Open Education & Technology

Open education, also called open digital pedagogy, has been defined as “the use of cost-free, publicly available online tools and platforms by instructors and students for teaching, learning, and communicating… and equip students to actively participate in their education” (Rosen and Smale, 2015).  A core tenet of open education is the use of open educational resources (OER). New York State has invested significantly in the development and deployment of OER at CUNY and instructors across the university are creating open educational resources that can be reused and remixed from semester to semester.

Beyond OER, open educational practices encompass incorporating digital and open source tools, centering student knowledge, encouraging student engagement with public audiences, and fostering digital skills and literacies. When we talk about “open” education, we are interrogating how interactions, resources, and digital tools can “actually transform the way in which we do “school,” [and] the way in which we teach and learn” (Watters, 2015). At the TLC, open education practices are infused throughout our work; we aim to provide guidance for “opening up” teaching, foster a community of practice for instructors, and develop programming and resources for and with graduate student instructors. To facilitate OER programming at the Graduate Center, the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) collaborates with the Mina Rees Library and the Graduate Center’s Digital Initiatives (GCDI).

As part of the TLC’s Open Education initiatives, staff and fellows offer workshop series, group trainings, one-on-one consultations, and focused inquiry groups for integrating OER and open educational practices into courses and teaching with open digital tools. With GCDI, the TLC supports faculty teaching with two CUNY-built, university-wide, open-source platforms: the CUNY Academic Commons and Manifold. The TLC and GCDI staff have collaborated on a workshops series such as the Open Platforms for Teaching & Learning at CUNY and Open & Digital Pedagogy Wednesday Workshop series, which provided pedagogical guidance for fostering student engagement in online spaces, assigning digital projects, teaching with social annotation, ungrading assessment practices, teaching with digital art, and engaging students in OER creation processes.

In Summer 2022, with funding from CUNY’s Office of Library Services (OLS) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the TLC and GCDI launched the Open Education and Publishing Institute, which mentored  and supported 10 faculty fellows through the the development of open educational resources and OER courses on the CUNY Academic Commons and Manifold.

The next iteration of the institute, Open Education and Publishing Institute: Collaborative Knowledge & Social Justice, will run in June 2024 with generous funding provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Faculty Fellows from across the US will participate in the institute to develop OER that highlight marginalized knowledges and social justice issues and bring students into the OER creation process as collaborators and co-creators.