Nucleus Volume 8 Winter 2017

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A Faculty Commons Quarterly Volume 8

Winter 2017


Volume 8 | Winter 2017


N EW YOR K CIT Y COLLEGE OF T ECH NOLOG Y of the City University of New York

Faculty Commons

Russell K. Hotzler President

A Center for Teaching, Learning, Scholarship and Service

Bonne August Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Miguel Cairol Vice President for Administration and Finance Marcela Katz Armoza Vice President for Enrollment and Student Affairs

Julia Jordan, Director Assessment and Institutional Research Tammie Cumming, Director Yimi Zhao, Senior Institutional Research Analyst Isana Leshchinskaya, Survey Services Liaison Stephanie Haughton, RF Technician James Jeannis, Research Assistant Office of Sponsored Programs Barbara Burke, Director Patty Barba Gorkhover, Associate Director Eleanor Bergonzo, Assistant Director

Gilen Chan Special Counsel/Legal Affairs Designee Stephen M. Soiffer Special Assistant to the President/ Institutional Advancement

Grants Outreach Coordinators 2016-2017 Professor Hon Jie Teo Professor Geoff Zylstra

Pamela Brown Associate Provost

US Department of Education Title V Opening Gateways Charlie Edwards, Co-Director

Justin Vazquez-Poritz Dean, School of Arts and Sciences

Design Team Professor Anita Giraldo, Artistic Director Kevin Rajaram, Web Master Arianna Bollers, William Luperena, Mandy Mei, Paul Nembhard, Marlon Palmer, Natalie Yeung, Philip Zeng, Designers

Kevin Hom Dean, School of Technology and Design David Smith Dean, School of Professional Studies Carol Sonnenblick Dean, Division of Continuing Education

Curator Professor Sandra Cheng

Professional Development Advisory Council (PDAC) Lubie Alatriste Daniel Alter Esteban Beita Nadia Benakli Marianna Bonanome Karen Bonsignore Juanita But


Candido Cabo Gwen Cohen-Brown Susan Davide Rebecca Devers Lynda Dias Mary Sue Donsky Aida Egues


Boris Gelman Pa Her Louise Hoffman Paul King Darya Krym Janet Liou-Mark Karen Lundstrem

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Zory Marantz John McCullough Djafar Mynbaev Tony Nicolas Susan Phillip Marcia Powell Estela Rojas

Rebecca Shapiro Kimberly Strickler Ryoya Terao Shauna Vey

Pamela Brown, Chair


Winter 2017

A Medium for Exploring


“…the OpenLab is

Building Community


highly visual and

Learning to Look


easily transforms into

Teaching Practice


a virtual exhibition

One Site to Find Them All



Course Handbook Open to All


Sandra Cheng Humanities

Open Educational Resources


A Quest for Wellness


Research Activities


Math Homework Help


The Buzz


Bonne August

OpenLab Directors Sandra Cheng

A. Lavelle Porter Tanya Goetz

Jason Montgomery Cailean Cooney

Amanda Almond

Masato R. Nakamura Jonas Reitz

OpenLab Community Team

Multimodal Writing Jason W. Ellis



Cover by M. Genevieve Hitchings & Jenna Spevack

= All photographs, unless stated otherwise, are from the OpenLab project sites. E d itor s, Ba rba ra Bu rk e and Ju li a Jo rd an | D e s i g ne r, Ma rlon Palm e r | P r i nt i n g , D ig ital Im ag ing C e nte r at C it y Te ch NUCLEUS: A FACULTY COMMONS QUARTERLY

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A Medium for Exploring Bonne August


he point of the OpenLab is expressed in its name. It is a protean digital “space” open to all and configured by its users to meet their changing needs, express their evolving ideas, foster their experiments, and prompt their creative collaborations. Developed by City Tech faculty members as a “digital learning platform” and an important component of the Title V Living Lab grant [1] recently completed, the OpenLab continues to attract additional faculty, students, and staff collaborators as it creates itself.

In their recent book, Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future (Grand Central Publishing, 2016) [2], Joi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab and his co-author Jeff Howe describe the Media Lab as a “self-adapting complex system.” Although far less grand and very far less well resourced, the OpenLab in its own way shares this spirit and the possibility it offers to become an engine of innovation for City Tech. Ito and Howe explore nine guiding principles: • • • • • • • • •

Emergence over Authority Pull over Push Compasses over Maps Risk over Safety Disobedience over Compliance Practice over Theory Diversity over Ability Resilience over Strength Systems over Objects

The OpenLab gives us a medium for exploring which of these might serve to guide projects in our setting and in what ways. It is an exciting prospect. Open Pedagogy* is one such example.

I am pleased to acknowledge and thank the team whose work initiated the OpenLab, especially the three Title V project directors: Matt Gold, Maura Smale, and Jonas Reitz. Warm thanks are due, as well to those who continue to tend to the backend while at the same time nurturing the generative spirit that keeps the front end fresh and proliferating: the creative powerhouses Jenna Spevack, Jody Rosen, Jill Belli, Genevieve Hitchings, and the amazing Charlie Edwards. The innovative and dedicated faculty members whose work is represented in this issue are joined in the OpenLab by many others, whose projects both populate it and push its boundaries. One of the things that most excites me about the OpenLab is the portrait it offers of City Tech as it is evolving— vibrant, collaborative, diverse, handson, resilient: emergent.

[1] A Living Laboratory: Revitalizing General Education for a Twenty-First Century College of Technology, U.S. Department of Education Strengthening Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program. (2010 - 2016) [2] Joi Ito, and Jeff Howe. Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future. New York, NY: Grand Central, 2016. Print.

* What is Open Pedagogy? Open Pedagogy on the OpenLab is a forum where our community can ask questions, stimulate discussion, and access/share resources related to teaching and learning on the OpenLab. 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 members in discussions about what open pedagogy is and what shape it can take in our classrooms at City Tech. With this in mind, faculty members are encouraged to join and contribute to the site, to help expand the available resources and generate further the discussion. If you join, you will also receive notifications when new content is added or discussion is happening on the site.



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The OpenLab as City Tech Community Jill Belli, Charlie Edwards, M. Genevieve Hitchings, Jody R. Rosen, Jenna Spevack



e are delighted to introduce this issue of Nucleus focused on the OpenLab, City Tech’s digital platform for teaching, learning, and collaborating. Built by and for City Tech using open source software, the OpenLab is designed to provide opportunities for students, faculty, and staff at our commuter campus to connect and communicate across the college. Since its launch in Fall 2011, the OpenLab has helped to foster openness and experimentation, supporting a growing community, now 20,000+ members strong. But community is more than just a number: it also forms the core of the project’s ethos and development process. Member participation has been crucial to the OpenLab’s success, and we’re always working to enhance the site based on your feedback. We recently redesigned the platform to be mobilefriendly and more accessible for all users, and are currently working to enhance grading and feedback functionality, and improve search and filtering features. Going forward, we will be reimagining the OpenLab homepage to better reflect


what’s happening across the platform and the college. Our mission of community-building also extends beyond the site. We will be continuing important partnerships with groups such as First Year Learning Communities, the Library’s Open Educational Resources program, and General Education, and are also beginning new initiatives going forward. Building on the success of The Buzz, our student blogging program, we are creating OpenLab student internships for credit, and are also aiming to enhance mentoring and advising with improved support for student cohorts. Finally, we are thrilled to contribute to the larger education technology community by sharing the OpenLab’s benefits beyond City Tech via two major projects with Borough of Manhattan Community College that are designed to improve outcomes for students in STEM programs, and a new collaboration with The Graduate Center’s Commons In A Box team to build and publicly release an open educational platform based on the OpenLab.

This issue includes a snapshot of inspiring work by OpenLab members. For more, visit openlab.citytech.cuny. edu and take a look around, or check out “In the Spotlight” on the home page, where we regularly highlight OpenLab members and their work. We also encourage you to browse and join our three in-house sites: The Open Road, a project that highlights what’s possible on the OpenLab; Open Pedagogy, a project for discussing teaching and learning on the Openlab, and The Buzz, our student blogger project. /openroad /openpedagogyopenlab /the-buzz The OpenLab team would like to thank all those—too many to name—who have enthusiastically supported the project over the years, especially the 20,000+ members who have made the OpenLab into the thriving community you see today!


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Learning to Look Sandra Cheng


or several Fall semesters, the Hospitality Management and Humanities Departments have collaborated on a learning community for students taking their first laboratory classes in hospitality. Students enrolled in Joanne Jacus’s Baking I (HMGT 1204) or Kylie Garcelon’s Culinary I (HMGT 1203) meet in Sandra Cheng’s art history course and collaborate in class as well as through the OpenLab. The three classes have a shared website that enables faculty and students to see what is happening in the different courses. The open access website allows students to post photographs of their weekly baking and culinary lessons as well as to complete homework for the History of Photography (ARTH 1100). In addition to its usefulness as an administrative tool for posting announcements and homework, the site creates opportunities for students to share their reflective writing and




photographs. As a WordPress-based platform, the OpenLab is highly visual and easily transforms into a virtual exhibition space that makes students’ work visible to one another, learning community professors, the greater City Tech community, and beyond. Students post photographs taken during their baking and culinary lessons, showing images of process as well as final products. The near weekly documentation produces a visual record of student achievement over the course of the semester. For the History of Photography course, students respond to homework that promotes careful looking and writing with descriptive detail. A popular assignment is to take a photograph that illustrates texture. Students often reveal personal tastes and share biographical snippets while practicing the skills of critically looking and describing texture, two proficiencies that foster an

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aesthetic approach to kitchen practice. These photographs give students opportunities to learn to use a practical internet tool that is relevant to their future careers. Most importantly, the collaborative nature of the website cultivates our objective to nurture group dynamics by combining a critical approach to aesthetics with guided culinary practice. ylcartoffoodfall2015/


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Teaching Practice A. Lavelle Porter




have used the OpenLab in all of my City Tech courses thus far. I have found it to be an accessible, userfriendly platform to host course materials, and in the past two semesters I have worked to incorporate more student interaction on the site.

Taking one course as an example, in my Fall 2016 Introduction to Literature: Fiction course (ENG 2001), I had students submit all of their weekly response assignments on the OpenLab. The main texts for the course were two very recent novels, Long Division (2013) by Kiese Laymon, and Open City (2011) by Teju Cole. The assignments included weekly responses to the 8


pages of the novels that we were discussing in class. I also gave other research assignments, such as locating book reviews of the novel, as well as interviews and other articles by these authors. The students responded well to all of the assignments, and several of them mentioned that they enjoyed being able to read their classmates’ comments on the readings. Each week a different group of students had to lead the discussion of the readings, and I was pleased to see them incorporating their classmates’ online comments into the discussions.

OpenLab, including having students create their own blog posts. Mostly I have kept the settings private for courses where I’ve required students to post, but I’d also like to experiment with a fully open course. I want them to think about what it means to build a digital identity, and what it means to participate in online discussions that are publicly accessible and which can move beyond our classroom and the OpenLab platform.

In the future, I hope to increase the level of student-led interaction on the

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One Site to Find Them All Tanya Goetz


“While our students do not face the gates of Mordor, they will be leaving the safe haven of the design classroom for the competitive, deadline-driven environment of New York’s advertising, media, and corporate worlds.”


hen I reflect upon my work using the OpenLab for the Communication Design Department’s Internship (COMD 4900), I think of The Lord of the Rings 1954 by J. R. R. Tolkien because our students’ internship experience is very much a coming of age story. Since the department’s inception, the internship class has provided a critical capstone; it helps our students gain expertise and confidence in the professional world before they graduate. While our students do not face the gates of Mordor, they will be leaving the safe haven of the design classroom for the competitive, deadline-driven environment of New York’s advertising, media, and corporate worlds.

My initial goal was to have internship blogs on the OpenLab replace the printed journals that had been a requirement. I wanted these journals to be more accessible to other internship students and to our faculty for assessing our students’ internship work. Reading entries such as this https://openlab.cit sharad/internship-2/journals/lifestyleshoot/ or this entry by the same student about an app he uses to help manage his time: https://openlab.citytech. provides an informative window into this student’s internship adventure. Because these journals are available to the entire college community, one intern had her blog featured In The Spotlight section of the Openlab and wrote about that: https://openlab. academics/internships/week-6b-inthe-spotlight-feature/

I discovered that our past student internship blogs were valuable reading assignments for associate and baccalaureate students as they offer job search tips and explain various professional work terms such as this entry below: https://openlab.cit k zawad z k i- epor t fol io/te st _ page/ weekly-blogs/week-three/. However, many students still faced the challenge of finding an internship after registering for the class, rather than entering the class with an internship in hand. I created a “One Site to Find Them All” resource for students. The COMD internship coordination page links to City Tech’s Professional Development Center (PDC), and online job- and career-related sites including job postings. This OpenLab advisement tool provides real-time information to fourth year students and introduces students in years one through three to the capstone experience that awaits them—COMD 4900.


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Course Handbook Open to All Jason Montgomery



he OpenLab platform at City Tech offers faculty, students, advisors, and counselors multiple advantages in the pursuit of excellence in teaching and achievement in learning. One advantage is the development of an online course handbook that offers a wide range of resources and information about specific courses, as exemplified by the coordination site for Building Technology I (ARCH 1130). The OpenLab has grown to become a hub of fundamental information about courses taught across the college, almost a college catalog in its own right, allowing a preview of courses and activities that take place in that course. Course sites on the OpenLab can foster continuity of content by providing an overview and resources needed to participate and succeed. SELWYN COLLEGE EXPANSION, CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND, WITH PORPHYRIOS ASSOCIATES, LONDON.

An online course handbook has important benefits for teaching. The handbook can easily be made available to all faculty teaching a multi-section course. This is particularly important for part-time faculty who are assigned a section for the first time and need to quickly understand its scope and student learning goals. It also provides a feedback mechanism for further development of the course. During the semester, all faculty can refer to and use this single site, facilitating coordination and consistency across the sections. The course handbook has important advantages for students as well. They can preview the course to gain insight into its content and learning goals. The handbook includes examples of student projects; these set a clear standard for students and faculty by providing a reference point for assignments. The content is presented NEW VILLAGE MASTERPLAN, TAGHAZOUT, MOROCCO, WITH HART HOWERTON, NEW YORK.



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in multiple formats (pdf and prezi), allowing students and faculty alternative ways to approach learning. Digital access to course materials including the syllabus provides durable, continuous access throughout the semester.

elegant, intuitive navigation to course materials for the college community. The OpenLab has become a critical and essential component of the culture of the college.

Academic advisors and counselors can make significant use of these coordination sites in helping students plan their progression to graduation or in providing support to students struggling to succeed in a particular course. The site provides easy access to assignment requirements and rubrics that counselors can review with students to ensure they understand the requirements and expectations. Prior to the OpenLab, there was no platform that provided the broad and easy accessibility, clear location, and


Volume 8 | Winter 2017


Open Educational Resources Cailean Cooney


Open educational resources (OER) are free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes. CUNY’s librarians are at the forefront of the movement to adopt OER.


he OpenLab is my “go-to” platform for connecting faculty to City Tech’s Open Educational Resources (OER) Fellowship Program, which I lead each spring. Grounded in open pedagogy, the site can connect learners across City Tech and beyond. That is why the OpenLab is such a perfect lab space for OER projects - both seek to inspire collaboration and lifelong learning. The OER site is designed for OER Fellows and anyone interested in OER and open pedagogy. It’s organized similarly to how a course site might look: a syllabus for the seminars Fellows to use, a page linking to helpful resources and readings, and a forum (blog) to conduct discussions and share updates. The site gives Fellows an example of how their OER site could be organized, and perhaps most importantly, gives faculty the chance to interact with the curriculum from the user’s perspective. I’ve been surprised at how valuable the site has been for recording the work we do throughout the Fellowship program. The discussion forum has been helpful for documenting topics



of interest and it enables us to build a living and cumulative resource as we refer to earlier posts that continue to be relevant. OER Fellows have found surprising benefits to the OpenLab as well. Jeremy Seto of Biological Sciences, was able to swiftly loop instructors into the Biology I (BIO 1101) Lab curriculum

during last minute course schedule changes. Faculty have expressed excitement over students’ ability to draw on past course materials during the next course sequence, or even long after graduating, since access to their materials does not expire!

Faculty who developed and use OER course sites on the OpenLab Amanda Almond

Debbie Priftakis

Social Science/Psychology

Biological Sciences

Sue Brandt

Johannah Rodgers

Entertainment Technology


Heejun (Ellen) Kim

Jeremy Seto

Hospitality Management

Biological Sciences

David Lee

Anne Marie Sowder


Construction Management and Civil Engineering Technology

Ari Maller Physics

Suresh Tewani Chemistry

Zory Marantz Electrical & Telecommunications Engineering Technology

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Thomas Tradler and Holly Carley Mathematics

A Quest for Wellness Amanda Almond



penLab in Health Psychology (PSY3405ID), equates to students and I building the course culture together. Policies and boundaries for student interactions, both online and in-class, are developed and nurtured on the OpenLab page. Deconstructing some of the power-laden dynamics— conventional in many classrooms— makes for improved student performance and accountability because students are not only expected to meet those standards, but learn what goes into setting and practicing them. In addition, course materials are free to students (no textbook!) because I can provide Open Educational Resources remixed specifically for this interdisciplinary course, by me, under the Creative Commons license, thus removing another barrier to students’ personal success. Lastly, posts on the OpenLab in response to pre-lecture questions amplify students’ voices so that their unique experiences can be drawn upon during my lectures, making for a reflective experience with the course content.

“...course materials are free to students (no textbook!) because I can provide Open Educational Resources remixed specifically...”

Students work semester long with a computer program called LiveWell designed to modify three health behaviors (exercise, healthy eating and stress management) using the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change. Each behavior has a 3-week focus, for a total of nine weeks, in which students are given feedback, engage in activities via the program’s homepage, and share visual representations of their health behavior engagement on the OpenLab. The posts I find to be most rich are shown. The OpenLab was the vehicle for this important social component of health behavior change throughout the semester, bridging together important theory and practice.



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Research Activities Masato R. Nakamura



he Energy and Environmental Simulation Laboratory (EES Lab), a City Tech research laboratory in the Department of Mechanical Engineering Technology, has an OpenLab website for providing information/updates on our research activities to an external audience as well as to lab students for internal communication. The student assistants usually conduct research with me individually, but sometimes they also do team work. This mix of individual activities and team work are robustly supported by the OpenLab.

as during conferences where students present their findings both orally and through traditional poster sessions.

This is a very flexible tool to use for communication such as commenting to a post, uploading files, emailing members, etc. Our students enjoy sharing pictures taken during research, lab- and group project meetings as well

The logo that was created shows a leaf and the Earth (environment) with an electron-like particle (energy, computer simulation). We conduct research on energy, environmental engineering (including ecodesign), and computing



The OpenLab website of the EES Lab has a simple url: openlab.citytech.cuny. edu/eesl. Its simplicity clearly shows the lab belongs to City Tech and CUNY. Another advantage of the OpenLab is that it is based on WordPress, the popular platform for web bloggers. It is accessible and easy to use; even new student researchers can contribute immediately, so I assign them to work with our web manager.

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for sustainability. Because the OpenLab is easy to use, the web manager was able to use the EES Lab logo as a branding tool for its website header and the avatar for the EES Lab profile. The OpenLab enables EES Lab student researchers to be more interactive, productive, and communicative. The site has become a focal point of our lab activities and serves as a primary way to document, comment, and share our research progress.

Math Homework Help Jonas Reitz


“Opening Gateways to Completion: Open Digital Pedagogies for Student Success in STEM� is a large, cross-institutional collaboration between the Mathematics Departments at City Tech and Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). Aimed at supporting student success in gateway mathematics courses, this initiative will directly touch dozens of faculty and thousands of students over its 5-year span (and many more in the years beyond). The project is supported by a $3.2 million grant awarded in Fall 2015 by the U.S. Department of Education Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program; it is led at City Tech by Marianna Bonanome, Laura Ghezzi, Sheila Miller, Andrew Parker, and Jonas Reitz, in partnership with the OpenLab team. Find out more at


he OpenLab is truly a vital component of the Opening Gateways initiative. We are using it to manage the project in collaboration with our colleagues at BMCC; as a communication hub for the Opening Gateways seminar, with participation by Fellows from both campuses; and to house Open Educational Resources and other best practice materials created by the team. Perhaps most excitingly, we are partnering with the OpenLab team to implement a major innovation: integrating the OpenLab with WeBWorK, an open-source online homework platform. Students using WeBWorK in our courses are directed to the WeBWorKOpenLab site when they seek help with homework. The site allows students to post questions about homework problems and receive answers from instructors and fellows students. Students can also search for existing questions on similar topics, cutting down the time instructors spend responding to questions (as they tend to be repeated) and the response time (as a question may already have been answered online). Since the code will be released publicly, the work we are doing here will benefit not only students and faculty at City Tech but also the mathematics education community worldwide. /


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OpenLab Community Team and Bloggers /the-buzz/

The Buzz is an OpenLab initiative to involve and support student bloggers and photobloggers from across disciplines. Buzz bloggers receive mentoring and professional development from the OpenLab Community Team as they develop their digital presences. The Buzz is dedicated to all things City Tech, and students blog about themselves and topics that matter to them and the City Tech community. In their words, it is a place where we students share our wins and losses and support others who have been in similar situations. We hope that our words will bring comfort and guidance and help others who might be facing similar challenges. Among the topics of focus this year are succeeding as a single mom, self-discovery and adjustment in the transition to college as well as the transition to the United States, and exploring New York City’s past and current events. We want our words, experiences, and successes to help motivate and inspire people at City Tech and beyond to chase their dreams.



Kristen Hackett

Phil Kreniske

Kristen Hackett is a Digital Pedagogy Fellow with the OpenLab. As the outreach and communications point person her main responsibilities include sharing OpenLab-related events and news with our community, and sharing tips, tricks and best practices through “In the Spotlight,” our weekly blog series on the Open Road. In her other life, she is a doctoral student in Environmental Psychology at The Graduate Center, CUNY and an adjunct in the Urban Studies department at Queens College. Her research interests include housing and community development in NYC, political and social responses to increasing economic insecurity and precarity, and how art and technology can be used in consciousnessraising and resistance efforts. Her ultimate goal is to advocate for community/humancentered policy development.

Philip Kreniske is a Digital Pedagogy Fellow at the OpenLab, where he draws on his research and teaching expertise to facilitate faculty and student workshops and coordinate The Buzz, a student blogging initiative. In his teaching Philip has used digital technology extensively as a Writing Fellow at Baruch College where he worked closely with the SEEK Program, and in his psychology courses at Hunter College. Philip recently completed his doctoral degree in developmental psychology at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and published his work on the ways that first-generation college students used a digital social network as a system of support in the journal Computers in Human Behavior. At City Tech Philip is enthusiastic about the ways students and faculty are using the OpenLab as a tool for communication and learning within and beyond their courses.

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Andrew McKinney

Tyler Peckenpaugh

Bree Zuckerman

Andrew McKinney is a PhD candidate in Sociology at The Graduate Center, CUNY and a fellow at the Graduate Center’s Teaching and Learning Center in addition to his duties as a Digital Pedagogy Fellow at the OpenLab. Before coming to the OpenLab, Andrew was also a Digital Fellow at The Graduate Center, a CUNY Writing Fellow at Kingsborough Community College, and taught for two years and two summers at Baruch College. His role at the OpenLab includes designing and facilitating workshops for students, faculty, and staff, conducting research into user behavior on the platform, and generally supporting users as they learn and grow along with the platform. Having worked on the OpenLab since the summer of 2012, he is very proud to have witnessed and facilitated so much learning and pedagogical experimentation.

In addition to being a Digital Pedagogy Fellow at the OpenLab, Tyler Peckenpaugh is currently working on his dissertation in Theoretical Linguistics at The Graduate Center, CUNY. His research focus is on human sentence processing and its interface with prosody. Several years of teaching has given him an appreciation for pedagogy, and an understanding of the constraints of college classrooms. As a lifelong technology enthusiast—part-time web designer and programmer—he has a set of skills that makes the OpenLab the perfect home for him. He contributes technical expertise, an analytical mindset, and years of WordPress experience to the team. His focus at the OpenLab is on testing, writing user help documents, and figuring out how to organize and streamline the various responsibilities of the OpenLab.

Bree Zuckerman is the Senior Instructional Technologist for the OpenLab, and has been working with the OpenLab Community Team since the site’s first beta release. As such, she has had the privilege of supporting the OpenLab’s tremendous growth, from working with the first cohort of Living Lab Fellows in 2011, to witnessing the community surpass 20,000 members in 2017. While continuing to support faculty and students, she is currently focusing on development efforts, including helping to coordinate the site’s monthly releases and testing for quality assurance. Outside of City Tech, Bree manages the website for the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Previously, she was a writing and educational technology fellow at Queens College, and has also been an adjunct lecturer at City Tech, Baruch, and Hunter Colleges, and a research associate at the Ralph Bunche Institute.



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Multimodal Writing and Sci-Fi Jason W. Ellis


The City Tech Science Fiction Collection is a 600+ linear feet archive of novels, anthologies, scholarship, and over 4,000 magazines located in the Ursula C. Schwerin Library.


hen I joined the City Tech faculty after a stint in the digital pedagogyfocused Brittain Fellowship at Georgia Tech, I wanted to hit the ground running with a public-facing, multimodal (i.e., using combinations of words, images, audio, and video), online writing platform. In the past, I had used Wordpress installations for class management and student writing, which worked great but required upkeep and maintenance. After I heard about the OpenLab’s integrated solution that was built on Wordpress, I jumped at the chance to use it in my first classes. Later, I began using the OpenLab for a special project called Science Fiction at City Tech. In teaching, the OpenLab gives me considerable control over how I organize the information that I need to give to my students, and it gives my students a publicfacing forum for publishing their multimodal writing, embedding work they publish elsewhere (such as Twitter or YouTube), commenting on the work of others, and communicating with me. It is also important to me to have my students using something built on a recognized online writing platform instead of those that are not, such as Blackboard. In organizing the Science Fiction at City Tech project, the OpenLab gives me an easy-to-use platform to document project progress, provide important information on static pages, collaborate with colleagues, and share the work 18


that we do at City Tech with a wider audience through a public-facing website that can easily be shared on social media. The OpenLab site began as a way to chart the progress of shelving the recently donated City Tech Science Fiction Collection, but

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it quickly expanded beyond that to include sharing teaching resources among faculty and helping scholars locate magazines in the collection with a finding aid that I created for the collection’s magazine holdings.

FACULTY CONTRIBUTORS /people/?usertype=faculty/

Amanda Almond is Assistant Professor teaching Health Psychology. Her research focuses on social interactions and health behaviors of U.S. women and minorities. She chairs the Early Career Professionals Committee (Society on the Psychology of Women) and serves as Diversity Liaison (Society of Health Psychology’s Research Council). Jill Belli is Assistant Professor of English and Co-Director of the OpenLab. Her areas of expertise are utopian studies, happiness studies, writing studies, pedagogy, and digital humanities. She teaches writing and literature courses, especially science fiction and utopias/dystopias. Sandra Cheng is Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities. Her areas of expertise are early modern art, caricature, ephemeral art, and the history of collecting. She teaches courses in art history, history of photography, and film history. Cailean Cooney is Assistant Professor in the Ursula C. Schwerin Library. She leads the Open Educational Resources (OER) faculty fellowship and is interested in open pedagogy, scholarly communications, and edtech. Charlie Edwards is Co-Director of the OpenLab and related grant-funded projects. She is also pursuing a PhD in English at CUNY Graduate Center with research interests in non-canonical Victorian women novelists, digital humanities, and open source software in education. Jason W. Ellis is Assistant Professor in the Department of English. His areas of expertise are science fiction, digital culture, vintage computing, and neuronarratives. He teaches courses in the Professional and Technical Writing Program. Tanya Goetz is Assistant Professor in the Communication Design Department. Her areas of expertise are project management and digital workflows. She teaches the department’s internship classes as well as its foundation level courses. M. Genevieve Hitchings is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Design. Her areas of expertise include graphic design, typography, and illustration for both print and interactive media. She teaches all levels of graphic design courses and is Co-Director of City Tech’s OpenLab. Jason Montgomery is Assistant Professor in the Department of Architectural Technology. His areas of expertise are urban design and building tectonics. He teaches urban design, design studio, and building technology courses. Masato R. Nakamura is Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering Technology. He teaches Solid Modeling, Simulation, and Industrial Design. His fields of research include earth and environmental engineering, renewable energy, sustainable computing, and ecodesign. A. Lavelle Porter is Assistant Professor of English. He specializes in American and African-American Literature and teaches courses in composition and literature. Jonas Reitz is Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics. His area of expertise is set theory and mathematical logic. He teaches all levels of mathematics courses. Jody R. Rosen is Associate Professor in the Department of English and Co-Director of the OpenLab. She teaches English Composition—often in learning communities—as well as Fiction, Women Writers, and other literature courses. Her scholarship focuses on Modernism, narrative theory, gender and sexuality studies, as well as the intersections of technology, pedagogy, and community. Jenna Spevack is the OpenLab Co-Director and Associate Professor of Creative Media in the Communication Design Department. As an artist and educator her work focuses on issues of sustainable ecology and human interaction and explores alternative models of experience and exchange.


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Volume 8 | Winter 2017

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