All right stop: Collaborate at the Collaboratory

Ryerson has built a new space aiming to foster student and faculty collaborations.

The Ryerson Library Collaboratory is a new space on campus intended to work as an area for developing and collaborating on projects, while also sharing knowledge about innovative technology.

The Ryerson Library Collaboratory includes technology-based tools such as 3D printers, high-end computers, laser cutters and VR equipment. (Photo by Ammi Parmar)

It allows faculty-supported, technological learning for students. The space is available for researchers that lack lab space and resources. It includes tools such as 3D printers, high-end computers, laser cutters and VR equipment. Library staff are trained in using these tools and are available to help students.

“Ryerson is not a big campus and is always lacking a research and learning space,” said Fangmin Wang, head of Library Information Technology Services. “For a lot of faculty, they don’t normally have access to emerging technology-powered lab space.”

The space also includes access to tutorials and workshops.

“The library wants to play (a) role to support interdisciplinary collaboration, whether it’s a research project or a digital learning project led by faculty,” Wang said.   

The Collaboratory is an evolution of the Digital Media Experience Lab (DME), and much like the DME, the Collaboratory provides equipment and space for students to expand their skills.

While the DME is an open space for all students to use the equipment, the Collaboratory is a focused learning space that will also work to connect students with workshops that target specific needs.

Marissa Frosst used to be a student advisor at the DME and is now the community engagement and digital innovation facilitator at the Ryerson Library Collaboratory, all while completing her last year in the creative industries program.

“The DME allowed me to explore different ideas and learn about technology and interact with it in a way that I wasn’t doing in the classroom,” Frosst said. “As (a) result I was able to learn a whole host of skills that I didn’t learn in my program.”

Frosst works on coordinating the space’s development and connecting with faculty and students to try and find a way in which the lab can facilitate many different people and make sure they have equal access to the resources.

“Ryerson does have a lot of faculty who would like access to resources and (a) room. A lot of my job is writing policies on how we can do that in a way that is fair and in a way that the people who need the resources the most are the ones getting it,” Frosst said.

With Ryerson’s many zones and spaces, it’s easy to assume that the Collaboratory is just another zone.

“The zones are designed to support extra-curricular activity of students and for the most part, supporting student-led start-up companies, so we’re not in the same category,” Wang said. “The Collaboratory is mainly supporting student-faculty projects.”

Most zones at Ryerson, including the DMZ, are startup incubators that work with innovators, and require an extensive application process. This process determines whether or not a startup or project will be able to receive support.

The Collaboratory is more of a faculty-based space that is meant to help students find better resources. The only thing needed to access the Collaboratory is a library card or your OneCard.  

The space is in its pilot phase. The Ryerson Library Collaboratory will have an open house on Nov. 30 where students and faculty can come in and take a tour.

 

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