Archive for the ‘Ryerson Faculty’ Category

EDGELab Director develops tools to help build children’s autonomy

December 7th, 2012

Ryerson Today has profiled the Lab director.


Early Childhood Studies professor Jason Nolan is pioneering a new set of tools and practices that modify physical and sensory environments so that children with physical and cognitive disabilities can participate barrier-free in play, learning, family life and the community.
Often, children with disabilities do not receive sufficient support for their basic needs. Early Childhood Studies professor Jason Nolan, who is also director of Ryerson’s Experiential Design and Gaming Environments (EDGE) lab, believes the field of adaptive design (AD) holds great promise for helping such children thrive. AD, Nolan explains, “is rooted in the belief that we need specific tools and techniques to modify physical environments cheaply and easily, so that children with disabilities can participate in barrier-free play, learning, family life and the community.”

Nolan is focusing his research on tools that increase children’s autonomy. One of Nolan’s main efforts has involved using cardboard and other easily accessible materials to engineer custom adaptations, therapeutic seats, play tables and computer kiosks. Recently, he has also extended AD into soft-circuitry and wearable computing such as garments that can allow non-verbal children to speak. His work is supported by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation; the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation; the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council; and the Graphics, Animation and New Media (GRAND) Network of Centre of Excellence.

“I don’t take a ‘medical’ or disease model of disability,” says Nolan. “Instead, I work directly with children to create new designs that extend their ability to interact with and engage the world around them and, in some cases, to acquire the skills to help others.” Nolan’s approach departs from ‘universal’ design by focusing, instead, on the child’s ‘expertise’ about her or his own condition, which he refers to as “user-initiated” design.

Nolan is also active in spreading AD-related knowledge and best practices among fellow scholars and practitioners. He is a member of the advisory boards of the Adaptive Design Association and the GimpGirl Community. Nolan is autistic and is setting up the Toronto chapter of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) at Ryerson.


February 2nd, 2012

EdgeLab hosted the DocSHIFT Institute, a mentorship/incubator for digital documentaries. Richard Lachman did presentations on strategic approaches to digital documentaries and on tools for digital documentary production, as part of the Institute projects.

Prototypes developed under the program were recently presented at the DocSHIFT Summit where the EdgeLab also helped to program.

Here is a compendium of interesting projects in the digital-doc space.

‘Out from Under’ to move into virtual learning environment

July 13th, 2011

‘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.

Lorella Di Cintio

October 15th, 2010

Professor Di Cintio is currently a faculty member with the School of Interior Design and an Associate with the Centre for Studies in Food Security at Ryerson University. She serves as an academic reviewer for the Journal of Interior Design. Her area of research focuses on the social and political positions undertaken by designers. Current projects explore and employ various design strategies in the areas of cross-cultural collaborative design learning, civic engagement and participation, food security activism and human-centered design models.

Dennis Dennisoff

October 15th, 2010

Upon receiving his Ph.D. from McGill University, Dr. Denisoff held a postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University. He was an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Waterloo before joining Ryerson in 2000. Dr. Denisoff is currently Chair and Professor of English, a member of the Centre for the Interdisciplinary Study of Gender and Sexuality at the University of Exeter, and a member of the Graduate Programme in Communication and Culture at Ryerson University and York University.

Dr. Denisoff held a Ryerson Research Chair in English from 2004 to 2008, is the 2010 recipient of the President’s Award from the Nineteenth Century Studies Association, and the 2011 recipient of Ryerson’s Sarwan Sahota Distinguished Scholar Award. He has given keynote addresses and guest lectures at the Graduate Centre of the City University of New York, Oxford University, Oxford-Brookes University, the University of Exeter, the University of Birmingham and, forthcoming, at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Plymouth.

Dr. Denisoff specializes in: digital humanities; Victorian visual culture and visual modes of digital research; paganism, decadence and aestheticism; queer studies; and children’s studies. He is co-editor of the journal Nineteenth Century Studies, and is serving or has served on the editorial or advisory boards of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net , Victorian Review, Essays on Canadian Writing and torquere: journal of gay and lesbian studies.

The author and editor of 11 books, Dr. Denisoff’s publications include two novels, a collection of poetry, and editions of others’ creative works. His monographs Aestheticism and Sexual Parody, 1840-1940 (Cambridge, 2001) and Sexual Visuality from Literature to Film, 1850-1950 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) both address the influence of mass media, as well as print and visualizing technology, on identity formation. He has recently also edited the essay collection The Nineteenth Century Child and Consumer Culture (Ashgate 2007), expanding his inquiry into the commodification of the child’s body through art and literature.

Kathryn Woodcock

October 15th, 2010

Kathryn Woodcock

Dr. Kathryn Woodcock is an Associate Professor at Toronto’s Ryerson University, teaching, researching, and consulting in the area of human factors and ergonomics. Her research interests include the application of human factors to occupational and public safety issues of performance, error, investigation and inspection, and to disability and accessibility.

She also heads the THRILL lab, researching and developing applications of Human Factors / Ergonomics to amusement ride safety ( as well as supervising graduate students in the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Program (MEGP).

Before joining Ryerson, she managed a research and policy unit in the Prevention Division of the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board of Ontario. Through the 1980s, she was a hospital vice-president and active in the Ontario health care sector. Dr. Woodcock previously taught graduate and undergraduate courses in industrial engineering and ergonomics at Rochester Institute of Technology (New York) and the University of Waterloo, and is an adjunct scientist of the Institute for Work and Health.

Dr. Woodcock is a registered Professional Engineer and Canadian Certified Professional Ergonomist with degrees from University of Waterloo and University of Toronto, a member of national and international professional societies in ergonomics and has presented many papers in the field. Dr. Woodcock is also active in the community, as a member of the Consumer Advisory Council and Amusement Devices Advisory Council of the Technical Standards and Safety Authority, and Deaf Women in Science and Engineering. She served the Ontario Minister of Community and Social Services to the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council, challenged to implement the Access to Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005) from 2005 to 2009.

University of Toronto Press published her book on deafness in 2000. She was the first deaf president of The Canadian Hearing Society, and has been active on a variety of other boards and councils including the Ontario Council of Regents for Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology, Ontario Service Safety Alliance, the Ontario Hospital Association, the Board of Governors of Centennial College in Toronto, the National Captioning Institute’s Board of Directors, the Executive Council of Association of Canadian Ergonomists (formerly HFAC), and the Association of Late-Deafened Adults. Dr. Woodcock has received awards for community service, advocacy, and voluntarism, including the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship and honours from professional societies and community organizations including the Citizenship Award from the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers and Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario, and the Outstanding Alumni Medal from the University of Waterloo Faculty of Engineering. She has also been recognized by the Association of Late-Deafened Adults, the Ontario Association of the Deaf, and the International Alumnae of Delta Epsilon (Gallaudet University).

Donna Koller

October 15th, 2010

Marni Binder

October 15th, 2010