Digital Connectedness

A circular graphic that highlights which domains of innovation are associated to the project.

Community building at UofT has always been important. The pandemic has exacerbated community building, and students report that it has created increased disconnection through social isolation. We wanted to know what community building in this context entails. This project was carried out to provide insights to individuals offering programming & community building opportunities online, exploring the potential for digital communities to tap into new possibilities by fostering student-centric values and encouraging student-led participation.

Circle put together by puzzle pieces, with two hands helping build it.

Fostering Connectedness

Students experience a sense of belonging and connection within the UofT community.


Successful digital communities act as secure anchors for students, grounding them in meaningful engagement and giving them hope to continue through the struggles of the pandemic. Community builders can secure students in multiple ways: by creating open spaces that are attentive to intimacy and vulnerability; by developing and reasserting a shared community experience and history; by fostering student-centric and student/participant-led community online spaces. 

Our main themes include:  

  1. The Power of Vulnerability 
  2. Sharing Is Caring 
  3. Empowering Student Voices 

These themes and insights supported designing a set "Signals for Success", which include guiding ideas for the design of digital communities and examples of how to put these ideas into practice.

A visual that represents the research themes. These are conversation bubbles connecting with eachother, and icons representing engagement, belonging, and collaboration.

Research Team

Johanna Pokorny

Johanna Pokorny

Ayaan Hagar

Ayaan Hagar

Mona Adibmoradi

Mona Adib-Moradi Langroudi

A photo of Kethmi, with a dark blue background. She's looking to the camera with long dark and red hair.

Kethmi Egodage

Sanskriti is smiling towards the camera, they are outside with trees and scenery in the background

Sanskriti Maheshwari

Design & Communications Team

Kaitlyn wearing long pink earrings, standing infront of a brick wall

Kaitlyn Corlett

Ecem smiling to the camera wearing a green long sleeved shirt

Ecem Sungur


Cody Foo

Sophia Kurtz

Sophia Kurtz