Digital Futures

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." - Alan Kay

Digital Futures combines creative approaches to emerging technologies and critical thinking to prototype possible futures. Digital Futures faculty are world leaders in strategic foresighting, data visualization, digital entertainment, wearable technology, smart materials, music technology and games. In order to create better futures, we live by by three words: Make. Play. Connect.

It is the crossover in emerging digital sectors that will allow new creative industries to thrive. Our program prepares students for this future by immersing them in rich and varied subject expertise to synthesize new literacies for our digital futures. The Digital Futures student-centred learning approach applies to both research and practice. The curriculum ensures that you gain core digital knowledge and skills as you explore your specific areas of interest through electives, internships, residencies and independent study.

Digital Futures provides students with the opportunity to explore the ideas and technologies that are shaping the jobs of the future. We are looking for artists, designers, technologists and entrepreneurs to help us lead Canada into the new digital economy. Digital Futures students are developing award-winning games and innovative mobile applications, and they are pushing the boundaries of art and design through interactive spaces and devices. As a student in the program, you will acquire creative digital abilities that will ignite your career by gaining experience working with emerging digital technologies along with students who share similar interests and goals. 

The curriculum
Many of our assignments are team based. The majority of our courses involve industry. All of our courses are at the digital cutting edge.

First year
The first year of the program immerses students in a set of foundation courses that set the context and linkages across the fields of art, computer programming, design and business. Courses include game design, digital models and fabrication, art and code, and cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Second and third years
In the second and third years of the program, students form teams to work in large ateliers (collective studios) with specific themes. Each atelier runs for two or three semesters, can include individual and group work, and is typically delivered by several instructors. The atelier themes vary each year. Previous themes have included “Games Design and Enterprise” – with a field trip to New York City – and “The Future of Storytelling and 3D Open Worlds." Students also take courses that complement the theme of the atelier, ranging from skills-based classes in software, smart phone app development and game design, through to new digital art forms, social media trend forecasting, computer science history classes and digital business.

Fourth year
The fourth year of the program revolves around the student thesis, which can be undertaken individually or as a group. The thesis can be based at OCAD U, it may be a collaboration with an external partner, it may be in another city or it may even be in another country. This effectively initiates the careers of students through practice, collaborations or exposure to industry and work opportunities.

Have a look at the Digital Future's 2017 Open Show catalogue:

Cover of DF Open Show 2017

Recent student projects

Screenshot of diabetes app.Building a better diabetes app - Parth Soni, Sally Luc and Mudassir Iqbal

Sunken gameSunken - Emma Burkeitt and Saffron Bolduc-Chiong

Faded MemoriesFaded Memories - Corey Dean

Preparing for your Digital Future

"No one knows for sure what the careers of the future will look like. But the people at the cutting edge are already watching old jobs disappear – and experimenting with the technology that has begun to create new ones."  - Tom Meltzer

Although digital jobs are growing fast, they are highly competitive. Our program has been built on the basis of creating the best possible opportunities for our students to develop the most relevant skills and differentiate themselves in the digital workplace.

When we created this program, we brought together some of the world’s top academics, corporations and start-ups to work out what to do. Our advisory board includes Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Ubisoft, City of Toronto, Bell TSN, TVO broadcasting, Xenophile Media, Idea Couture, RBC Royal Bank, Toronto Arts Foundation, SAP, White Pine Pictures and Stone Canoe. Every year, these companies and many others join us for an industry day and offer life-changing internships for our students.

This is what employers are saying: “The ability to learn, rooted in a sound basis of fundamentals, is what attracts employers. This program is clearly providing exactly that background, teaching students the basics, helping them learn today’s tools but keeping them open to the inevitable evolution and change. They will be the leaders of a tomorrow which is coming faster every day, driving change and opportunity.” – Stephen Perelgut, Senior Relationship Manager, IBM Academic Partnerships