Black and white image of a person standing alone on a subway platform with text that reads "Layers of Loneliness"

Sheridan student project ‘Layers of Loneliness’ selected as finalist for Canadian Online Publishing Awards

Jan 17, 2023
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A team of second-year students from Sheridan’s Journalism diploma program was recently selected as a finalist for the Canadian Online Publishing Awards (COPA) in the Best Website category under the Academic division for its project, Layers of Loneliness — a website that explores the ways in which people experience loneliness, the stigmas surrounding it, and how individuals can combat and prevent it.   

The Layers of Loneliness website was developed during the Winter 2022 term as part of the Digital Solutions Journalism course, which asked students to pitch, vote, and collectively work on a project throughout the semester. Students pitched a variety of project topics including homelessness, seniors, social media addiction, and COVID-19. In the end, all these topics had one thing in common: loneliness. 

“In the early stages, a classmate pitched the idea of producing a digital website about loneliness. As we talked about it more, we thought why not look into the different layers of loneliness,” said Somer Slobodian, Project Manager for Layers of Loneliness and graduate of Sheridan’s Journalism program. “We wanted to peel back each layer and show people that loneliness impacts many aspects of life. This project was important for many different reasons. It opened our eyes to how many people from all walks of life experience loneliness.” 

Journalism students from England’s Manchester Metropolitan University were also invited to contribute to the project. This was made possible through Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL)—a global program that virtually connects two or more classrooms across the globe to collaborate on knowledge making, problem solving, and experience sharing.  

Through this collaboration, Manchester students were able to provide a UK perspective to the project, which further showcased how the feeling of being alone is experienced around the world.  

“Working with students from Manchester Metropolitan University allowed for some rich collaborations,” said Cheryl Vallender, Program Coordinator and Professor in Sheridan’s Journalism program. “We are so proud that the work they produced is being recognized by the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.” The project also helped build a sense of community for the students during a time when many of them felt lonely and disconnected due to the pandemic, added Slobodian.  

The COIL project was funded by Global Skills Opportunity (GSO), a program that is an integral component of the Government of Canada’s International Education Strategy. GSO aims to empower post-secondary institutions to increase the participation of young Canadians — especially underrepresented students — in international learning opportunities in local and global communities.  

“The Global Skills Opportunity program complements Sheridan’s robust efforts to build a holistic, comprehensive, and integrated approach to internationalization as outlined in our Internationalization and Global Connectivity Strategy,” said Amira El Masri, Director, Centre for Global Education and Internationalization at Sheridan. “Through this opportunity, we have facilitated access to a wider range of inclusive and accessible global learning programs and offered our students more transformative intercultural experiences both at home and abroad.” 

Winners of this year’s COPA Awards will be announced at the 14th Annual COPA Awards Party Feb. 9 in Toronto. 

The Layers of Loneliness Team 

  • Somer Slobodian – Project Coordinator, Sheridan, Journalism 
  • Kawther Ramadan – Interactive & Web Design Producer, Sheridan, Journalism 
  • Evan Loree – Sheridan, Journalism 
  • Barbara Nani – Sheridan, Journalism 
  • Ryan Hindle – Sheridan, Journalism 
  • Eunice Adeoti – Sheridan, Journalism 
  • Jerome Kathalay – Sheridan, Journalism 
  • Jason Octavo – Sheridan, Journalism 
  • Ryan O'Dowd – Sheridan, Journalism 
  • Ossama Soffar – Sheridan, Journalism 
  • Nicole Garbanzos – Sheridan, Journalism 
  • Dylan Talbot – Sheridan, Journalism 
  • Tristan Williams – Sheridan, Journalism 
  • Stephanie Young – Sheridan, Journalism 
  • Piers Giffin – Sheridan, Journalism 
  • Isobel Fearn – Manchester Metropolitan University, Multimedia Journalism 
  • David Smith – Manchester Metropolitan University, Multimedia Journalism
  • Reece Donlan – Manchester Metropolitan University, Multimedia Journalism 
  • Rocio Jimenez-Bermejo – Manchester Metropolitan University, Multimedia Journalism 
  • Rosa-May Bown – Manchester Metropolitan University, Multimedia Journalism

About COPA

The Canadian Online Publishing Awards (COPA) showcases and helps Canadian content creators move the needle forward for their brands on the global stage. Established in 2009, the COPAs began as an industry showcase of the Best Digital Content creators in the magazine and newspaper industries. Over the course of 13 years, it has now become the largest Digital Publishing Awards Program in Canada with four divisions — Academic, B2B, B2C, and News/Sports — with a mandate to reflect Canada’s multi-cultural diversity whenever possible. 

About Global Skills Opportunity (GSO) 

Global Skills Opportunity is funded by Employment and Social Development Canada, administered jointly by Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) and Universities Canada. Projects are implemented by participating colleges and universities across the country. You can find out more about the GSO at Sheridan here. #GlobalSkillsCA @GSO_ECM 


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