Designing Virtual Spaces with Accessibility in Mind
By Betelehem Gulilat, Lead Writer & Editor and Philippa Gosine, Senior Research Assistant
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 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 accomodating students in their online learning.
What’s Happening November 23-27 on Stories from a Distance
Student & Youth Mental Health Research Initiative – The Student Advisory Committee
By Emma McCann – Engagement Lead & Kristin Cleverley – Chair, Student & Youth Mental Health Research Initiative
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.
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.
How Online Learning can be Improved through Learner-Centered Design
Written by Nicholas Smith – Design Research Assistant for Transforming the Instructional Landscape
The COVID-19 pandemic greatly accelerated the integration of digital technology into instructional spaces, introducing discomfort and uncertainty into previously familiar terrain. Building on the healthcare concept of “patient-centred care,” this report proposes a model of “learner-centred design” as a means of contending with this discomfort in the implementation of new learning spaces. By putting users first, we hope to build learning spaces that empower instructors to experiment with new technology while meeting our users where they are—no matter if they are a technological expert or a complete novice.
What’s Happening November 16-20 on Stories from a Distance
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
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 Project. Building on our previous work, this project is exploring how the student experience of finding and engaging in community continues to shift during this time, and what implications this has for those who build and facilitate connections within the online UofT community.