Designing Virtual Spaces with Accessibility in Mind

By Betelehem Gulilat, Lead Writer & Editor and Philippa Gosine, Senior Research Assistant  

Betelehem outside smiling at the camera
Betelehem Gulilat
Philippa outdoors smiling at the camera
Philippa Gosine

Preserving a rich learning environment accessible for all students has been an ongoing commitment for many institutions. As faculties and administrators navigate the complexity of delivering courses online, it’s important for us to turn to our student community to understand the needs of students during this unprecedented time. Our work at the Innovation Hub is centered around students and their unique stories with the goal of designing a campus experience inclusive for all. We recognize the importance of prioritizing accessibility and hope to inspire our community members to develop equitable strategies for accommodating students in their online learning.   

What’s Happening November 23-27 on Stories from a Distance

Stories from a Distance encourages students to find community through conversation. Students can expect to be welcomed into a virtual space (over Zoom) created by and for students looking to invest in meaningful connections within their campus community over the Fall…

Student & Youth Mental Health Research Initiative – The Student Advisory Committee

By Emma McCann – Engagement Lead & Kristin Cleverley – Chair, Student & Youth Mental Health Research Initiative

A headshot of Dr. Cleverley smiling to the camera wearing a dark blue blazer.
Dr. Kristin Cleverley

A headshot of Emma McCann smiling to the camera, wearing an olive green shirt.
Emma McCann

The Innovation Hub has been involved in a scope of conversations on mental health, wellness, and initiatives to support students. Most recently, our work with the Presidential & Provostial Taskforce on Student Mental Health shone a light on many needs in the community and has been a launch pad to important partnerships and initiatives to further support students at the University. We deeply understand how it’s so important to continue to highlight what is happening now in the community on student mental health and opportunities to be a part of these important conversations.

If you are a student and are passionate about improving campus mental health through collaborative research, we encourage reading this week’s special blog post on the Mental Health for Students & Youth Research Initiative!

*** Please note that the deadline to apply to this wonderful opportunity has been extended to January 11th, 2021! ***

It Takes A Village

This is a re-post from Redefining Traditional, a community aiming to equip student parents with the tools to navigate their various roles, build a community of support and belonging, as well as providing a space for productive dialogue amongst policy-makers to help reimagine higher education. If you’re interested in contributing to our online community, we encourage you to share your story as a student parent by filling out this form.


Heather Watts smiling to the camera
Heather Watts, Design Researcher

Throughout my childhood, I lived in a number of different communities and homes. Burlington, Ottawa, and Cambridge, Massachusetts are just a few placed I have called ‘home’ over the years. Our moves across Turtle Island were a result of different career opportunities my father pursuing. I remember the networks of friends and family that supported me as a young child: Anna in Burlington, Tara in Ottawa, and Robin and Charmaine in Cambridge. I’m sure there are many others, but these are folks I have vivid memories of riding bicycles in the driveway, taking long walks down our residential street, and playing hours of Monopoly with (you know you’re making an investment of time when you sit down to play Monopoly!) To these people, I thank you. You weren’t merely babysitters, or but people who I looked up to, confided in, and leaned on during my younger years.

What’s Happening November 16-20 on Stories from a Distance

Stories from a Distance encourages students to find community through conversation. Students can expect to be welcomed into a virtual space (over Zoom) created by and for students looking to invest in meaningful connections within their campus community over the Fall…

A First Look at Our #LearnWithIntegrity Campaign

What is academic integrity? Why is it important to understand? As we continue to learn and adapt to new changes, students are balancing new elements in their academic lives which can be immensely overwhelming. It’s important to think of how we can do this in the best way possible. In our #LearnWithIntegrity Campaign, we explored these themes for students by developing a visual campaign accessible for all, to help students learn and understand the meaning behind academic integrity.

What’s Happening November 9-13 on Stories from a Distance

Stories from a Distance encourages students to find community through conversation. Students can expect to be welcomed into a virtual space (over Zoom) created by and for students looking to invest in meaningful connections within their campus community over the Fall…

Delving into the Digital Campus – Exploring the Importance of Digital Communities to UofT Students

By Ayaan Hagar – Project Team Lead, Kethmi Egodage – Community, Social Connection & Support for Students Team Member, and Betelehem Gulilat – Lead Editor & Writer

Our new reality has accelerated change in all areas of our lives, from work to socializing, we’re staying connected to our communities through the most hyper-connected platform called the internet. What elements of digital connections and communities help students feel like they’re connected with one another? With this question in mind, we’d like to introduce the Digital Community Connectedness ProjectBuilding on our previous work, this project is exploring how the student experience of finding and engaging in community continues to shift during this timeand what implications this has for those who build and facilitate connections within the online UofT community.

What’s Happening November 2-6 on Stories from a Distance

Stories from a Distance encourages students to find community through conversation. Students can expect to be welcomed into a virtual space (over Zoom) created by and for students looking to invest in meaningful connections within their campus community over the Fall…

In Conversation with Sebastian Smith: Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 for International Students in Higher Education

By Betelehem Gulilat, Lead Writer and Editor 

What makes the international student experience different from those of domestic students?  Since the pandemica new set of challenges has emerged on top of the pre-pandemic realm of campus life that international students are valiantly navigating. In turning to our vibrant and diverse community at UofT, we hope to spark discussions by bringing student stories to light.