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.

Ambrose, Susan A., Michael W. Bridges, Michele DiPietro, Marsha C. Lovett, Marie K. Norman, and Richard E. Mayer. 2010. How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. 1 edition. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Bain, Ken. 2004. What the Best College Teachers Do. 1 edition. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Bean, John C., and Maryellen Weimer. 2011. Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom. 2 edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Dweck, Carol. 2007. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Reprint edition. New York: Ballantine Books.
Riordan, Tim, and James Leonard Roth. 2004. Disciplines as Frameworks for Student Learning: Teaching the Practice of the Disciplines. 1 edition. Sterling, Va.: Stylus Publishing.
Seldin, Peter, J. Elizabeth Miller, Clement A. Seldin, and Wilbert McKeachie. 2010. The Teaching Portfolio: A Practical Guide to Improved Performance and Promotion/Tenure Decisions. 4 edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Steele, Claude M. 2011. Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do. Reprint edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

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)



Materials from Authors’ Rights Event

On March 28, Jill Cirasella, Associate Librarian for Public Services and Scholarly Communication, led an event (co-sponsored by OpenCUNY) on authors’ rights. Jill has kindly allowed us to share the following resources from the event on OpenCUNY.
Here are the slides from the event:
Here’s SHERPA/RoMEO, the tool for getting a quick snapshot of a publisher’s/journal’s self-archiving policy:
Here are the publishing agreements we looked at:
You might recall our confusion about the “moral rights” mentioned in the Journal of Library Innovation document.  As it turns out, moral rights have to do with the right to be attributed and the right to control the fate/integrity of a work.  The Journal of Library Innovation doesn’t touch moral rights, but it was just reported with horror that the Nature Publishing Group asks authors to waive moral rights to articles published in their journals!  Here are two articles on that topic:
More about licenses:
On to open access repositories:

OpenCUNY’s Fifth Birthday Celebration

On February 28th, 2014 OpenCUNY celebrated our Fifth Birthday.

OpenCUNY Spring 2014 Welcome

Dearest OpenCUNY participants,

Yes, the weather outside is frightful, but starting a new web project on OpenCUNY would be so delightful! As we heartily welcome you to will-it-ever-be-spring semester and share about some new OpenCUNY features and upcoming events, we encourage you, as ever, to be in touch about what you’re working on. We’re a participatory community, and we coordinators enjoy answering email queries and learning more about what everyone’s up to!

OpenCUNY Turns 5 and “Beyond the Blog” Event Series!

  • Five years ago this spring, OpenCUNY was ratified as an official DSC affiliate after having been launched in Fall 2008. Celebrate with us on Friday, February 28 and share what you’re up to OpenCUNY with other participants!
  • As OpenCUNY turns five, we’ll be launching a “Beyond the Blog” event series for spring where we’ll be collaborating with the GC Mina Rees librarians in thinking about how we represent ourselves digitally. Many of us get fixated on the need to blog or think of WordPress as just a blogging platform, and we’d like to break through that mindset with a series of horizontal meetups about CVs, open access and authors’ rights, teaching portfolios, etc. For more info, see the library post on this series:
  • Check our event calendar on our homepage for both of these and other upcoming events:

OpenCUNY Survey: Looking Forward!

  • To help OpenCUNY look energetically forward to the next five years, we’re launching a survey that asks you to weigh in on your interactions on and with OpenCUNY. 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 to you use to access OpenCUNY. This 10 to 15 minute survey will help us to get a sense of where are participants are at, after 5 years:

What’s New on OpenCUNY!

  • Over the winter break, we upgraded to WordPress 3.8. You can now colorize your Dashboard and compare themes with greater finesse. Learn more about the various changes here:
  • Elections for the next year’s OpenCUNY Board will be happening soon! If you’re an avid participant and want to be more involved in thinking through plans and changes alongside the OpenCUNY coordinators, nominate yourself:! Nominations are open until February 28! Read about Board responsibilities here:
  • Keep your eyes peeled for new content on ( and let us know what you’d like to know more about by emailing us at

We look forward to seeing you this spring in person and online!

As Ever,
Your OpenCUNY Coordinators, Chrissy, Laurie, & Maggie.
all of us:

P.S. Have you seen our electronic flyers around the Graduate Center? What do you think of them? Let us know by dropping us a line at!

GC Library ArcGIS, Data Mgt, and Research Metrics Workshops

The Library is holding some events this fall that might be of interest to OpenCUNY participants. Check it out.

ArcGIS, Data Mgt, and Research Metrics Workshops

Register now for the following library workshops taking place in October and November! All classes will be taught by visiting librarian Meg Smith.

  • Intro to ArcGIS- This workshop will introduce the ArcMap user interface and the fundamentals of interacting with spatial datasets in ArcGIS mapping software. RSVP for either session
    • Tuesday, Oct. 22, 4-5.15 pm
    • Thursday, Nov. 14, 6.30-7.30 pm
  • Research Metrics for the Rest of Us- Come learn how scholarly output is measured (through impact factors, citation counts, h-index and more!) plus why it matters for you. RSVP for either session
    • Tuesday, Oct. 22, 6.30-7.30
    • Thursday, Nov. 21, 4.15-5.15
  • Planning for Data Management- This workshop introduces best practices for managing and preserving your research data, as well as what federal granting agencies (NSF/NIH) are looking for in your data management plan. RSVP for either session
    • Thursday, Nov. 14, 4.15-5.15
    • Thursday, Nov. 21, 6.30-7.30

Questions? Contact Amy Ballmer at  or 212.817.7059

OpenCUNY Fall 2013 Welcome!

OpenCUNY, the student-governed, open source, academic medium for the CUNY Graduate Center community, would like to warmly welcome you back to another academic year and share some news and information about OpenCUNY.

In the past year, OpenCUNY welcomed many new participants and participated in exciting digital initiatives, and this year we welcome two new coordinators to the fray while wishing our founder, Dr. Gregory Donovan, bonne chance in his new position as Assistant Professor of Urban Studies at Saint Peter’s University. Laurie Hurson (Environmental Psychology) and Christina Nadler (Sociology) join Maggie Galvan (English) to help grow and innovate OpenCUNY and support and nourish our digital community. You can read our bios and contact us here:

Additionally, another welcome must be made to the newest version of WordPress, 3.6, which we switched to over the summer. With this upgrade comes native video and audio support (no need for a plugin), updated revision information, a whole new default theme (the Tumblr-esque Twenty Thirteen), and more. Read all about the new features here ( and don’t hesitate to get in contact with us if you have any questions.

In 2012-2013, OpenCUNY actively participated in the Internet Research Team (, helped sponsor and participate in an #OccupyData hackathon (, organized a panel of Graduate Center students for the Theorizing the Web conference (, hosted a Cryptoparty ( and Techno Activism Third Monday (, and more. We hope to continue such active collaboration this coming year with groups both inside and outside the Graduate Center.

Keep Tabs on the OpenCUNY Community
To stay in the loop with all the exciting work that is going on OpenCUNY, we encourage you to follow us on Twitter ( and connect with us on Facebook ( Both these outlets share and circulate any new material published publicly on OpenCUNY.

Tips & Tricks if You’re Still New to OpenCUNY/WordPress

Ideas & Information to Further Your OpenCUNY Vision

Collaborate with us!
Are you organizing events that touch on technology, access, activism, open-source, etc.? We would love to put our heads together and potentially create/host/co-sponsor events with you! Contact us here:

Chrissy, Laurie, Maggie., Coordinator for Organizing and Action, Coordinator for Planning and Development, Coordinator for Education and Support

Internet Society Posts Video of @OpenCUNY + @OpenITP #TA3M Event

From the Internet Society’s New York Chapter:
At the OpenITP Techno-Activism Third Monday on May 20, 2013 at CUNY Graduate Center NYC, OpenCUNY presented Alfredo Lopez, founder of May First/People Link (MF/PL), who shared his experience running a progressive and collaborative ISP. Video is below.

DSC Final Hiring Reminder: Two (Paid) OpenCUNY Coordinator Positions

Dear OpenCUNYers –

As many of you know, the DSC plenary recently approved the hiring for a third coordinator. The new Coordinator for Organizing & Action will join the existing two coordinator positions to provided better support for our participants in the upcoming academic year, and to expand the scope of OpenCUNY’s current activities.

Below is the job announcement for this new position as well the Coordinator for Planning & Development position. Please let Maggie or I know if you have any questions ( / @opencuny)!

NOTE: Since these positions are paid via stipend, they can be combined with any GC fellowship without issue.


Doctoral Students’ Council’s OpenCUNY

Applications due: May 7th, 2013

The DSC seeks candidates for the following open positions at OpenCUNY:

  • Coordinator for Planning & Development
  • Coordinator for Organizing & Action


OpenCUNY advocates on behalf of and provides Graduate Center students access to free and open source digital media, with attention given to the CUNY-wide free and open source digital media situation and its relations with Graduate Center students.

Each new coordinator will serve from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014, with the possibility of reappointment, and be paid an annual stipend of approximately $6300, which is paid in monthly stipends throughout the year.

Applicants must be matriculated Graduate Center students with web
development experience relevant to WordPress.

The open position of Coordinator for Planning & Development shall be
responsible for:

  • publicly maintaining an updated Terms of Participation and policies;
  • ensuring meetings of the OpenCUNY Board; 
  • performing system upgrades and plugin/theme installation in consultation with the Coordinator for Education & Support; 
  • assessing developments in free and open source software, with the aim of identifying new services to offer.


The open position of  Coordinator for Organizing & Action shall be
responsible for:

  • serving as primary liaison to other DSC affiliates, as well as the DSC Steering and Executive Committees;
  • developing, extending, & integrating action-oriented media within the OpenCUNY medium;
  • fostering connections with organizations who share OpenCUNY’s mission;
  • coordinating and conducting on-site documentation of activities related to OpenCUNY’s mission and scope.


The two successful applicants will join Maggie Galvan (Coordinator for
Education & Support) and together will be responsible for:

  • facilitating communication and decision-making among the OpenCUNY Board,
  • performing maintenance on the digital medium, administering participants’ accounts and requests, • ensuring the reliability of the medium and adoption of open standards, and
  • ensuring that all activities of OpenCUNY are in compliance with the DSC Constitution and Bylaws.


Please indicate for which position you are applying. If applying both positions, please address this in your cover letter. Forward CVs and cover letters to Eero Laine, DSC Co-Chair for Student Affairs by Tuesday, May 7th, 2013:

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