPress and the OpenLab are built using open source software that is free for anyone to use. This makes us part of a larger community of educators and technologists working on innovative, open source projects that pose an alternative to proprietary technologies and learning management systems. We’ve freely shared the OpenLab’s software, so other institutions can create their own OpenLabs just like the OpenLab at City Tech.
  9. Your work: Members are always finding exciting new ways to use the OpenLab. We get to highlight these in our weekly In the Spotlight series, and we keep them archived, for future reference. 
  10. You! The best and most important thing about the OpenLab is its members. Nearly 40,000 students, faculty, and staff members have joined the OpenLab in the past 10 years and have made it the awesome place it is today!

We would love to hear from you! Share what you love about the OpenLab in the comments below. You can also contact us via email. We’ll be showcasing your favorite OpenLab features in our weekly Spotlight series throughout the 2022-2023 Academic Year.

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