OCAD University

OCAD U to offer Master of Design in Inclusive Design;

Graduate Program in Digital Futures

(Toronto — January 31, 2011) OCAD University (OCAD U) is now accepting applications for two new graduate programs: a Master of Design (MDes) in Inclusive Design* and a Graduate Program in Digital Futures (Graduate Diploma and MA, MDes, MFA)*. Applications for the 2011/2012 term will be accepted until Monday, May 2, 2011.

“These unique new programs address the Canadian digital economy’s ever-increasing demand for artists, designers, innovators and leaders in the fields of inclusive design, digital media and new technologies,” explained Dr. Helmut Reichenbächer, Associate Vice-President, Research and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at OCAD U. “The MDes in Inclusive Design, the first program of its kind in Canada and one of only two in the world, builds on and benefits from the recent addition of the Inclusive Design Research Centre and the Inclusive Design Institute to our campus, led by world-renowned inclusive design expert Jutta Treviranus. It is the only program in Ontario directly building capacity needed to address Ontario's Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). The Graduate Program in Digital Futures features unique partnerships with the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) Media Lab and the University of Waterloo, and builds on OCAD U's demonstrated strengths in practice and research in the fields of digital art, design and media.”

These new programs promise to produce graduates with the highly sought after skills and expertise needed in Canada’s creative and digital economies and present a significant contribution to further diversify Ontario’s expanding postsecondary education system.

Master of Design in Inclusive Design

What is Inclusive Design?
Inclusive Design is design that is inclusive of the full range of human diversity with respect to ability, language, culture, gender, age and other forms of human difference.

Inclusive design is important because:

  • An aging demographic with associated dramatic rise in incidence of disabilities makes accessibility an increasing concern;
  • Access to online services can no longer be considered optional — it is an essential part of daily life;
  • Exclusion and inequality have broad and devastating social and economic impacts for society as a whole, not only the excluded.

The focus of the MDes in Inclusive Design will be on building inclusive design expertise in digital media and information and communication technologies (ICT) and practices. This innovative program responds to the increasing demand for designers and developers with specialized knowledge in inclusive design principles and practices, and will produce graduates with the capacity to form, lead and sustain a much-needed community of expertise on digital inclusion, spanning multiple sectors. Graduates will apply their studies in all sectors that engage digital media and ICT systems, including government and education sectors, digital industries, entertainment, arts, culture, health, communication design, wayfinding, architectural systems design, mobile and interactive industries and many others.

The MDes in Inclusive Design is a low residency, two-year program with an executive style delivery format to accommodate the needs of working professionals and international students.

Key Features of the MDes in Inclusive Design:

  • The program is designed to be fully accessible to students and faculty with diverse needs, including students with disabilities and students for whom English is a second language.
  • Two on-site intensive summer sessions each year in which students will be engaged in intensive academic programming and collaborative experiences to familiarize them with fellow students, faculty members and researchers.
  • Innovative, engaging and interactive online courses which use highly interactive and engaging instructional design techniques. These include online collaborative group activities, discussion forums with guest experts, moderated synchronous chats, and guided online tours of both online and physical sites and examples.
  • Multidisciplinary seminars co-taught by world leaders in inclusive design and emerging information and communication technologies and practices.
  • Student engagement in successful, open source, open access international research projects addressing a rich diversity of issues and challenges related to inclusive design of ICT systems and practices.
  • A major culminating project relating to a real world issue that both develops and demonstrates the knowledge and skills gained during the course of the program.

Graduate Program in Digital Futures (MA, MDes, MFA and Diploma)

The Graduate Program in Digital Futures is a unique, practice-based program situated within the Digital Futures Initiative at OCAD U, a set of new cross-disciplinary programs in practice, research and innovation related to digital media and its emergent developments. The program builds on OCAD U's historic strengths in practice and research in art, design and media, providing ongoing innovation and foresight in curriculum, teaching, and creative digital practice.

Graduates of the program will contribute to the development and application of new knowledge in creative digital technology practices, content, and experiences, providing insights into human needs and desires in a technologically dependent world.

The Graduate Program in Digital Futures offers both a part-time Graduate Diploma and a full-time Master’s (MA, MFA or MDes). The Graduate Diploma is a course-based program offered on a part-time basis in order to provide flexible study options for working professionals and practitioners. The Master’s is a full-time practice-based program offered over five semesters.

Key Features of the Graduate Program in Digital Futures:

  • A partnership with the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) Media Lab, whose established, critically-acclaimed post-graduate residency in digital media production will be integrated into both the degree and diploma programs. This unique collaboration will afford students the opportunity to engage in an Intensive Project/Prototyping Spring Institute held at the MaRS Discovery District;
  • A cohort-based Digital Media Immersion that kicks off the program with a full two-week grounding in digital futures, providing an introduction to the program and a foundation in the current state of digital practices, along with team building and leadership skills development in partnership with the University of Waterloo;
  • The opportunity for industry and research internships, a term placement with a local, national or international industrial media/technology industry or business. The internship provides students with industry and research opportunities to integrate the knowledge learned in first-year seminars with real world digital media business and production;
  • Participation in the annual Digital Media Producer-in-Residence program which brings internationally renowned practitioners in digital technologies and digital media production to OCAD U and the CFC Media Lab for a one-week residency during which they conduct seminars, and work directly with students on their projects;
  • International exchange opportunities with partner institutions in Europe, India, and South America.

Application information, program requirements and a list of faculty members for each program may be found on OCAD U’s Graduate Studies web pages at www.ocad.ca/gradstudies.

*pending approval from the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies.

Background Information:

About the Inclusive Design Research Centre and the Inclusive Design Institute
The Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) is the reconstitution of the 16 year-old Adaptive Technology Resource Centre (ATRC) of the University of Toronto at OCAD U. The IDRC, continuing the important international role of the ATRC, conducts multi-disciplinary, multi-sector research and development on the inclusive design of emerging information and communication systems and practices — or designing for diversity. IDRC research addresses the full lifecycle of information and communication systems and practices — from design to implementation to evaluation and policy. The IDRC research community values collaboration, broad participation, transparency, and openness. The Inclusive Design Institute (IDI) is a regional research hub, led by Jutta Treviranus, funded by both the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation with 8 postsecondary institutions as core partners, namely OCAD U, University of Toronto, Ryerson University, York University, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), Sheridan, George Brown College and Seneca College. The IDI shares the research focus of the IDRC. Both IDI and IDRC research projects engage a range of collaborating organizations from around the world.

About the Canadian Film Centre (CFC)
The Canadian Film Centre is Canada’s largest institution for advanced training in film, television and new media. A charitable not-for-profit organization, CFC is committed to promoting and investing in Canada’s diverse talent; providing exhibition, financial and distribution opportunities for top creative content leaders from coast to coast. CFC makes a significant cultural and economic contribution to Canada by launching the country’s most creative ideas and voices in film, television and new media to the world. CFC Media Lab is Canada’s acclaimed institute for digital media that provides a unique training, research and production think-tank environment for emerging new media artists, content developers and practitioners. CFC Media Lab has been experimenting with the interactive narrative form since 1997 and in the past ten years, have produced over 60 prototypes ranging from web-based interactive documentaries to “shuffle videos” — the creation of randomly generated movies on the iPod. For more information please visit www.cfccreates.com.

About OCAD University (OCAD U)
OCAD University (www.ocad.ca) is Canada’s “University of the Imagination.” The University, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

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For more information contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)

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