Virtues from Motherhood: My work with the FYLC and OpenLab

On March 3rd I attended the second of three workshops with the FYLC, this one about using the OpenLab as a tool in the classroom. The discussion ranged from technical to academic concerns, all while trying to bridge the gap between high school and college. At the last workshop the focus was the struggles incoming college students deal with but this time the focus shifted to how to get them involved and engaged in the classrooms. With me at this workshop were the some of the masterminds here at The Buzz, Jill Belli and Phil Kreniske, who helped the audience of professors and faculty, understand the benefits and best practices surrounding the OpenLab.

My portion of this workshop was centered around my use of the OpenLab, how it’s benefited me as a student and peer mentor and how professors can better use the OL to get students excited and engaged with the work. I use the OL for many tasks on campus, like right now as a blogger, but I also use it as a peer mentor to orchestrate and update the FYLC page and of course in my own courses. I love the OL and I love the uniqueness and open concept it represents, versus blackboard which is gray in more than one sense of the word. The OpenLab gives students control, a say in essence, that they don’t otherwise have with academic websites and that makes a world of difference for a student.

As a college student I’ve seen multiple websites and hosts for academia but the OL has got to be my favorite because it in a sense reminds me of a social media platform. It’s colorful and it’s easy to access and connect to my other go to apps. Students are already online, on their phones, so why not make a platform that works seamlessly with a students lifestyle because don’t forget the millennial era student has a much larger digital footprint than previous generations.


This week we kick off the fall semester with classes beginning on August 25th! This will be my third semester here at City Tech and I’m excited to be back and work with my wonderful Professor’s, Mentors and peers. Last Wednesday I manned a table for The Buzz at orientation and it was a great experience so for my last summer blog I want to welcome all the new and transfer students to the amazing City Tech family.

Last year when I arrived I had no guide whatsoever and I ended up going across the street to Starbucks to use the bathroom because I couldn’t find one (LOL) so I’m going to lay out some of the basics for our new comers here. So first things first: where are the bathrooms anyway? Well in the Namm building from floors 3 and above they alternate meaning boys bathrooms are on even floors and girl’s bathrooms are on odd floors (also note some are closed for repair).

Next the elevators in the Namm are divided into local and express where express elevators stop at floors 6 and above and local stop on all floors. The express elevators are 5,6 and 7 and local is all other elevators. I recommend being a few minutes early to class or the line for the elevators will rival those at the DMV.

All the offices you need for major stuff like paying your bill, financial aid, bursar, registrar and more are in the basement of the Namm building. If you can avoid these offices the first few days of school by all means please do because it is a madhouse.

For help with computer and Wi-Fi stuff go to the welcome center on the first floor in the atrium (go in the Namm and walk past the cafeteria) the people there will help you set up Wi-Fi, student email and more.

If you don’t want to eat in the cafeteria on the 1st floor Namm you can check out some of the local food choices like Chipotle, Aubon Pain, Five Guys or Café metro. You can also check out my Panera Bread, Potbelly or Hills country chicken by leaving through the Adams st. exit (Pearl building).

Last but not least we have our own app! You can get it on Android or Apple by searching New York City College of Technology, which sums up what I’ve said and more! I hope you come to love this school as much as I have and never hesitate to reach out to me, as a peer mentor I’m here to help!



Twitter & Instagram: @spezzolanti

Also check out my blog The Rebel Mom