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OCAD U Library 2020 Summer

Envisioning a Virtual Learning Zone - a student perspective

The COVID-19 crisis is having a direct impact on the education community, how we learn, teach and how we move about in our daily life, and the overall general connectivity of people. OCAD U has risen above this new challenge to deliver remote learning and keeping the community informed and connected during this ever-changing crisis.

The Learning Zone has been mapping out creative ways to innovate a virtual space for the OCAD U community to join together. In keeping with the essence of our purpose, to provide a place where you can collaborate with other students and faculty, or seek advice from the LZ staff. Can hosting special interest podcasts or interactive workshops like zine making bridge our physical distance? We reached out to one of our very talented LZ student monitors, 3rd year Industrial Design student, Sydney Cooling-Sturges and asked her from a student perspective, how does she see us in an online environment; can she envision a virtual Learning Zone?

“Definitely hosting interactive workshops, perhaps over Zoom and posting the link to the LZ/Library’s Facebook and Instagram pages a few days in advance. If not on Zoom, you could always do a video series for Instagram and Facebook stories instead, like how MoMA has released these free online classes for the history of art, fashion, design etc.

It would be important to probably do workshops with limited supplies, things everyone has. I think, really, workshops on how to use some of the programs we have access to as students and workshops on any sort of artistic/design technique or process would be the best for students. It would also be nice to have some of the zines available online to read, but I guess that’s a little bit difficult right now and may not be possible because of copyright protection.

I think in times like this “less is more” is a very good attitude, people aren’t really in a position to be absorbing lots of info or media in one sitting as they’re simultaneously processing a traumatic event. Any workshops that distract from that and can minimize stress would be great.”

Storying Online Exhibition

For the past few months, the Contemporary Issues: Art Today class has been meeting and preparing an exhibition that explores the concept of identity. Since we were unable to install the show on the walls of the Learning Zone gallery as planned, we chose to install the work on the walls of the Internet instead! Visit the show at to experience the students' multidisciplinary works, including painting, drawing, textile, sculpture, animation, music, AI tech and video, supported by artists' texts which further illuminate this impressive work.

REUSEFULIndustrial Design Thesis by Meaghan Robson

Congratulations to Meaghan Robson on her nomination to submit her “REUSEFUL: reducing waste by engaging community” thesis 2020 project to the ACIDO Rocket 2020 Competition.

ACIDO Rocket is a competition for Ontario’s graduating industrial designers hosted each year by the Association of Chartered Industrial Designers of Ontario. Graduates at the top of their class are nominated from Carleton University, Humber College, OCAD U and Sheridan College.

Last summer, Meaghan introduced herself to the Learning Zone with her story and ambition to redesign and develop the ReUSE Depot System. The LZ Librarian Marta Chudolinska connected Meaghan to ODESI’s Sustainability Initiatives Coordinator, Victoria Ho, and support from the community stakeholders – students Rachel Morris and Janai Redman, faculty and staff soon followed which furthered her successful journey.

Collaborative enterprise and the successful application of design thinking, were key in driving the work forward. Time and energy directed towards research, meetings and outreach activities materialized into the fabrication of the Materials Commons.

The spring launch date of Materials Commons on the 5th floor at 100 McCaul Street has been postponed until campus can safely reopen.


image credit Meaghan Robson