Laptop Program Background


All undergraduate students entering First Year at OCAD University are required to bring a recommended laptop computer with them to university. For a full list of Laptop Programs, view Laptop Program: About the Laptop Program.

This is a laptop you already own, or a recommended model you will purchase at education discount. In 2016-17, over 4000 students on campus have transitioned from desktops to laptops.

Digital literacy

In some courses and programs, this laptop will be used on a daily basis in the classroom in the production of art or design as a digital tool. Reliance on software for 2D, 3D image manipulation and creation, rapid prototyping, video editing and animation is evident across the curriculum. The laptop will assist with digital literacy where you will learn valuable skills contributing towards mastery in tools used in coursework, and after University as you start a career.

In some courses and programs, the focus on drawing, painting, sculpture, printing, model-making or other physical processes won’t require the use of a laptop at all: you will be honing your hand skills and working with physical materials. The overall goals of the academic programs remain the same, and are not changing to be digitally-focused to the exclusion of traditional processes: for example, our Illustration program is not a “Digital Illustration” program. However, the university recognizes that it’s necessary that students know how to draw physically and using a vector-based drawing application like Adobe Illustrator, or create physical objects that move in time using video. As well, students are increasingly taking minors and specializations that require digital tools, the tools are more complex, and it’s for this reason we know all students need to have a laptop.


In other courses, the laptop will serve as an e-Learning support as you download your course notes. Laptops can assist with anytime, anywhere student e-Learning so that students can choose to participate in tutorials, discussions or other online activities and not have their learning venues be limited to at home or on-campus.


You will need this laptop to:

  • Run Adobe Creative Cloud, Microsoft Office and use
  • Access our learning management system Canvas, read OCAD U Student Email
  • Write essays, give presentations, research information for your courses, download e-Books, collaborate with your peers
  • Use and run other 2D, 3D creative software for art and design

OCAD U licenses a standard package of software including Adobe Creative Cloud at significant discount, provided for a fee you pay annually. You will be able to work anytime, anyplace, on and off campus, seamlessly, and on your commute if coming long distances. OCAD U has a wireless network we continue to upgrade and wireless printing. We operate a Laptop Help Desk with friendly folks, who support your Laptop, help with troubleshooting, provide loaner laptops and Apple Authorized Service Provider repair support.


OCAD U has a rich history of weaving digital technology into Art & Design Education since the 1980s in core and elective parts of the curriculum. In the 1990s, OCAD U inaugurated its first Computer Studios for use across curriculum areas. With the advent of the internet, the student educational experience continues to be transformed through e-Learning, social networking and using computers and mobile devices as a support or core element to Art & Design practice. In 2004, the university recognized that in order to teach design, students required 24/7 access to a computer, and that computer is a laptop: the shared desktop computer simply did not provide enough access to students for them to do their work. In 2013/14, over 3000 students on campus had transitioned from desktops to laptops. Now, computers are indispensable tools for learning, as well as Art & Design tools, even if they are not being used in the primary production of works in a course or program.

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