CUNY Academic Commons: Off and Running

The Academic Commons is still in its gestation phase — we haven’t announced it publicly, and we’ve only invited the 40-odd members of the CUNY Committee on Academic Technology to join (in fact, we’ve asked several interested parties to wait before participating) — but we’re already seeing the power of the website to make connections and share information. Here’s an update on the latest happenings on the Commons:

Design Updates

Regular users of the Commons will have noticed a major facelift on our wiki. In an effort to unify the design of various elements of the site, we have reworked the design of the wiki so that it matches the rest of the site. We still have a few things to add — look for the top gray nav bar that you seen on the home page of the site to appear on the top of the wiki early next week — but things are starting to come together. One note: the “edit” and history buttons that you used to find at the top of each wiki page can now be found in the righthand sidebar of the wiki page.

Our efforts to redesign the website have been helped by the addition of several web designers and developers to our staff. Many thanks to Zach Davis and the entire team at Cast Iron Coding and to GC Philosophy student and Queens College Instructional Technologist Boone Gorges for their help.

On the Blogs

News about the Commons seems to be happening by word-of-mouth; we’re happy to welcome several new bloggers to the site. Already, their contributions are strengthening the blogging community on the Commons:

Marcos Wasem
Marcos Wasem is a doctoral student in the Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Program at the CUNY Graduate Center. He also works at the GC’s New Media Lab. Hopefully, he’ll start blogging about his fascinating poetry projects soon. Here’s his first post: How to conect to your U drive at the Gradtuate Center using VPN in Linux Ubuntu

Anthropology grad student Michael Oman-Reagan has gotten this blog off to a running start. The blog will deal with the planning of the forthcoming Mac lab at the Grad Center, but it looks like we’ll also see tips on a variety of mac-related topics such as customizing guest user accounts in OS X and Citrix clients for mac OS. Here at the Commons, we heartily approve of Michael’s orientation towards open-source solutions to common problems, and we look forward to keeping up with his blog. For those of you interested in mac-related developments at the GC, please check out the GC Mac Media Lab group that Michael has formed.

IT Therefore I Am
Tech Fellow Kimon Keramidas has started up what looks to be a fascinating blog that will cover issues of technology and pedagogy in relation to online teaching. For a provocative exploration of the challenges involved in evaluating online work, check out The conundrum of grading in an IT age. Also check out Kimon’s handy list of ITP Resources. We expect great things from this blog!

Purely Reactive
George Otte, our fearless leader, has been blogging up a storm. In his latest posts, Sizing Up Models and Need as Opportunity, George has begun to trace out some of the important needs that the Academic Commons might fulfill. And, as usual, George is showing, not telling. This is why he is our fearless leader.

The Bleeding Edge
Blogger extraordinaire Bruce Naples continues to show us how it’s done with posts on iPhones/iPods and Brainify. Notice that on the latter post, the creator of the tool described in Bruce’s post popped in to comment. Very cool.

On the Wiki

Thanks to Karen Greenberg and Tech Fellows Bertie Ferdman, Kimon Keramidas, and Tziporah Stern, along with Phil Pecorino, we’ve seen a veritable explosion of content on the wiki.

We’ve added several new links to the Wiki homepage. Please click through to check them out, and please don’t be shy about editing pages yourself. We want to have as much collaborative editing going on as possible. Edit away!!!

Many thanks to Karen for her hard work — she has devoted a great deal of time and energy to the wiki. Let’s repay her by using and sharing those resources!!

In the Groups

We have many new and active groups going strong. You can check out a full listing here. Among our new and active groups are The GC Mac Media Lab, Games, Teaching, and Learning, and ePortfolios.

If you have an interest that you’d like to share with others, create a group!

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