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: PSY3405 – Health Psychology

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The course site for Prof. Amanda Almond’s interdisciplinary PSY3405 – Health Psychology offers students both course documents and extensive multimedia resources to think about race and health. In addition to the course syllabus, requirements, and grading procedures, Prof. Almond provides her students with a course outline detailing weekly lectures, assignments, readings, film viewings, quizzes, and deadlines. On the home page, she rightly tells students that this course outline will be their best friend. Assignments for the course are also nicely organized under one easy-to-find drop-down menu. For added benefit, Prof. Almond has linked to further resources for the students’ reference. These include the New York Times’ Patient Voices feature and particularly important case studies of psychology experiments, which students can comment on for extra credit. If you’re wondering how to use an OpenLab site to equip students with tools for success in your course, Prof. Almond’s site offers a great example to guide you.

In the Spotlight: MAT2540 – Discrete Structures and Algorithms II

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STEM faculty, have you ever felt unsure about how to use the OpenLab for your coursework? If so, check out Prof. Kate Poirier’s course site for MAT2540 – Discrete Structures and Algorithms II. With a highly functional site design, Prof. Poirier’s course information is arranged by Course Policies (including grading guidelines), Calendar, Homework, Quizzes, Discussion, and Links offering further resources. All information is clear and accessible. An especially exciting innovation is the test review that Prof. Poirier has students do. Here each student explains how they solved one particular problem on a recent test, thereby exposing their peers to their thought-processes and creating room for suggestions and discussion. Be sure to check out the site if you would like to see a useful example of Math coursework happening on the OpenLab!

In the Spotlight: ARCH 1130 – Building Technology I

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In ARCH 1130 – Building Technology I, Prof. Jason Montgomery teaches a wide breadth of design topics: from building assemblage to documentation. To do so, his students move from architectural theory to drawing practice to case studies, all in one semester. Prof. Montgomery manages to cover this much ground with the help of his OpenLab site. Students can find all the materials they need for each section of the course: from text books to drafting triangles, lecture notes to sketchbook images. Prof. Montgomery also uses his site to make sure that students have all the resources that they need for success in his course. He includes instructions for creating an ePortfolio, as well as reading strategies and learning rubrics. Check out the site to see all this, plus beautiful samples of his students’ work.