‘Out from Under’ to move into virtual learning environment

July 13th, 2011 by Jason

‘Out from Under’ to move into virtual learning environment

‘Out from Under,’ the acclaimed exhibit produced by Ryerson’s School of Disability Studies, is moving into a virtual learning environment thanks in part to a grant from the Learning and Teaching Office (LTO).

The exhibit which illuminates the hidden history of disabled people’s struggle for equal rights in Canada was prominently displayed at the Royal Ontario Museum in 2008 and at the Cultural Olympiad during the 2010 Vancouver Paralympic Games. The exhibit, which consists of 13 diverse objects that reveal a significant aspect of Canadian disability history, was created by Ryerson students, faculty and collaborators. The exhibit includes a number of accessibility features including American Sign Language podcasts, a plain language audio tour and print materials that are available in a variety of formats including braille.

“This is a truly ‘Made-at-Ryerson’ project that continues to evolve,” said Melanie Panitch, former director, School of Disability Studies, and one of the exhibit curators. “Transforming the exhibit into a digital, interactive form will advance research into virtual learning environments and provide students with training in the use of virtual reality tools.”

Creating the exhibit in a virtual learning environment will be a collaborative effort. Panitch, and her colleagues and co-curators from the school, Kathryn Church and Catherine Frazee, are working with Early Childhood Education Professor, and Experiential Design and Gaming Environments (EDGE) Lab Director Jason Nolan to bring the exhibit into the virtual world known as ‘Second Life.’ Nolan and his team, whose EDGE Lab is based in Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ), will recreate the exhibit in a three-dimensional, interactive form and will integrate much of the digital archival footage of the exhibit – such as short interviews and time lapsed recordings – that was amassed over the last few years by Image Arts Professor Garrick Filewod. Alexandra Bal, an Image Arts professor and associate director, EDGE Lab, will assist the team with contextualizing the pedagogical opportunities of the virtual environment for learners.

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