Spring City Idea Lab student showcase captures essence of TeachingCity

TeachingCity partners the City of Oshawa, Durham College, Ontario Tech University and Trent University Durham Greater Toronto Area celebrated the spring City Idea Lab student showcase today in Council Chamber.

“Today’s City Idea Lab student showcase was a strong demonstration of achievable solutions to real challenges,” said Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter. “Today was a true win for TeachingCity; highlighting not only its potential, but also its benefits.”

City Idea Lab is an innovative curriculum-based program that allows for post-secondary students to work directly with faculty and city staff to co-design solutions to local issues through knowledge transfer, dialogue and experimentation. City Idea Lab courses run out of the TeachingCity Hub, an open-concept space dedicated to facilitate TeachingCity projects with the city’s education and research partners, including students, faculty and staff. The Hub provides opportunities for TeachingCity partners to share access to facilities, resources and equipment, and includes office, classroom and open lab space.

TeachingCity brings together the City of Oshawa and its education and research partners – Canadian Urban Institute, Durham College, Ontario Tech University, Trent University Durham Greater Toronto Area, and the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.

The partners address Oshawa’s urban issues through innovation, collaboration, applied research and shared experiential learning opportunities with the aim to position Oshawa as a local, national and global community of urban research and learning.

The spring student showcase highlighted the results of seven City Idea Lab courses across the three post-secondary institutions. The courses focused on a variety of challenge questions, including how the city might engage youth in priority neighbourhoods; better map its cultural assets; engage residents to help build community pride; design a Wi-Fi network in the downtown; and more. More than 200 students enrolled in these courses and collaborated to develop posters to display their innovative solutions.

“The effort and collaboration demonstrated by our students and TeachingCity partners at today’s showcase highlight the extortionary things that are possible when we come together to address real-world challenges,” said Don Lovisa, president, Durham College. “City Idea Lab provides unique experiential learning opportunities for our students to work with the community while developing the critical skills needed to help them succeed in today’s rapidly changing economy.”

City staff worked closely with the students, delivering presentations at the onset of the courses to provide background information on the topics and visiting multiple times to help co-design the solutions. This student cohort represented a variety of fields of study, including Child and Youth Studies, Information Technology, Media, Art and Design, Social Sciences and Humanities, and Sociology.

“Experiential learning is a fundamental component of today’s university experience,” said Dr. Steven Murphy, President and Vice-Chancellor, Ontario Tech University. “We are excited about the many opportunities City Idea Lab provides for Ontario Tech University faculty and students to collaborate and apply the knowledge they have acquired in the classroom toward generating solutions to difficult social issues in our community. We live and breathe tech with a conscience.”

City staff are currently working with post-secondary professionals to establish the challenge questions for the next cohort of City Idea Lab, which will once again include students from DC, Ontario Tech University and Trent University Durham GTA. The third cohort begins this fall with the student showcase taking place in December.

“The City Idea Lab projects presented today by Durham area students are a great demonstration of students thinking innovatively on real life issues that are relevant to their communities,” said Kegan Winters, Vice-President Commercial Banking in Durham Region for RBC. “Through RBC Future Launch initiatives such as this, young people are developing valuable skills and gaining practical experience beyond traditional learning.


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