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Commons In A Box OpenLab: A Commons for Open Learning

Commons In A Box OpenLab: A Commons for Open Learning


Charlie Edwards, OpenLab Co-Director, OpenLab; Jody Rosen, OpenLab Co-Director & Associate Professor, English, New York City College of Technology; Matthew K. Gold, Associate Professor of English and Digital Humanities, The Graduate Center


“We are excited to introduce Commons In A Box OpenLab (CBOXOL), a free and open-source software platform for teaching, learning, and collaboration.  The project brings together the Graduate Center’s Commons In A Box ( and City Tech’s OpenLab ( to create a teachingfocused
version of Commons In A Box modeled on the OpenLab’s features and functionality.  Due to be released publicly in Fall 2018, CBOX-OL is designed to help students and faculty connect and collaborate both within their classrooms and across the college, sharing their work with one another and the outside world.  We believe it represents a powerful intervention in the landscape of educational technology that will provide an open alternative to costly proprietary platforms.

Built using WordPress and BuddyPress, CBOX-OL will enable individual faculty members, departments, and entire institutions to easily create and customize their own commons spaces specifically designed for open learning.  Members of a CBOX-OL community can set up and join courses, projects, and interest groups of all kinds; they can post multimedia content, participate in discussion forums, edit documents together, share files, send messages, make friendship connections, and create profiles and portfolios to showcase their work.  As we will show, students and faculty readily grasp the benefits these tools provide, using them in innovative and creative ways that promote active learning and student engagement.

In our presentation, we will demonstrate CBOX-OL’s features and some of the many use cases it supports: in the classroom, for open educational resources, community- building, co-curricular activities, and more.  We will also discuss practicalities of support and maintenance, and share our plans for future development.”

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