Author Archives: Lucia Dikaczova

Digital Archives, Mapping, and Community Building with CUNY

ITP student Gisely Colon Lopez (PhD in Urban Education) developed the following independent study project

Faculty advisor: Michael Mandiberg

For my ITP project, I was interested in developing a practical project that I could use with the courses I teach to integrate digital archives, digital mapping, and community building. Since I teach at CUNY, I decided to explore way to activate the CUNY Digital History Archive so students learn CUNY history and also be able to map historical aspects of the university with the hopes that it would transform their experience as a student. The intention is to engage students with the physical locations of their CUNY campuses through spatial technologies as a method of transcending decades of history and connecting to their own realities as current students of the universities. We begin by exploring how to use digital mapping tools, often mapping our favorite food vendor locations related to Puerto Rican and Latino communities. Once students are comfortable with placing markers onto our digital course map, we engage with the CUNY Digital History Archive and map items that stood out to us. Towards the end of the semester, students engage in an ethnographic exploration of a neighborhood of their choice to demonstrate knowledge from the course. After exploring different digital mapping tools, we use Open Street Map and uMap as our digital mapping platforms.

Tags: mapping, ethnic studies, project based pedagogy 

20 Years of History: New York Collective of Radical Educators

ITP student Jenna Queenan (Urban Education PhD) developed the following independent study project.

Faculty advisor: Luke Waltzer

I have been organizing with the New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE) for over ten years and am doing my dissertation on the collective’s history. I do this work because I believe that in order to understand who NYCoRE is, you need to know about the collective’s history, what NYCoRE has done/does, and the ways it has grown. That information has never been displayed in a public way online. In order to address this problem, I created a timeline for NYCoRE’s website using Knightlab Timeline JS. In developing my proof of concept, I had to ensure that Timeline JS was compatible with wordpress, the website platform NYCoRE uses – luckily it is, although formatting has proven to be a challenge given my limited knowledge of website development.

The project involved many steps: collecting information about NYCoRE’s history through oral history interviews with former members and internal documents/social media, developing criteria with the rest of NYCoRE leadership to select the events for the timeline, writing summaries of the events selected, identifying media (images, interview clips, videos) to pair with each event, and putting all of the information into the excel sheet Knightlab provides. The work also involved a series of member checks: developing the criteria (as I described above), reviewing the events I selected and summaries with NYCoRE leadership, and obtaining permission to use specific interview clips. I appreciate that this project helped me think about the affordances and limitations of timelines as one way to display history.

Tags: teacher activism, timeline, public histories

The Open Psych Project

ITP student Ella Merriwether (Psychology PhD – Psychology & Law) developed the following independent study project.

Faculty advisor: Colette Daiute

Currently, many psychology instructors rely on teacher-centered, hierarchical approaches to teaching, often resorting to lecturing at students for the entire class period, rather than research-backed student-centered teaching that prioritizes engagement. While many instructors are interested in updating their approach, they cite the time and resource commitment needed to revamp an existing course as too daunting. However, I would argue that adopting a student-centered pedagogy is less work in the long run, and we can reduce this workload more by adopting digital open pedagogical practices and pooling our resources.

Therefore, my plan is to create a website that will serve as a repository for instructor-submitted student-centered lesson plans and activities. Instructors will be able to do three things with this site: (1) obtain ready to go, or very easily adaptable lesson plans/activities that engage their students in ways they haven’t done before, whether that be in this specific topic area, in this way, or at all; (2) share their own lesson plans/activities with their peers; and (3) give feedback for their peer’s lesson plans and reflect on their own work to improve their instruction in the future. Thus far, my team and I have completed a pilot test of lesson plans for half of PSY101: Introduction to Psychology and we plan to expand to the full course with departmental support soon. Ultimately, the goal is to help psychology instructors save time on lesson planning, boost engagement and student-centered learning goals, and inspire their own pedagogical creativity.

Tags: student-centered pedagogy; teaching resources; open access