Session 1: Introductions to Feb 2022 CCNY Cohort

Please post your introductions as replies to this post. Speak to any of the three prompts below:

  • A bit about yourself, your project, and your role on this project
  • Your vision for the project
  • Challenges that you anticipate and possible solutions

Hi everyone! Happy to be working together on this project.

For my specific book project, I’m hoping to create an online open-educational resource that can be used in first-year writing courses: my classes, those at City College, as well as in classes across the nation.

My project is tentatively titled Not Your Mom’s Handbook on Your Language and Writing. My research revolves around the problems with assuming some varieties of language are standard and superior, leaving all others as substandard and inferior. I want to create an OER textbook that is aligned to my philosophy and approach to teaching against linguistic oppression.

The book, I hope, will be
-available in digital, print, and audio format
-mobile friendly
-available in multiple (code-meshed) languages
-a living document (with a “offer feedback” option open to readers)
-filled with links and resources

Since, eventually, I’d like the text to be available in audio as well as translated across several languages, I imagine this sort of work will involve collaborating with several contributing authors.

Can’t wait to get started! And I look forward to seeing how all of your projects unfold!

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I am an associate professor in the Biology Department and Director of the Honors Center at CCNY. As a biologist my goal is to start writing a textbook with the tentative title “Physiology of Organisms” that will be used by students in the core biology curriculum.

My plan is to create a course that uses a mix of OERs and chapters written by biology faculty. This textbook would hopefully transform to include most of its content written by faculty of the biology department. The idea of having students to contribute to its content is also very intriguing and worthy of consideration.

I do not foresee major issues to carry on the project, since the Rebus program provides support and resources. Time is always precious, but it is an art to manage work schedules to fit in this project.

A future challenge that I can foresee is the conscious objection from other faculty to adopt this approach. This is expected and can only be addressed by discussion and rational persuasion. The practical solution may be to alternate the new approach and collect data that can be used to compare learning outcomes that help decide others if the approach should be implemented. It is also important to note that oddly the collaborative culture in academia is just taking off. We are in times of transition.

It is exciting to venture in new academic activities like the Rebus program. I am optimistic about its potential to transform education.

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Hi everyone! I’m Apurva Ashok - Director of Open Education at Rebus, and someone who will be in and out of our sessions to offer support where I can. I’m facilitating a few TSP cohorts currently, and will be looking for ways to connect you all to others in the same field, with similar ideas, or who have faced problems that you might encounter.

I have a background in Publishing, Literature, and Marketing, and in the recent years have learned a lot about open pedagogy, open publishing tools, equitable publishing practices and more. Excited to continue this year-long journey with you all! :slight_smile:

Hi everyone! Very excited to join this all CCNY cohort.

I am the digital scholarship librarian at the City College of New York. In addition to coordinating the OER effort on our campus, I am also in charge of Academic Works, CUNY’s Institutional Repository, and digital collections and projects. Thanks to funding from CUNY, I have completed the creative commons certification as well as SPARC open education leadership program. At present, I am among the first cohort of the New York State Copyright First Responders.

The CCNY OER team is eager to work with our faculty to complete the proposed projects successfully. Please contact me/us if you have any questions/problems.

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Hi All! I’m Scott Koski, the Digital Scholarship Manager at CCNY. I’m the person you’ll be working with on the back end of things, taking care of paperwork & getting everyone their stipends.

While that is my primary function here, I’ll be switching from my administrator hat to my educator hat if/when the situation seems appropriate. Beyond managing the Digital Scholarship Services (DSS) office at CCNY, I’m also an assistant adjunct professor of English at St. John’s University. I’ve taught some First-Year Writing, but primarily I’ve been teaching their core Literature in a Global Context course since 2018. I’ve tried my best to make my classes OER–or at least ZTC/LTC–even before I really knew what any of that meant. My worry was always cost and accessibility, but that became so much more visible & important when the lockdown hit.

Since joining the DSS team here at CCNY, my eyes have been opened to how much I did not know about OER, how many more resources there are out there, and how I can better design & approach courses I will teach in the future. I’m look forward to hearing more about everyone’s projects, talking best practices & pedagogy, and learning with all of you how one goes about creating their own OER.

Please feel free to reach out to me at skoski@ccny, anytime you have questions. :slight_smile:

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@mwatson2 it was so great to meet you, and as an English professor, I am personally very excited to see how your project unfolds. Do you have some ideas about collaborators? Please reach out any time you have questions.

@skoski, it’s so wonderful to meet you, and I love the model CCNY has for supporting digital scholarship. It sounds like you already understand the importance of OER/low cost options for students. I look forward to learning more from you throughout our program.

@cchen, it is so wonderful to meet you, and thank you so much for everything you shared in our first session together!

@Adrian your project sounds so exciting and has the potential to positively impact not only your own courses but also similar courses at other colleges. Your previous experience in OER will help you to develop your text. Regarding the potential objections from faculty, is there any chance they could participate as peer reviewers or contributors once your project takes shape?

Hi everyone!

I’m Julia Brown. I am one of the OER Fellows at CCNY working with faculty during this cohort. I’m excited to work with @mwatson2 @Adrian and @randy @mhazutuchiyama and Maria Politarhos on their projects!

I also work with the Teaching and Learning Center at CCNY, adjunct in the English Department, and am a PhD student in English Lit at Stony Brook University. So, apart from assisting our awesome OER faculty through this process, I’ll also be thinking about ways that I can use what I learn here in the future in other avenues.


Hello Everyone,

Thank you, Liza, for the introductory session yesterday, which you so masterfully conducted.

It was a pleasure also to meet colleagues I had never met before on our very own campus, and to hear of all your projects. I really think the learning curve will be great.

My project is a modest one, pulling together many years of my writings, notes and materials to form a kind of rich template for teaching the subject of food and farming from the historian’s perspective at the university level and potentially for continuing education learners.

I look forward to figuring out the kinds of craft/design, accessibility logistics, presentation schema, and legal ropes unto publication.

Thanks again for the opportunity, and best to one and all with your creative publishing endeavors!

Barbara Syrrakos
Department of History
February 18, 2022

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Hi Everyone,
Glad to meet you all on zoom last Thursday.
Very excited to work with Randy Matusow and Monika Uchiyama and develop something more than a conventional textbook for our photography students at CCNY and all the photo enthusiasts we can reach all over the world.
The proposed book could be used, if adopted, by approximately 200 new CCNY students every semester and hopefully many more as an OER book.

I have been teaching intro and advanced photography classes at the CCNY Art department since 2001. I also work full time as a College Lab Tech managing the photography area.

As a team, we have not yet defined each person’s role. Working together will bring to the group our individual assets, strengths, and talents. We hope to benefit from each other’s knowledge and expertise a create an awesome book!
Best regards,
Maria Politarhos

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Hi everyone, this is Antoni Piza. I have taught music at CCNY and the CUNY GC (as well as other places) for almost 30 years. Most of this time was dedicated to learn and hone skills on how to teach face-to-face, but COVID and the unstopable advance of the digital humanities is forcing us to come up with a new bag of tricks. I am very happy that CCNY is providing this learning opportunty. One of the outcomes will be a OER textbook/platform dedicated to introduce undergraduates (mostly non-music majors) to different musical traditions around the world. I hope the process of learning with REBUS is as exciting as the music itself.


@mpolitarhos I am really looking forward to seeing your project take shape! I love how you are already thinking about the audiences for your book. You are lucky to have such a great team!

@barbsyrrakos9 thank YOU for all the great questions you asked, and please keep them coming! One of the reasons I wanted to take on this facilitator role was that this experience was so meaningful to me, and I wanted to continue to share and learn more from all of you. I think your project has the potential to reach a wide range of audiences. I think I mentioned that I teach a first-year experience course on Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. My students love learning about food. We may not agree on much in this world, but we all need to eat!

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Hello! I’m Monika, adjunct at CCNY in the photo dept since 2018. It was great to meet everyone last Thursday and hear about all the upcoming projects.
I am part of the group developing a photography text book with @mpolitarhos and @randy. Very much looking forward to working with @jbrown1 on this as well.
I hope that as a group we are able to put together an engaging and visually exciting resource that treats our diverse student body at CCNY as its primary audience. Our project is ambitious and wide in scope, so I hope to receive some guidance on how to streamline our material to make an accessible and effective resource that is adaptable to changing technologies within photography. My hope is that our OER will have the kind of longevity that makes it a go-to text for our students for many years to come.

Hello there! My name is Shamecca Harris and I am an OER Fellow working in a support role with Barbara, Rebecca, and Antoni. Overall, I hope to be able to provide faculty with both technical and practical support as they develop their projects over the course of the program. I am eager to help these projects come to fruition and learn from my colleagues in the process, both of which I believe will fundamentally inform my approach to OER in my own pedagogy. In addition to my work with the OER Initiative, I am also an Adjunct in the English Department at CCNY.

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Hi Everyone,
Sorry I’m late to the introductions, please don’t take it as a lack of enthusiasm, just a bit technologically challenged, which sounds ironic coming from a photographer. I am very excited to work with Maria Politarhos and Monika Uchiyama on developing a textbook that inspires creativity and visual literacy. Photography is expensive enough, a textbook should not be part of the equation.

I have been an adjunct teacher at CCNY for over 30 years, which is hard to believe because I’m still 29. :slight_smile: My freelance photo business helps to support my passion for teaching, the students and my peers at City College are at the core of my commitment and why I am excited to be a part of the OER program.

The greatest obstacle for me will be time management, but I am confident my team will keep me on track and on my toes.

I enjoyed reading these intro’s, I’m looking forward to learning more about everyones projects and progress!

Randy Matusow

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Oki, Guten Tag, Good day everybody,

It’s wonderful to see how your written pieces here complement your introductions from our first session last week! They continue to carry your positive energy, enthusiasm and dedication.

I am chiming into our initial forum sharing to briefly let you know about my role in your cohort. While fairly new to Rebus (joined as January this year) and 10 years into teaching and facilitating educational development in Canadian Higher Education, I will do my best to support Liza in her facilitation and all of you in the process of creating your intended OER.

Feel free to reach out any time and when you need (my) Rebus assistance!

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