Build a Program site

Various Graduate Center programs have built their sites on OpenCUNY. Current and prospective students are able to easily access program and event information.

Engage with GC Students

The Doctoral Students’ Council hosts several committee websites on

Click to visit the DSC Health and Wellness site.

Answers to all your OpenCUNY questions!

April 2015 Library Workshops!

Upcoming library workshops cover GIS, SPSS, and Zotero. See the full list of events or check out the highlights below. Workshops are open to GC students and affiliated faculty!

Tuesday, April 14: Why Can’t I Download That Ebook? Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) and the Politics of Electronic Reading, led by Alycia Sellie

This workshop will take a tour through the GC’s ebook collections with an eye for what ebooks offer options for use and which are restricted through content management tools (known as DRM). Addressing both the technical and the political implications of DRM systems upon readers and researchers, this workshop will cover both the practical access to the Graduate Center’s ebook collections as a discussion of the complications which arise with book digitization.

Thursday, April 16: Privacy in the Age of Dragnet Surveillance: What You Need to Know to Protect Your Rights Online, led by Alison Macrina and Kade Crockford

Alison Macrina of the Library Freedom Project and Kade Crockford of the ACLU of Massachusetts will present a workshop on privacy and surveillance in the 21st Century. Kade will give an overview of some of the government surveillance programs we learned about from Edward Snowden’s revelations. Alison will then discuss practical tech tools that can be used to safeguard your privacy from spies and other adversaries.

Monday, April 20: Brewster Kahle

Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive, will speak at the annual Graduate Center Friends of the Library event on April 20, 2015. He will be introduced by Professor William P. Kelly. This event is free and open to the public. Space is limited and a wait list is underway; registration required.

Wednesday, April 22: Archival Research: The Basics, led by Donna Davey

Learn the basics of archival research in this hands-on workshop.  We’ll cover what archives are and how they are arranged, where and how to look for sources, and what to expect when you visit an archival repository.

OpenCUNY Spring 2015 Welcome; Come Celebrate with Us This Friday!

To welcome everyone back into the semester and celebrate the hopefully imminent coming of better weather, OpenCUNY is throwing a spring party this Friday, February 27, from 5-8pm in Room 5414. There will be drinks, food, and socializing with OpenCUNY participants (i.e. you and your colleagues!) and coordinators. Even if you haven’t yet joined OpenCUNY, you’re welcome to come and talk with us about that personal/group/etc. website that you’ve been meaning to create!

At the party and across the spring semester we’ll be looking towards supporting and building the future of OpenCUNY. Last spring we celebrated OpenCUNY’s 5th birthday, and we’ve been considering how to sustain and develop OpenCUNY for the next five years and beyond. As coordinators, we’ve been tracking changes in technology and updating our platform, including expanding our server space. We need your support and participation to help us direct the future course of OpenCUNY with two initiatives. These initiatives will help shape, protect, and support OpenCUNY in the future.

As always, be in touch with any questions as you create and develop your digital footprints. And, be on the lookout for more OpenCUNY events as the weather starts to warm!

We Need Your Voice: Reviewing, Commenting, and Approving Our Proposed Terms of Participation

Since 2008, OpenCUNY has been the student-organized, open-source, participatory digital media platform for The Graduate Center, CUNY community. In its participatory nature, every person who signs up with OpenCUNY is a participant, not a user. Our guiding policy, the Terms of Participation, aims to empower participants and let them retain the rights to the content they post on OpenCUNY. The current Terms of Participation dates to 2011.

In 2013-2014 with the appointment of two new coordinators, OpenCUNY decided that the Terms were in need of revising and begun this process, as detailed in the DSC bylaws.
Our work on the new Terms have progressed over the past months, detailed below.

Fall 2013: OpenCUNY meets with the DSC-funded lawyer for an initial consultation about what revising the Terms would entail, given the fast pace with which the laws involving digital media have evolved in the past few years.
May 2014: With a DSC-funded Knowledge Grant, OpenCUNY meets with lawyers in the DSC-associated law firm to begin to craft a new Terms of Participation through conversation.
Summer 2014: OpenCUNY Coordinators digitally review and revise drafts of the Terms and reach a draft that was ready for review by the OpenCUNY Board.
Fall 2014: Over the course of a few meetings, the OpenCUNY Coordinators and the OpenCUNY Board discuss the Terms and suggest additional revisions.
December 2014: The OpenCUNY Board approves the Terms, pending revisions, which the lawyers make, sending back a fourth draft.

And that brings us up to the present, to January 2015, where we’re posting the proposed Terms of Participation and opening them up for review and voting approval by all OpenCUNY participants. We welcome and will respond to your comments, whether posted publicly or emailed. Here’s our proposed timeline moving forward.

January-March 2015: Proposed Terms of Participation are open for review, comment, and approval by OpenCUNY participants. OpenCUNY Coordinators review and revise, as necessary, in consultation with the law firm.
April 24, 2015: Having been approved by the OpenCUNY participants, the Terms of Participation will be voted on by the DSC plenary at the April meeting and approved by a simple majority.
May 2015: The proposed Terms become the new Terms of Participation, and all participants will be notified of this change.

Welcome to OpenCUNY’s 4G Server!

Over this Thanksgiving holiday, OpenCUNY resized its server, increasing our space on our LiquidWeb Virtual Private Server from 2 to 4 gigabytes. We previously doubled our server size, from 1 to 2 gigabytes, in the Summer of 2013 to meet increasing demand due to more participants, more websites & media, more traffic, and more mapped domains (which puts additional strain on the server). From the Summer of 2013 to now, the number of hosted mapped domains has doubled, making this recent increase especially vital.

In the past few years, OpenCUNY has been growing at a steady pace, gaining new participants and websites at rates of 25-50% over the course of any given academic year. In this past academic year, we celebrated OpenCUNY’s 5th birthday, looking back to and honoring OpenCUNY’s first days when Gregory Donovan germinated the idea in Summer of 2008 and got the project formally endorsed and instituted as an affiliate of the Doctoral Students’ Council in Spring of 2009. Since that time, OpenCUNY has grown not only virtually, but also as an institution. In Spring of 2011, OpenCUNY had added a Coordinator of Education and Support and added a third position, Coordinator of Action and Development, in Summer of 2013.

We’re in a different moment from 2008 when The Graduate Center, CUNY, had no easy means for students and faculty to create digital presences, but the work of OpenCUNY is just as important today. Students’ right to remain silent without the assumption of guilt are being challenged by CUNY’s Board of Trustees, physical student-based facilities are imperiled (cf. City College’s closure of the Morales-Shakur Center), and the student-mobilizing that has been happening in the wake of the non-indictments in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases have highlighted the need to speak out, to change the system. OpenCUNY provides that digital space for all voices to be heard.

OpenCUNY exists as an independently-run, student-based and student-focused WordPress platform, which supports free and open-source digital media and advocates on behalf of students’ interest within the CUNY-wide technological environment. Because OpenCUNY is not hosted on CUNY servers, it is not subject to the CUNY Policy on Acceptable Use of Computer Resources, which allows us to protect students’ voices and operate more autonomously.

Looking back, we are happy to see that OpenCUNY has (and will continue to) provide a vital service to the students of The Graduate Center and we are looking forward to seeing what the future has in store. Want to help us look toward the future? Please take the OpenCUNY Survey.

OpenCUNY Survey: Looking Forward!

OpenCUNY is launching its first survey ( and wants to know what you think about the current and future OpenCUNY!

OpenCUNY was founded in 2008 as a participatory medium. What makes us unique from other digital platforms is that we have a Terms of Participation, not a terms of use. This is not merely a semantic differentiation, but bespeaks the politics of OpenCUNY. OpenCUNY is run by students, for students. Students fund OpenCUNY through student activity fees, and also serve as coordinators and board members and participants (not users!). We are open to the whole Graduate Center community, but we exist primarily for and by students. With great power there must also come great responsibility. We’re launching a survey that asks you to weigh in on your interactions on and with OpenCUNY.

About the Survey:
We’ll be gathering information on basic things like the best way for you all to get in touch with us, which programs use OpenCUNY and which don’t, and what kind of devices you use to access OpenCUNY. This 10 to 15 minute survey will help us to get a sense of where are participants are coming from after 5 years and what their dreams are for the next five:

What we find to be the most important part of this survey is the last set of questions which asks you to define OpenCUNY. We coordinators are constantly being asked what makes OpenCUNY different than other digital platforms. We know how we conceptualize OpenCUNY but we’d like you to tell us how you think of OpenCUNY and what makes it unique!

 Take the survey! (

OpenCUNY Fall 2014 Welcome

Dearest OpenCUNY participants,

OpenCUNY, the student-governed, open source, academic medium for The Graduate Center, CUNY community, where you can build the website of your dreams through a WordPress interface, would like to warmly welcome you back to another academic year here in this Midtown labyrinth (distinctly lacking in David Bowie). It’s been great to meet new faces at Orientation and see familiar faces around the halls again now that fall semester is underway. If we’ve not met you yet, and you’re intrigued, read about OpenCUNY and consider joining us!

Happy birthday, OpenCUNY, with current coordinators and OpenCUNY founder.

Happy birthday, OpenCUNY, with current coordinators and OpenCUNY founder.

In the past year, OpenCUNY celebrated its fifth birthday, and we’re actively working to develop OpenCUNY for present and future needs. We’ll share about some of our current projects in this email. As always, we encourage you to get in touch with us if you’re interested in collaborating on events or have any questions about your web presence.

Tell OpenCUNY What’s Up: Our First Participant Survey
In order to help us assess the current usages of OpenCUNY and plan for its next five years, we’ve launched OpenCUNY’s First Participant Survey here. Whether or not you’re on OpenCUNY, we encourage you to take 10-15 minutes of your time and share about your experience on digital platforms.

Learn More about OpenCUNY on
In addition to our main site,, contains helpful forms for frequent requests and how-tos for common queries. The newest posts on include:

Updating Our Terms of Participation
One of the main tenets of OpenCUNY is that we are a participatory platform, governed by a Terms of Participation. These Terms are crafted by the OpenCUNY Coordinators and a Board of OpenCUNY participants and approved both by OpenCUNY participants and the Doctoral Students’ Council Plenary. As it’s been a while since we’ve updated the Terms, the OpenCUNY Coordinators have been working this spring and summer with the DSC lawyers to review the existing Terms and draft a new document, which will take into account changes in the landscape of the internet. We will work on these revised Terms with the new OpenCUNY Board this fall before we present it to the larger OpenCUNY community and DSC Plenary for review later this academic year.

Maggie Galvan,, OpenCUNY Coordinator of Education and Support
Laurie Hurson,, OpenCUNY Coordinator of Planning and Development
Chrissy Nadler,, OpenCUNY Coordinator of Organizing and Action
Learn more about your OpenCUNY Coordinators here!

P.S. We recently upgraded to WordPress 4.0! Learn more here and be in touch if you experience any issues in the transition.

Reportback & Resources from Beyond the Blog: Making Your (Digital) Teaching Portfolio

On Friday, April 25th OpenCUNY hosted the 3rd event in the Beyond the Blog series, this time focusing on how to create and share your (digital) teaching portfolio. The event was lead by Julia Jordan, a nationally recognized leader in experiential education with over forty years experience across the educational spectrum. Julia holds the title of professor and founding director of the Faculty Commons: A Center for Teaching, Learning, Scholarship and Service at New York City College of Technology of the City University of New York. Paul King (Architecture) and Gwen Cohen-Brown (Dentistry, Pathology, Pain management) joined Julia to discuss how to put together an effective, comprehensive portfolio. Below you will find some take-away points and resources from the event.

Tips for Writing your Portfolio Content

Paul stressed that, though you’ll need to write about both, one of the first things it is important to do is figure out the difference between your teaching philosophy and your teaching methodology.

If you can start your sentence by saying ‘I believe’, that’s probably your philosophy and if you start with ‘I do this’, it’s probably your method. Sometimes it may be both your philosophy and methodology and this is OK. Our speakers made it clear that though the philosophy and methodology are separate parts of a teaching portfolio, they should reflect each other; what you do in the classroom should be somehow reflected in your philosophy and vice versa.

The teaching philosophy is the hardest to write, so write your methodology first by thinking of what you actually do in the classroom and talking to your students. Next, try to figure out your philosophy by reviewing what you actually practice. You may find that your practice does not match your philosophy. For this reason our speakers suggested you not only think of a teaching portfolio as something you do for a job application, but as a mechanism for thinking about your own pedagogy. They call this a Reflective Teaching Portfolio (resource below). Most good teachers are dissatisfied with their teaching, so always try to look at what they’ve done and where they could do better. Another way to start this process is to write a Haiku about why you teach. This might help to get your thoughts flowing and force you to be concise. You also might try making a list of what you think are the ‘top five things that effective teachers do’ and go from there.

Our speakers also mentioned that getting feedback from peers was important. They suggested that you find somebody that you  feel compatible with and have them read your portfolio — and  let them play the doubting game with it. Never try to make your teaching portfolio all by yourself.

From there you’ll want to think about evidence – how do you prove the statements you make in your teaching portfolio? You will need to include student comments, teaching evaluations, student work, and other documents and media to support your philosophy and methodology.

Tips for Displaying and Sharing Your Portfolio Content

In both your writing and display of content, make sure to have a thread between the sections. When making a digital teaching portfolio you may simply post an uploaded teaching portfolio file as a PDF, but you could also consider using the website in dynamic ways. There are lots of options for how to talk about your teaching online. You could simply have a brief paragraph stating your teaching philosophy, or dedicate a section of a larger site to your teaching, or even create an entire site that constitutes the portfolio. When applying for a job you’ll still need to submit the portfolio as they request it, but you can link to your site for those who want to read more, or who would like to engage with media like audio and video.

Consider having multimedia captures of your teaching in action: instead of a description, you could have videos (if students allow). You may decide that you’d like to have a video or audio recording of your class lecture. With student’s permission you may decide to record a course and post that content. Did you know you can borrow a camera, an audio voice recorder or a laptop from the Grad Center Library/IT Help Desk? Just fill out this form and bring it to the Help Desk on the 2nd floor of the Graduate Center Library.

Other advantages to building and sharing your teaching portfolio online might be the ability to:

  • Include audio/video recording of your classes, lessons*

  • Include screen-captured feedback given to a student (i.e. comments on a paper)*

  • Include a series of a student papers with your comments to display growth over the semester.*

  • Include class projects, videos, etc.*

  • Link to outside resources connected to your teaching portfolio and pedagogy

*Your university probably has an official form for permission releases.

Aside from just using WordPress to create a public website, it can also be used as a Content Management System (CMS). What this means is, you can use WordPress to organize content, in this case items for your teaching portfolio. This way you can manage and systematize your content and documents without having to make it public right away. You make make your entire site private (info here) or just certain posts, pages, and documents (info here) and share them at your discretion. For example, you could change what is publicly visible depending on what jobs you might be applying for or what audience you are trying to reach. Though a teaching portfolio website does not take the place of a paper hard-copy, it can act as a helpful archive of all the items connected with your pedagogy that is easily accessible and has the potential to be shared at any time.

List of Suggested Resources
Julia provided us with the very generous gift of the following books that are now available to all and can be found in the Office of Career Planning and Professional Development, Room 3300.31.

Online Resources

SENCER-SALG: “The SENCER Student Assessment of Learning Gains (SALG) allows students to rate how much specific activities in SENCER courses help their learning. The assessment tool also asks students to report on their science skills and interests, as well as the civic activities in which they engage.”

SENCER: Science Education for New Civic Engagement and Responsibilities

SALG: Student Assessment of their own Learning Gains

Paul King’s Example of a Reflective Teaching Portfolio and some important samples and templates

Flannery Amdahl wrote a post about the event on the GC Career Planning and Professional Development Blog

Documents from the Event

Download (DOCX, 23KB)

Download (DOC, 27KB)



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