Athabasca University (AU) graduates will get to celebrate Convocation 2020 in style, even if they won’t get to celebrate in person.
David Scott Martin, an undergraduate student in the RAIC Centre for Architecture, has put his design skills to good use by creating an inviting and engaging virtual space for the Reimagined Virtual Convocation event on Oct. 2, 2020.
“I know how much work goes into a degree, let alone an online degree. I know how much people dedicate themselves to this,” he said. “You really want to provide a venue which is commensurate with that type of dedication and that type of work effort, whether they attend in person or for all those who attend virtually and are going to graduate virtually.”
He was approached to create a virtual lobby so that when convocation participants sign in to the virtual platform, they get the impression of a modern university lobby and reception area.
Martin explained that he used techniques and software he became familiar with through the course of his studies in the Bachelor of Science in Architecture program but emphasized it does not necessarily constitute an architectural project. Rather, he said he ultimately only produced parts of a building, using architectural techniques.
His inspiration, in part, was the Academic and Research Centre (ARC) building at AU’s main campus in Athabasca, Alta., designed by Edmonton-based firm Manasc Isaac and completed in 2011. That building’s style, with lots of light and open spaces, reflects his own architectural tastes.
“I used that as a precedent study, as is typical in architecture practice,” he said. “You try to emulate a style or emulate a feeling, and hopefully that’s what was portrayed.”
“You really want to provide a venue which is commensurate with that type of dedication and that type of work effort, whether they attend in person or for all those who attend virtually and are going to graduate virtually.”– David Scott Martin, BSc Architecture student
A flexible option
When Martin enrolled in the Architecture program, designing a virtual convocation space wasn’t top of mind—or even in his mind at all. After completing a 27-year career with the Canadian navy, he found himself looking for a new career.
“I knew that I wanted to be an architect, so it was just a matter of looking at what the appropriate program for me would be,” he said. “And AU fit really perfectly, especially at the time, based on the fact it was online, distance, and at your own pace.”
At first he had to adjust to taking classes online instead of in person, but now that he’s partway through the program he said he’s as comfortable online as he would be in person, and the quality of instruction is excellent.
A great opportunity
The opportunity to take part in convocation 2020, even if only in a small way, is just the icing on the cake.
“It was a great opportunity that was provided to me,” he said. “I’m happy to have been part of this.”
AU Events Coordinator Jody Paulson said while it’s disappointing to not be able to gather in person to celebrate convocation this year, the virtual space created for the Reimagined Virtual Convocation event is going to impress those in attendance.
“I’m so happy with David’s work,” she said. “We’re creating an engaging and authentic virtual space for our graduands this year, and I think the designs he provided us reflect the atmosphere we strive to provide at convocation.”