The use of appropriate and accessible tools has long been a guiding principle in both my creative and learning process. In 2003 when open, online teaching tools were limited, and I had just spent my first year of teaching struggling with resources, like Blackboard, I endeavored to create an educational interface that fit my pedagogical needs and the needs of my students.
As a designer with years of web development experience, the task of developing a usable interface was not impossible, but it was overwhelming. After a summer of dedicated research and development, and several semesters of trial and error, [ profspevack.com ] became the primary tool for the delivery of my course content.
Many students have acknowledged how helpful it is to have all of their course materials, including weekly assignments, lectures, projects, grading, and peer contacts open and available to them. Additionally, I often receive emails from former students who admit to using the site as a reference for their creative and paid work, even years after graduating.
This website has also evolved into an online teaching portfolio, where I present teaching, institutional service and professional achievements and reflections on my experience as an artist-designer-educator.
After becoming Co-Director of City Tech’s Openlab, I have observed the benefit of hooking into a larger platform that is also embraces the values of open, online collaboration and sharing. The OpenLab is an “open-source digital platform where students, faculty, and staff can meet to learn, work, and share their ideas. Its goals are to support teaching and learning, enable connection and collaboration, and strengthen the intellectual and social life of the college community.”
One of the first design improvements I initiated as Co-Director of the OpenLab project was allowing members to link external websites to the OpenLab community. Due to this addition, my teaching resource [profspevck.com] is available to thousands of OpenLab members and the greater College community via the OpenLab courses I administer on the site.
It is amazing to consider how online tools have changed over the years and how the idea of openly sharing one’s pedagogical methods and experiences is now being embraced. Ten years ago I was one of only a handful of faculty at City Tech with an open, online resource. Today we have hundreds of open, public courses on the OpenLab. It’s encouraging to see the change.