Durham College students to present on artificial intelligence on Parliament Hill

Students will travel to Ottawa to share their research as part of CICan’s Applied Research Symposium

Oshawa, ON – A team of Durham College (DC) students, faculty researchers and representatives from the college’s Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE) are Ottawa-bound to participate in Colleges and Institutes Canada’s (CICan) annual Applied Research Symposium.

Held from Monday, February 12 to Tuesday, February 13, the team from DC will be joining students from across the province, when they present their project “Interactive Accessibility Assistant using Artificial Intelligence (AI)” to parliamentarians and representatives from the federal government at a special showcase on Parliament Hill during the first day of the symposium.

“As an institution, Durham College is quickly becoming a leader in applied AI research,” said Debbie McKee Demczyk, dean, ORSIE. “The project the students are presenting was a great initial foray into developing our AI research skills and expertise, especially in the lead up to launching the Durham College Hub for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence for Business Systems, or AI Hub. We got to put our expertise to the test, while refining our AI research skills and ended up creating a viable solution to further learning at DC.”

Initially funded by DC, the Interactive Accessibility project set out to develop software for accurate closed captioning of teaching materials, to improve accessibility offerings and learning experiences for students at the college. The solution was developed by integrating several signal and language processing AI architectures and incorporating sound and natural language AI processing in a new and unique way.

The result was an application that can generate accurate closed captioning of any video or reading materials. In the case of the project, it was the colleges teaching resources that became more accessible, thus enhancing the learning experience for DC students.

With a goal of highlighting the impact of applied research and innovation for students, the Student Showcase gives research teams the opportunity to demonstrate how their projects provided a solution to a community partner or industry problem, while also allowing them to share what they gained from participating in the experience.


About Durham College

At Durham College (DC), the student experience comes first. With campuses in Oshawa and Whitby and a learning site in Pickering, the college offers more than 12,000 full-time post-secondary and apprenticeship students access to more than 140 full-time and eight apprenticeship programs in a number of different disciplines, enabling them to develop the skills required to meet the demands of today’s job market. The college is also set to launch its first four-year degree program, the Honours Bachelor of Health Care Technology Management, in September 2018.

The Oshawa campus features the state-of-the art Student Services building and will soon feature the Centre for Collaborative Education, a legacy project tied to DC’s 50th anniversary in 2017. The new facility will bring together local, Indigenous and global communities, providing a new home for several of the college’s most innovative and ground-breaking programs.

The Whitby campus features the award-winning W. Galen Weston Centre for Food, which includes Bistro ’67, a full-service, teaching-inspired restaurant, and Pantry, a retail store featuring food prepared by students in the college’s culinary programs.

For more information, visit www.durhamcollege.ca or call 905.721.2000.

Media contact:
Meghan Ney
Communications and Marketing
905.721.2000 ext. 2197