Discovery University

Discovery University offers university-level courses to people living on low incomes or experiencing homelessness, taught by instructors from Ottawa’s universities – Carleton University, University of Ottawa and Saint Paul University. There are no course fees and course materials are free. Ten-week classes are offered twice a year.

Interested in becoming a student? Fill out our application form below by Friday, September 9 to apply for the 2022 Fall semester. 

*Please note that, in order to attend Discovery University, applicants must be over 18 years of age.

Digital Photography

September 27 – November 29, 2022
Throughout the semester, students will focus on three main tasks: learning to operate a digital camera and understand the issues related to time and light, learning how to store images on a flash drive and/or computer, and most importantly, learning how to translate their everyday into interesting and evocative photographs. A total of four photoshoots will be organized (outdoor and indoor). Each student will participate in these events in order to have a great body of photographs, and hopefully select a few of them to share with the class under a given theme. Students will also be invited to participate in a workshop, in which they will learn how to approach art interpretation – this can be helpful for our class discussion time. Students will also learn how to store and organized their photos on a flash drive. At the end of semester, every student will of course keep all their images. Students are expected to bring their own flash drive every week, taken prior to this class. A digital camera will also be loaned during classes when we have photoshoots.

Lecture Time: Fridays from 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Lecture Location: University of Ottawa
Instructor: Anne Marie Dumouchel of The University of Ottawa

Sociology of Sound, Silence, and Noise

September 27 – November 29, 2022
This course introduces students to the often-forgotten presence of sounds in everyday life. The course proposes to consider all sound-related dimensions (noise, music, voice, silence, etc.) as significant elements of academic research and analysis, as well as important facets of everyday life. It further takes sound as something to seriously reflect upon from a sociological perspective. Because the field of the sociology of sound is as broad as the world of sound itself, we will focus our attention on the production, meaning, use, and social construction of soundscapes and auditory environments. We will explore disappearing sounds, various aspects of silence, and the regulation of noise. On our sonic journey we will end the course by looking at audio storytelling, implications of recorded sounds, and the craft of sonic work in a digital age. This course will require a good deal of listening to perhaps unfamiliar sounds which will be accompanied by readings that together will provide students with a foundation in the sociological study of—and active critical listening to—sound, silence, and noise.

Students do not need to be able to read music, play an instrument, or have technical knowledge of sound production/recording for this course.

Lecture Time: Tuesdays, Time to be determined.
Lecture Location: Zoom*
Discussion Group Time: Wednesday Evenings
Discussion Group Location: Zoom
Instructor: Philip Primeau of Carleton University

*Students are required to have a computer or tablet, internet access, and headphones – to complete the course. There will be a possibility of one community outing during the course (location and time to be determined). 

Being Human

September 30 – December 2, 2022
What are the challenges for ethics in our so-called “postmodern” culture?   How might we navigate pluralism and understand secularity?  What ethical challenges are entailed in our sense of identity and the criteria for self-worth? What is the nature of power, and how might we make our way with power games?  What does it mean to take a moral stand with integrity?  How do we relate to and manage our moral weaknesses and failures?  What are the moral nuances entailed in the complex assortment of relationships that make up our lives? These and other fundamental questions are at the heart of this introductory course in practical ethics, which will also include insights from Christian ethics.

Lecture Time: Fridays from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Lecture Location: University of Ottawa
Discussion Group Time: Wednesday Evenings
Discussion Group Location: Zoom*
Instructor: Mark Slatter of St. Paul University

*Students are required to have a computer or tablet, internet access, and headphones – to complete the course.

For more information about the program please contact Michael Toffelmire at 613-914-4575 or