Bronx EdTech Showcase logo

2021 Virtual Bronx EdTech Showcase: Program
9:30am – 10:00am

BYOC & Virtual Networking

  • Online – Virtual Lounge
10:00am – 10:15am

Welcome from College Presidents & Showcase Steering Committee

  • Online – Main Stage

Welcoming remarks from College Presidents from Bronx Community College, Hostos Community College, and Lehman College; and greetings from members of the Bronx EdTech Showcase Steering Committee.

10:15am – 11:00am

Enlightenment Keynote – Building the Future We Want: Envisioning Educational Technology at CUNY

  • Maura Smale Mariana Regalado
  • Online – Main Stage

Educational technology platforms, applications, and devices have become almost ubiquitous, and essentially a requirement for us and our students to conduct our academic work. Technology can make academic work easier and more efficient: when students can email faculty with questions outside of office hours, when faculty can post their syllabus online for ease of reference for students, and when students can use their smartphones to study on their commutes. However, technology can also present unanticipated barriers to academic work: when students or faculty need technical support during times that it’s not available, when students encounter long lines to print at their campus computer labs, and when home internet or campus wifi fails to accommodate student and faculty needs.

How can we at CUNY take advantage of the affordances of technology in our and our students’ academic lives while attempting to mitigate the constraints? How has our use of educational technology changed during the pandemic, and how might we want to proceed in the future? For more than a decade we have studied how, where, and when CUNY students and faculty use educational technology, and we will briefly share insights from our research. We’ll then break up into groups to participate in a visioning game to create our ideal academic technology landscapes and strategies. By working together to imagine possible educational technology utopias, we can build community and consider new ways to use current and future educational technology to support student success.

11:05am – 11:35am

Concurrent Session I

  • Online – Individual sessions

CitySpeak: A Virtual Exchange Project between Malmö University (Sweden) and Hostos Community College

  • Malin Reljanovic Glimang, Teacher Educator, Ph.D. Candidate , Faculty of Education , Malmo University
  • Kate Lyons, Professor, Head of Reference & Library Technology, Library, Hostos Community College
  • Karin Lundberg, Professor, Chairperson, Language & Cognition, Hostos Community College
  • Online Learning Experience

This presentation discusses a virtual exchange project between Hostos Community College and Malmö University (Sweden). Students in a course in the Language & Cognition department at Hostos work with pre-service teachers at Malmö University to develop intercultural awareness and critical multiliteracies by collaboratively studying the city and its many discourse representations (Kramsch, 2020). The project offers first-hand experiences of cross-cultural collaboration and opportunities for innovative learning related to language development, multimodal practices, and critical (digital) literacies.
The project spans 6 weeks and involves cross-cultural group collaboration through a task-sequence in four stages (O’Dowd & Lewis, 2016). In the first stage, participants connect in cross-cultural groups and get to know each other through a few initial activities. Secondly, participants choose a topic and compare relevant news media and other sources from/about each city. The third task is about, first, ‘going to town’ and exploring the topic, and then, collaborating in creating a multimodal learning site about the chosen topic. All the different learning sites are then displayed and discussed through an online exhibition. Finally, there is a project reflection task in the closing of the virtual exchange.

In this presentation we will discuss how the faculty members from the two universities connected with each other, connected two different courses and then co-taught the project (Kurek & Müller-Hartmann, 2019).
Kramsch, C. (2020. Language as Symbolic Power. New York: Cambridge University Press. Kurek, M., & Müller-Hartmann, A. (2019). The formative role of teaching presence in blended Virtual Exchange. Language Learning & Technology, 23(3), 52–73. O’Dowd, R., & Lewis, T. (Eds) (2016), Online intercultural exchange: policy, pedagogy, practice. New York: Routledge.

Expanding Student Access to Library Materials via E-reserves

  • John DeLooper, Assistant Professor, Library, Lehman College
  • Michelle Ehrenpreis, Librarian, Lehman College
  • Online Learning Experience

Following the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Leonard Lief Library sought to expand student access to textbooks and required course materials, even as the library building was closed.
One way that this was accomplished was with a new strategy for the library’s e-reserves. This included more solicitation of materials from faculty, integrating e-reserves through Blackboard LTI, and promoting e-reserves on research guides and social media. Together, these efforts significantly increased access to ebook chapters and materials. This presentation will also discuss the process of creating e-reserves and lessons learned from the expanded program.

Online Learning for All: Tips for Success for Online Students

  • Olena Zhadko, Director, Office of Online Education, Lehman College
  • Joan Draper, Online Enrollment Specialist, Office of Online Education, Lehman College
  • Abirami Rajeev, Educational Technologist, Office of Online Education, Lehman College
  • Online Learning Experience

This session will provide an overview of tips for success for online students, whether taking an online course or enrolling in a fully online program. Due to the recent pivot to remote learning, all learners had to quickly transition into online learning environments, but were often unprepared for the move. Furthermore, the City University of New York has set a strategic goal to expand online education and intends to increase the number of online offerings across the system. Thus, to ensure student success, colleges will need to create ample opportunities to prepare students for online learning. Building on the excellent model, originally developed by Hostos Community College, “Are You Ready?” (for Online Learning) one-hour self-paced orientation, this session will offer a concise presentation for faculty, IT, and other academic administrators who support online students to adopt for their needs at their college. This session will prepare those who support online learners to better understand online student needs and guide students about how to better prepare for online learning. This session will address the following topics: things to know before you register, time-management, learning environment, technology competency beyond Blackboard, and will provide practical tips for online learners.

CUNY Open Platforms for Open Pedagogy During and Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Wendy Barrales, Manifold Graduate Fellow, GC Digital Initiatives, CUNY Graduate Center

  • Matthew K. Gold, Director, GC Digital Initiatives, Associate Professor of English/Digital Humanities, CUNY Graduate Center

  • Laurie Hurson, Open Educational Technologist, Teaching & Learning Center, CUNY Graduate Center

  • Robin Miller, Open Educational Technologist, GC Digital Initiatives, CUNY Graduate Center
  • Luke Waltzer, Director, Teaching & Learning Center, CUNY Graduate Center
  • Flipped Learning & Differentiated Instruction

Over the past three years, a team from the CUNY Graduate Center has extended and refined an infrastructure to support open and digital pedagogy at CUNY. The CUNY Academic Commons and Manifold support and facilitate faculty uses of open educational resources (OER) across the 25 campus CUNY system, helping faculty integrate experiential learning and multimedia into teaching while also creating opportunities to foster student digital literacy through use of open tools. All of this work across the system has been supported by the CUNY Office of Library Services.

In Spring 2020, as New York City became the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, the university transitioned to fully online teaching and learning. During and since this transition, the CUNY Academic Commons and Manifold platforms have played key roles in providing faculty with CUNY-built and administered platforms that support remote instruction and foster the use of open educational resources and open pedagogical teaching strategies. Faculty and staff have created and taught with open texts on Manifold, hosted fully online and blended synchronous/asynchronous courses on the Commons, and have used both platforms as vehicles for thinking through how best to teach and support students during these times.

This presentation will introduce the CUNY Academic Commons and Manifold platforms and highlight examples of OER use and open pedagogy. We will share how these platforms have supported fully online teaching and learning throughout the pandemic, and lessons learned that will be carried forward into the future. We’ll also take time to reflect upon how the challenges of the past year have impacted our strategies
for support, and talk more broadly about the implications for open infrastructure in the massive shift towards online instruction.

Tutors as Academic Leaders in a Virtual Environment

  • Leidy Pichardo, Academic Support Manager, College Discovery , Bronx Community College

  • Jessica C. Rivera, SEEK Academic Program Manager, Medgar Evers College
  • Student Engagement & Active Learning

“Tutoring is productive because I am learning more, and I am getting work done; the tutor shares her screen and gives me the feedback I need to better understand the assignment” – anonymous CD student. As the statement above declares, tutoring is essential to student academic success. Amid the Covid19 Pandemic many areas were severely affected, especially the area of academic support. Research shows that students who attend tutoring regularly perform better and earn higher grades in their courses. Many tutoring centers, such as College Discovery and SEEK experienced devastating budget cuts resulting in a reduction of tutoring personnel. Working with less staff and limited resources, the Academic Support Managers at BCC and Medgar Evers College, collaborated in a tutor virtual training to empower tutors in creating and sustaining effective online learning environments during the fall 2020 semester. “How Learning Works: Seven Research Strategies for Effective Teaching” by Susan Ambrose et al. was used as the main resource for the seven-part training series. Forty participants completed the training, including CD/SEEK counselors, tutors, and managers across CUNY. Our efforts were made with the goal of providing quality professional development to CD/SEEK tutors and academic support staff to support, enhance, and promote effective online learning environments. As a response to the fall surveys, tutor virtual trainings are being offered in the spring 2021 semester using “Change Leadership in Higher Education: A practical guide to Academic Transformation”, by Jeffrey L. Buller as the mentor text. Tutors, as learning facilitators are being empowered to be agents of change within their organizational cultures and structures. As they grow as professionals, their development and leadership skills have short-term and long-term impact on the student services they provide.

Presentation Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will learn effective research-based strategies for student learning as taught by the author Susan Ambrose et al., and Jeffrey L. Buller.
  • Participants will learn about the innovative professional development training provided to tutors across CUNY CD/SEEK Programs.
  • Participants will be able to identify ways to empower academic support staff in an engaging online environment to promote student success.

11:40am – 12:10pm

Concurrent Session II

  • Online – Individual sessions

Online and In the Field: The Macaulay Honors College 2020 Remote BioBlitz

  • Kelly O’Donnell, Director of Science Forward, Academic Affairs, Macaulay Honors College.
  • Lisa Brundage, Director, Teaching, Learning & Technology, Academic Affairs, Macaulay Honors College.
  • Janet Fu, Assistant Director of Strategic Events, Academic Affairs, Macaulay Honors College.
  • Student Engagement & Active Learning

The Macaulay Honors College BioBlitz is a signature student experience and an important component of the Science Forward curriculum. For the past seven years, we have taken students to parks many of them had never visited before to use our city as a laboratory. In a normal, in-person BioBlitz, our students are put on teams with local scientists and naturalists to collect ecologically meaningful data from our shared urban space. Students then use the data they collect to complete original research projects over the course of the semester. In this way, students are learning how science works by being engaged in the scientific process itself. In 2020, we were forced to bring the entire BioBlitz fully online while still retaining the fundamental aspects of this experiential learning event: students collecting data to use in class, interacting with scientists and naturalists, and connecting with their peers from all eight of our consortial campuses. In this presentation, we will discuss the changes we made to move this event online, how we kept students engaged, and what we learned from this event that we can bring forward to future BioBlitzes and other experiential learning events

Learning in the Open with Commons In A Box OpenLab

  • Charlie Edwards, OpenLab Co-Director, Commons In A Box OpenLab Co-Project Director, OpenLab, New York City College of Technology
  • Gina Cherry, Director, Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning & Scholarship, Borough of Manhattan Community College.
  • Tom Harbison, Acting Director, E-Learning Center, Borough of Manhattan Community College
  • Jody Rosen, OpenLab Co-Director & Associate Professor of English, New York City College of Technology
  • Ryan Seslow, CBOX OpenLab Open Educational Technology & Pedagogy Fellow, Borough of Manhattan Community College
  • Chris Stein, Chairperson, Media Arts & Technology, Borough of Manhattan Community College
  • Online Learning Experience

Commons In A Box OpenLab is free, open source software that enables anyone to launch a commons for open learning. It was created here at CUNY through a partnership between two successful projects: the Graduate Center’s Commons In A Box (CBOX) community-building software (, and City Tech’s OpenLab (, an open platform for teaching, learning, and collaboration that has served more than 36,000 members to date. The result is a teaching-focused version of CBOX modeled on the OpenLab’s features and functionality that is being adopted at CUNY and beyond. BMCC is one of the first institutions to implement CBOX OpenLab, with a fully-functional site at Unlike closed, proprietary systems, CBOX OpenLab is designed to help students, faculty, and staff work together beyond the classroom and across institutional boundaries, sharing ideas with one another and the world. Built on the widely-used open source software WordPress and BuddyPress, it places a rich set of flexible tools for publishing and collaboration in the hands of everyone at the college, enabling members to shape their own learning environments using proven and sustainable technologies. Our session will showcase CBOX OpenLab, with examples from the City Tech and BMCC OpenLabs that demonstrate how it can be used for asynchronous community-building and learning activities, and how these improve the student experience in what has become a new normal, with asynchronous digital communication pervasive even in courses with set meeting times. We will highlight innovative features funded by the CUNY OER program that promote wide sharing of best practices and open educational resources. We will also address the people, processes, and technology infrastructure needed to power an OpenLab installation, including lessons learned from BMCC’s experiences of working with the platform. Throughout, we will engage participants in active discussion of the benefits and challenges of learning in the open.

Faculty mentoring as a strategy for supporting remote/online teaching and learning

  • Susan Ko, Associate Director, Faculty Development & Instructional Technology, Office of Online Education, Lehman College
  • Olena Zhadko, Director, Office of Online Education, Lehman College
  • Natasha Nurse, Assistant Professor, Nursing, Lehman College
  • Online Learning Experience

In the wake of the pandemic which required all classes to quickly move to remote teaching, Lehman’s small Office of Online Education was hard pressed to quickly provide training and ongoing support to faculty who were new to online teaching and learning. This unprecedented need resulted in the piloting of an online faculty peer mentoring program that would allow each school to be represented by experienced faculty mentors available to assist their colleagues with problems and questions regarding both technology and pedagogy, as well as related issues that might arise in regard to delivering courses entirely online, whether synchronously, asynchronously, or a combination of these. This program proved so successful in enhancing and expanding the resources of our unit and complementing our preparatory and continuing support efforts that it has been strengthened and renewed to run for three additional semesters. While focused on faculty needs, the end goal of this faculty mentoring program is to support faculty in their efforts to design, plan, implement, and facilitate more effective online teaching and learning for the benefit of their students. Staff from the Office of Online Education will briefly explain how the program is structured, and the support and preparation provided to mentors. One of the faculty mentors will be on hand to discuss her experience in this role and reflect on the types of questions and issues encountered in the initial and subsequent semesters of mentoring

The Accounting and Business Logistics behind the Stock Market Game

  • Mayra L Mojica Butler, Lecturer, Business, Hostos Community College
  • Student Engagement & Active Learning

The SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game is a program that provides the students with a unique opportunity to practice and learn how the economy, stock markets and their portfolios working in the real world. The program is designed for students to work in teams while using active learning strategies for a flipped classroom to manage and grow a simulated investment portfolio throughout the semester. The Stock Market Game is a virtual game that allows students to put into practice the concepts learned in the semester. They will research and evaluate stocks or mutual funds and bonds to make economic decisions for virtual investments. The program provide students ideas for making the transition from a regular textbook accounting calculations to business applications in the real world. It is an opportunity as well for students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to the essential life skill of financial literacy of investing and savings. A FINRA- funded study by the American Institute for Research found that students who participates in the SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game program improved academic performance, increase engagement and class participation, with higher test scores than other students. Students will review concepts such as slopes, trends, expectations, formulas, stock charts, and portfolio analysis of their investments in their respective ePortfolio at the end of the semester. FINRA is the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and SIFMA is the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. The Stock Market Game (SMG) is provided by the SIFMA Foundation here in NYC.

Improving Student Engagement During a Pandemic and Beyond: How We Enhanced the Student, Faculty and Staff Experience via the Succeed@Hostos Initiative

  • Jefferson Barnes, Deputy Chief Information Officer, Information Technology, Hostos Community College
  • Sara Rodberg, Academic ASAP Student Advisor, ASAP, Hostos Community College
  • Siddique Mohamed, Academic Resource Center Manager, Student Success Coaching Unit, Hostos Community College
  • Online Learning Experience

This presentation will highlight the benefits we realized because we made the decision to move into Succeed @ Hostos a few months before the pandemic began and how that eased the transition to a fully remote learning environment in many ways. We will also show how we collaborated with various departments and service groups (IT, faculty, advisors et al) on campus to begin the Succeed @ Hostos momentum. We will share how we enhanced functionality and implemented new features of Succeed @ Hostos to create a direct connection between faculty and advisors (via flags) to assist with student support. We will also explain how our decision to start using the referral process is leading to faster and more effective student support and smooths the transition of students as they move between advising units. We will also show the usefulness of appointment types and speed-notes so we can quickly get an idea of how often/how many times a particular engagement is taking place. Finally, we will describe our vision of what the future of our college in Succeed @ Hostos could look like

12:10pm – 12:40pm

Lunch Break (BYOL) & Virtual Networking

  • Online – Virtual Lounge
12:40pm – 1:10pm

Concurrent Session III

  • Online – Individual sessions

Chemistry with Accent: Educational Video Game

  • Julio Garay, Assistant Professor, Chemistry, Bronx Community College
  • Student Engagement & Active Learning

At Bronx Community College (BCC), Introductory chemistry (CHM02) is required for advancement in STEM majors, including Nursing, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and Computer Sciences, Physics, Dietetics and Nutrition, Medical Lab Technology, among others, and is most often recognized as a path for students into the medical profession. In a study conducted by Cohen (2019) from 1,690 students registered for introductory chemistry courses, 32 % received D, F or W and 49% of them ended in non-STEM majors, therefore chemistry becomes in a good predictor of students’ STEM careers persistence. At BCC, the high risk grade results are similar, with 31.5% average high risk grades from Fall 2015 to Spring 2020. The purpose of this proposed project is to develop video games as an academic tool focused on changing students’ perception of STEM subjects by creating a positive emotional connection with these topics and to increase persistence rates in STEM at BCC. Emotional connection is a powerful anchoring mechanism in human learning.

As CHM02 is a gateway course and a good predictor of STEM success, the proposal seeks to study our students’ motivation levels from their exposure to STEM content video games to enhance their understanding of basic and oftentimes difficult concepts in chemistry such as: stoichiometry, nomenclature, conversion factors. The goal is to create a friendlier environment to make students more comfortable and engaged in learning technical and scientific information, favoring the identification of information; allowing random and non-linear access to such information, presenting rules as needed, and most importantly, allowing them to freely explore the subject.

WhatsApp with Audacity and Smartphones: A Pronunciation Enhancement Project

  • Juan Soto-Franco, Adjunct Lecturer, English, Hostos Community College
  • Student Engagement & Active Learning

After teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in the Dominican Republic and English as a Second Language (ESL) in the United States for several years, this researcher put together his observations and steered this mini pronunciation project. For years, he has observed that most Dominican Republic natives’ English learners tend to make the same pronunciation mistakes. Consequently, he ran this cross-community and cross-country project on English pronunciation enhancement that took place amid the pandemic (Fall 2020). Intermediate English language learners living in the Dominican Republic and in the Bronx, New York, were part of this study. While they used their smartphone to record six purposefully constructed sentences and WhatsApp to share their audio files; the researcher utilized Audacity to edit their recordings and provide feedback. Upon asynchronous practice and resubmission, their new recordings showed significant improvement in their pronunciation. Through a survey, students shared their enthusiasm, engagement, and their perspectives about the project. Finally, this researcher recommends further research with a larger sample size and the inclusion of students from the five boroughs of New York and more provinces in the Dominican Republic.

Hybrid Flexible (HyFlex) Course Design: A Model for Active and Engaged Learning

  • Sakina Laksimi, Instructional Designer, Online Education, Lehman College
  • Olena Zhadko, Director, Office of Online Education, Lehman College
  • Online Learning Experience

Teaching through the pandemic has pushed educators to expand their pedagogy in unprecedented ways. This session offers a space for participants to explore the concept of hybrid flexible (HyFlex) course design. While this concept has been around since 2005, HyFlex is re-emerging as an innovative approach to course design under our current context. It provides both new freedoms and unique constraints that can foster more intentional course design, more engaging learning experiences and expanded accessibility. Classes at CUNY and across the country are using Hyflex in a variety of ways. This session will provide a brief overview of Hyflex modalities and will focus on four main objectives: 1) Define terms and language about Hyflex 2) Discuss pedagogical implications for using the HyFlex model 3) Connect how HyFlex can offer greater accessibility 4) Explore how OER and other digitals tools can enhance HyFlex instruction. This session will also address the complexities and challenges of operationalizing HyFlex in various contexts and capacities.

Choose Your Own Grading Schema: An Online Learning Experiment

  • Olivia Wood, Graduate Teaching Fellow, English, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • Universal Design

Last semester, after teaching mostly asynchronously with no penalties or cutoffs for late work, the responses I received in students’ end-of-semester reflections were mixed. About half said they were incredibly grateful for the flexibility my class structure offered. The other half said they wished I’d required attendance at the optional Zoom sessions and held them to their deadlines under pain of grade penalty. They recognized that while ideally they would be self-motivated to participate as much as possible, external pressure would have been helpful.

In this presentation, I will share how I revised my syllabus for Spring 2021 to account for both strands of feedback, and how students have responded. At the beginning of the semester, students chose via Google Form which grading plan they wanted: Structure and Accountability, or Maximum Flexibility. Students on the Structure and Accountability plan are required to attend the weekly Zoom sessions and complete all assignments on the syllabus. Students on the Maximum Flexibility plan are not required to attend Zooms and are only required to complete select assignments marked in bold on the syllabus– unit projects, unit reflections, and a few other smaller tasks– but are still welcome and encouraged to attend class and complete other activities. After each unit, students are given the opportunity to switch grading plans if they wish, after reading an overview of the exact assignment and points breakdown for each plan on the coming unit.

Students have responded very positively to this method, and about one third have chosen the Structure and Accountability plan each unit so far, and additional students on the flexibility plan are also choosing to attend the synchronous classes and participate in ungraded activities.

Collaborations: Creating a Quality Virtual New Student Orientation with no Budget

  • Manny Lopez, Associate Dean, Student Development, Bronx Community College
  • Albert Robinson, Associate Director, Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology, Bronx Community College
  • Linda McKernan, Confidential Executive Coordinator for the Vice President of Student Success, Bronx Community College
  • Student Engagement & Active Learning

Bronx Community College (BCC) professionals are no strangers to the economic and social challenges that comes with being at a community college in one of the most economically deprived areas in the nation. Still, our job specific knowledge and practiced skills in adaptability, collaboration and love to uplift students have resulted in rapid and effective transition to the online environment. Panelists from distinct BCC units (Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology; Student Success; Student Development) will discuss our orchestration of three existing technologies (Blackboard, Hobsons, Starfish) and one new system (CUNY Academic Resource Aid) to create BCC’s first virtual New Student Orientation. The panelists will discuss how the new virtual orientation is designed to be low-cost, pedagogically sound and foster retention efforts. In addition, the panelists will illuminate the value of strategic interdepartmental collaborations as a key component for resilience and success during and beyond the “new normal.”

1:15pm – 1:45pm

Concurrent Session IV

  • Online – Individual sessions

Adapting to the New Normal, as if we had a Choice

  • Stephen Powers, Professor, Education and Academic Literacy, Bronx Community College
  • Aisen Mercado, Student, Bronx Community College
  • Katherine Lallu, Student, Bronx Community College/City College
  • Jose Martinez, Student, Hunter College
  • Angel Calderon, Student, Bronx Community College
  • Online Learning Experience

Students at BCC, whether first time freshmen, continuing students, transfers or returning students have had to navigate a series of financial policies, CUNY Covid Grading Policies, remote learning whether synchronous or asynchronous, Blackboard, Collaborate, Digication, Zoom,, and a host of online support services. CUNYfirst Document Repositories, Virtual Help Desks and rapidly created and deployed appeals systems have on one hand made life more manageable and at the same time led to more isolation.

– How are students adapting to the new normal, in their lives and education?
CUNY and BCC have attempted to continue “business-as-usual” in so many ways, but these recent semesters have been anything but “the usual.” We have transitioned from what we knew, and were comfortable with, as faculty, students, and staff to behaviors and systems we may not like and are not comfortable with. The “new normal” has a lot of the “old normal” in it, and that is not all good. The “new normal” also has a wealth of new possibilities, that once we get past the forced transition give new opportunities to students to attend and be successful that may not have been there before.

– How well has CUNY adapted to the new normal, as far as students are concerned?
Come and meet the students who are on the other side of those Zoom sessions, who often sit with monitor and mic off; who are listening, following, polling, and multi-tasking. Some drive an Uber while class is going on, others are doing a paper for another instructor, some looking at the assigned readings and videos for the course. Lying down, walking along Fordham Road, listening while at work, students multi-task. They also watch nieces and nephews, share their laptop with young siblings who are in DOE remote classrooms, or parents who are working from home. All of them slow down the wifi. How can faculty, how can CUNY, enable their success in this unfamiliar and unknown environment?

We welcome you to the new normal, whether you like it or not.

Collaborative Online International Learning: An innovative pedagogy to connect and build global community

  • Amy Ramson, Professor, Behavioral & Social Sciences, Hostos Community College
  • Olga Aksakalova, Associate Professor, English, Laguardia Community College
  • Grace Pai, Assistant Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies, Guttman Community College
  • Student Engagement & Active Learning

The pandemic has laid bare the awareness that building tomorrow together requires engaging our students in global dialogue to solve worldwide problems. The new normal must involve teaching our students to become global citizens. An evidence-based way this can be accomplished is through Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL), which internationalizes curriculum by linking classes of two or more higher education institutions located in different countries or cultural settings. Three CUNY campus representatives of a CUNY COIL “working group”, which includes 10 campus members, will discuss COIL and its benefits for faculty and students, especially within CUNY where most students face constraints to academic mobility. The presentation will show how COIL successfully pushes the boundaries of online learning by facilitating collaboration across borders to build the empathy and understanding that is needed to solve global problems and crises, a dire need demonstrated by the global COVID 19 pandemic.

The presenters will demonstrate different forms of COIL engagement on several CUNY campuses. They will also illustrate how a range of virtual practices from COIL exchanges, such as ice-breaking and collaborative multimodal composing, can be effectively adapted for non-COIL remote learning contexts to increase student engagement. The presenters will also reflect on challenges and opportunities before concluding with a vision to develop COIL across the university in a way that would institutionally embed it into the new CUNY norm.?

Supporting and Engaging Community College STEM Students in a Virtual World

  • Yoel Rodríguez, Professor, Natural Sciences, Hostos Community College
  • Anna Ivanova, Assistant Professor, Natural Sciences, Hostos Community College
  • Student Engagement & Active Learning

In-class assessment reveals that a sizable population of students arriving at Hostos Community College to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) majors lack academic preparation to face the rigor of sciences courses. Specifically, students’ performance demonstrates lack of foundational scientific concepts and the physics and chemistry related mathematical knowledge needed to do well in STEM courses. In addition, most students enrolled in these classes have not been previously exposed to chemistry or physics concepts. We encounter these problems in both traditional in-person and online classes. The virtual environment opens new challenges making it harder for student to get the support they need. Thus, new teaching and learning strategies must be implemented to address these challenges in an online environment. To this end, we have introduced a game-based learning approach including Kahoot- and/or Jeopardy-style games in our online classes that not only keep students engaged in the course, but also help them better comprehend conceptual chemistry and physics. Furthermore, in our General Chemistry I and General Physics I courses, we use an online learning platform ALEKS (Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces; from Mc Graw-Hill) to facilitate the students learning and engagement. We also combine the use of virtual labs (simulations) with videos of actual experiments to help our students better understand chemistry and physics concepts being applied in practice. Altogether, these teaching strategies are positively impacting student learning observed through various pre- and post-assessments. The teaching and learning strategies presented here may be of interest of the educators’ community and be adapted for other disciplines and institutions.

Enhancing Access: Academic Support Online

  • Ainsley Parkinson, Coordinator, Science Learning Center; Adjunct Assistant. Proffesor, Biology, Instructional Support Services Program, Lehman College
  • Marisol Jimenez, Director, Instructional Support Services Program, Lehman College
  • Student Engagement & Active Learning

Through tutoring, academic coaching on study skills, peer-led group review sessions and academic support workshops, the Lehman College Tutoring Center and the Science Learning Center, engage students in active learning and the development of skills that can transfer across courses. This interactive session will explore innovative online academic support approaches, including how to engage students and tutors online using student response systems, web apps, and active learning strategies. These strategies can be used in tutoring, workshops, and online classrooms.

Challenges and Advantages of Structured Training for the Transition to Distance Learning from the Mentors’ Lens

  • Jacqueline DiSanto, Professor, Education, Hostos Community College
  • Carlos Guevara, Director, EdTech & CTL, Hostos Community College
  • Sandy Figueroa, Associate Professor, Business, Hostos Community College
  • Asrat Amnie, Assistant Professor, Education, Hostos Community College
  • Online Learning Experience

The pandemic changed all aspects of society and how we work. A year has passed after the global emergency began; when educational institutions had to take hasty measures to create some kind of academic continuity. At Hostos, we were fortunate to have a very strong Educational Technology (EdTech) department, which has supported the creation of frameworks and best practices for online learning for over a decade. With established protocols, guidelines and rubrics to certify online courses; the EdTech team quickly created an expanded version of the Online Learning Initiatives (OLIs). These initiatives centered on a mentoring approach to prepare all faculty in record time for the transition to distance instruction. This presentation will focus on the reflections, analysis and perspectives of the faculty mentors who participated in four OLI’s in the short span of four months. They will share the challenges they witnessed in this transition and how the OLIs helped address some of these challenges. They will also share the advantages of having these structures in place and how mentoring and community building played a critical role.

1:55pm – 2:45pm

Keynote Address: An Open Opportunity: Free Software, Data Privacy, and the People’s University

  • Matthew K. Gold
  • Online – Main Stage

Every day brings new reminders of the dangers of proprietary software. Grounded in profit imperatives, engineered for surveillance, built to accumulate personal data in service to capital, proprietary software has become part and parcel of the modern university experience. Colleges and universities across the country, including CUNY, rely on such technology to scale platforms to large groups of users, exposing them to the workings of surveillance capital in the process.

But there are alternatives and pockets of resistance. Recent faculty governance initiatives at CUNY, for instance, have emphasized the importance of ethical data practices for technology-related decisions. Separately, the free and open-source software movement (FOSS), which involves the open sharing of code, is community-driven and open at its core. At CUNY, a significant number of open source projects have created a thriving ecosystem of community-oriented knowledge and community-supported infrastructure. Built by CUNY for CUNY, software platforms such as the CUNY Academic Commons, Manifold, Blogs@Baruch, the City Tech OpenLab, the BMCC OpenLab, ePortfolios at Macaulay, Vocat, and the Hostos Social Network offer a positive and ethical vision for technology that matches the highest aspirations of the City University itself.

This talk will describe how the growing policy movement to constrain the reach of corporate platforms, combined with the vibrant growth of open platforms at CUNY, has created a moment of opportunity for the university as a whole.

2:45pm – 3:00pm

Closing Remarks

  • Online – Main Stage