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Reimagine Learning and Education in our Communities Challenge

Reimagining education and learning at the heart of Sheridan’s Open Innovation Challenge

November 18, 2020

Participants across Canada are invited to engage in an open innovation challenge, which launched earlier today, focused on reimagining learning and education in a time of unrelenting disruption. As a trailblazing postsecondary institution and well-connected community and industry partner, Sheridan College is facilitating the Reimagine Learning and Education in our Communities Challenge to reach and amplify underrepresented voices, spark inclusive dialogue, embrace - not hide from - the forces of disruption prevalent in industry and society, and cultivate meaningful solutions.

“We’re at a crucial juncture in history where building resiliency in individuals and communities is vital to navigating a time of constant change,” says Dr. Janet Morrison, Sheridan’s President and Vice Chancellor. “Education and learning can help people become adaptable and flexible, but we must also contemplate doing things differently. We need to co-create innovative solutions with our communities to cultivate ideas that will have a genuine impact.”

The challenge is inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which emphasize the interrelated impacts of changes within society, the economy and the environment, and the transformative power of education. Individuals and teams will be called on to contribute ideas via a range of mediums, grounded in the question: How might we collaborate with our communities to reimagine learning and education so that no one is left behind and all youth and adults can realize their full potential?

By building the challenge using a human-centred design approach that puts people at the centre of the process, “we’re ensuring that participants’ ideas and subsequent solutions aren’t prescriptive, but instead, are reflective of the very people we hope they impact,” says challenge co-organizer John Helliker, Dean of Innovation at Sheridan.

Helliker is one member of Sheridan’s newly minted Galvanizing Education Hub taskforce, launched by Sheridan to address the need for post secondary transformation that’s been made even more pressing by the pandemic, global recession and the national awakening on social justice. An open innovation challenge was one idea the group of innovative minds brought to the fore as a starting point to action positive change.

The Inspiration Stage of the challenge will run from November 18, 2020 to January 2021 and will focus on hearing ideas, stories and experiences from as many people as possible, regardless of their level of education, identity, location and circumstances. The second and third stages – Ideation and Iteration respectively – will require teams of participants to begin working on solutions to issues that emerged in the first stage. Mentors from community organizations and academia will provide guidance to teams throughout.

“This challenge presents a bold question, and we can’t do it alone,” says Helliker. “We’re counting on engaged participants and a network of community partners to be involved.” Dr. Morrison adds, “We need people to lend their ideas and voices to addressing historical and systemic barriers so that no one is left behind. Collectively, we can co-create conditions for learning wherein all people feel a strong sense of belonging.” Throughout the challenge process, ideas that come forward will be shared through the challenge platform and on Sheridan’s channels.

The challenge is being generously supported by sponsors TD Insurance, The Personal Insurance Company, Merit Security and Cyber Air Systems Inc. It is being hosted on the internationally recognized platform Agorize. A final event in May 2021 will feature presentations from pre-selected finalists. Exceptionally innovative and impactful solutions will be recognized by a panel of esteemed judges and the audience. Throughout the challenge, more than $60,000 in cash prizes are available to be won.

Learn more about the Open Innovation Challenge and get involved at challenge.sheridancollege.ca.