ACERT Connections | March 7, 2017

Introduction to OpenLab

What is the OpenLab?
City Tech’s OpenLab ( is an open-source digital platform where students, faculty, and staff meet to learn, work, and share their ideas. Built by and for City Tech using open source software (WordPress and BuddyPress), the OpenLab is designed to provide opportunities for students, faculty, and staff at our commuter campus to connect and collaborate across the college. Unlike closed online teaching systems, the OpenLab allows classes across the curriculum to communicate with one another and the world beyond City Tech. Like a lab, it provides a space where faculty and students can work together, experiment, and innovate.

The OpenLab supports teaching and learning, enables connection and collaboration, and strengthens the intellectual and social life of the college community. The project is driven by a community-focused ethos, flexible infrastructure, and commitment to openness, and is proud to partner with many initiatives across campus (e.g., First Year Learning Communities, General Education, Open Education Resources) to better serve our college community. Since its launch in Fall 2011, the OpenLab has helped to foster openness and experimentation, supporting a growing community, now 20,000+ members strong.

We’re delighted to share what we’ve learned over this amazing journey with you, and look forward to our upcoming conversations with your community about open digital pedagogy!


Want to see what’s possible on the OpenLab?
Check out our three in-house sites to browse examples of OpenLab sites, members, and best practices:

  • Open Road, where the team posts about all things OpenLab, including new features and functionality, our OpenLab workshops and office hours, and showcases wonderful users and uses happening across the platform through our In the Spotlight archives
  • The Buzz, the project of our student blogging team, that highlights the amazing work of our student bloggers and photobloggers


Want to learn more about the OpenLab? Check out these resources:
Edwards, Charlie, Jody Rosen, Maura A. Smale, and Jenna Spevack. “Building a Place for Community: City Tech’s OpenLab” The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy, 5 (2014).

Rosen, Jody R. and Maura A. Smale. “Open Digital Pedagogy = Critical Pedagogy,” (2015).

“Seen in NY: OpenLab,” Vialogues.

Ahmad, Shomial. “Teach, Learn, and Revise on OpenLab,” Clarion (Sept. 2014).


Don’t forget to RSVP for the upcoming Lunchtime Seminar, “City Tech’s Open Lab + Living Lab Learning Library: Open-source teaching, learning, and collaborating,” to be held on March 9th. We’ll hear from several members of the OpenLab team, who will discuss the project’s development and future direction.


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