2018–19, I worked as an Instructional Technology Fellow (ITF) at Macaulay Honors College, CUNY. As an ITF, I worked with linking technology and learning in four seminars taught across the Macaulay system’s eight campuses. I was stationed at Queens College, where I worked with students on technological skill-building and hands-on assistance with their sometimes technologically challenging assignments.
The four seminars
As part of the Macaulay Honors College, each student has the opportunity to participate in four interdisciplinary seminars during each semester for their first two years of attending college. All of the seminars use New York City as a teaching tool, and focuses respectively on the arts, people, and institutions of the city. The purpose of the seminars is to provide the students with a deep understanding of the natural, social, economic and cultural forces that move our world, seen in a local perspective.
Seminar 1: Arts in New York City. Students who attend the seminar are exposed to a number of artistic experiences in the city, and asked to reflect on ways that we experience the arts. The intersection of scholarship, creativity, and production is at the center of the seminar, which culminates in a collaborative student-curated, public exhibit of a multi-media project that they work on throughout the semester.
Seminar 2: People of New York City. The seminar facilitates conversations about the impact of migration as well as concomitant immigrant experiences and communities have impacted and shaped New York City’s identity, both in the past, present, and the future. Over the course of the semester, students collaborate on websites focusing on particular neighborhoods and their peoples’ histories.
Seminar 3: Science and Technology in New York City. Building on ideas of Science Forward, the seminar’s focus is to help students develop skills in the “science senses.” Students learn how to think critically about the “bench sciences,” making them able to question and evaluate information presented as scientific results. After attending the seminar, students are informed consumers, evaluators, and practitioners of science.
Seminar 4: Shaping the Future of New York City. The focus of the seminar is on the social, economic, and political forces that shape the physical form and social dynamics of the city. Students spend the semester collaborating on a team research project and then present their work at a cross-campus conference (see below).
As an ITF, I also assisted in organizing a number of common events each year:
The STEAM Festival, which celebrates critical inquiry in the arts and sciences. The students from the Arts in New York City and the Science and Technology in New York City seminars (see above) present their work during an all-weekend event at Macaulay’s central building on the Upper West Side.
The Night at the Museum, where students from the Arts in New York City seminars get the exclusive opportunity to stay after-hours at the Brooklyn Museum, to experience, investigate, and immerse themselves in the museum’s exciting collections.
BioBlitz, a citizen-science initiative for Macaulay students in the Science and Technology in New York City seminar. The students work with renowned scientists in one of the city’s parks in shifts over a 24-hour period, where they are asked to observe and track organisms using GPS and cell phone technologies.
Futures of NYC Conference, which is an opportunity for students in the Shaping the Future of New York City seminar to present a collaborative research project that they have worked on over the course of the semester.