This blog post is part of Researchers Reflect, a series where we embark on the journey of a design researcher at the Innovation Hub. Each post will spotlight a different design researcher’s experience, stories, and learning moments throughout the course of their research.
Written by Sabrina Wu, Senior Research Assistant
In the past, I often associated research with substantial findings and grand theories. But the key to needs-finding and design thinking research can actually lie in what is ordinary and familiar – small daily interactions. My work at the Innovation Hub allowed me to closely experience and hear the impact small interactions have on students and researchers.
Written by Robin Martin, Serena Tran & Yuwei Jiang, Design Research Assistants for the Celebrating International Students Project
Illustrations by Nikhil Pawar & Marielle Dilla – Digital Storytellers
The international student experience at the University of Toronto (U of T) is anything but homogenous. The Celebrating International Students project began during the 2019-2020 Design Thinking Experience Program (DTEP), and quickly took off after recognizing just how complex, and at times similar, the challenges of being an international student truly is. Over the last year and a half our research teams have delved into our archive of more than 600 interviews to get a broadened sense of the international student experience from before and during pandemic. We were also grateful to have interviewed several U of T staff in October to round out the data even further.
In this blog post, we will be sharing the main insights we have uncovered after interviewing and carefully analyzing our existing data, as well as our team members’ personal reflections from this project. We also share Building Bravery Design Principles to empower one another in celebrating international students at U of T, and a link to our report.
Written By Sofia Callaghan, Izzy Friesen, Serena Singh – Design Research Assistants for the Trans and Nonbinary Student Experiences Project
Trans Awareness Week (November 13th-19th), and Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20th) is approaching, and so we’d like to share some research that the Innovation Hub is working on with the Sexual and Gender Diversity Office (SGDO).
Students are often queried by the University for their name and gender, which they can change using the change of name and gender request form; we wanted to learn more about the experiences of trans, nonbinary and/or otherwise gender nonconforming students navigating this form and other gender queries made by the University.
Written by Betelehem Gulilat, Content Writer
Illustrated by Anna Tram, Digital Storyteller
We are two months into the fall semester. Classes have picked up, we are in the heart of midterm season and students are establishing a routine across their academic, work and social lives. Yet similar to last year, this school year is not quite like the rest. After spending the past year and a half at Zoom University, UofT students are returning to campus with mixed emotions from excitement, frustration, joy, anxiousness, more and everything in between.
Fragments of normalcy can be seen walking through St. George Street, while waiting in line at the bookstore, or finding a seat at the library. But despite this ‘normalcy’, we cannot deny the gaps that endured in pre-pandemic student life as much as the ones emerging post-pandemically. A recent poll conducted by KPMG surveyed more than a thousand Canadian postsecondary students and discovered that 78 percent of students agree the pandemic has “fundamentally changed” their expectations of their higher education experience.
This blog post is the first of Researchers Reflect, a new series where we embark on the journey of a design researcher at the Innovation Hub. Each post will spotlight a different design researcher sharing their stories, experience and learning moments throughout the course of their research.
Written by Amal Yusuf, UTQAP Research Coordinator
Since 2019, I was given the privilege and trust to listen to students’ stories and experiences throughout a variety of projects, such as the Presidential and Provostial Task Force for Student Mental Health, Food Insecurity on Campus, Let’s Talk About Failure Project, Student Experiences at Rotman Commerce, and much more! Being a part of this work has been a real growing experience for me. Today, I will be sharing a bit about this journey and how it has made an impact in my area of work and studies.
As we enter a brand-new term, the Innovation Hub is excited to welcome our Fall/Winter 2021-22 Team! Each year our team is expanding along with our growing number of partnerships and are pleased to continue designing with and for students at the University of Toronto. In support of our expansion, we are grateful to be transitioning to a new workspace on campus where we plan to follow a hybrid work model to provide flexibility & space for innovation.
Written by Sanskriti Maheshwari, Rosemarie Shephard, and Amal Yusuf, Data Analysis Researchers for the Let’s Talk About Failure project
The Innovation Hub partnered with the Division of Student Life Academic Resilience Initiative to learn about UofT students’ experiences with failure: how they define failure, how they endure it, and the impact it has on their lives. We explored existing data on the topic in our archive of over 600 interviews and reached out to students at UofT to take part in our dialogue-based feedback sessions. We approached this project with the intention of hearing from and listening to students’ stories surrounding failure in their own words and on their own terms.