Tech2U – Humanizing Classroom Technical Support

Written by Sanskriti Maheshwari, Senior Research Assistant, Transforming the Instructional Landscape  The Tech2U program launched in the fall of 2021 with the goal of humanizing classroom technical support to foster innovative teaching and learning in an increasingly technological classroom landscape.…

Researchers Reflect: The Impact of Small Interactions

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. 

Project Insights from ‘Celebrating International Students: Being Brave Away from Home’

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.

Exciting Opportunity to Learn Design Thinking and Be Involved With the Innovation Hub!

Are you a student or staff at U of T who is passionate about making a difference? Join our Design thinking Experience Program where we explore the student experience and learn about design thinking to make change. We are thrilled to be launching our Design Thinking Experience Program this Winter 2022 semester. Running weekly on Wednesdays 2:00-4:00PM from February 2 until April 6, this is a 10-week boot-camp style program that will provide you with: 

  • an introduction to innovation and Design Thinking 
  • experience conducting qualitative research 
  • teamwork skills and connections on campus 
  • an opportunity to generate ideas to improve the student experience at U of T 
A blue and white graphic that reads 'The Design Thinking Experience Program' with colourful icons representing innovation and collaboration

Reflecting on Future Impact: Trans Awareness week & The Innovation Hub

Written By Sofia Callaghan, Izzy Friesen, Serena Singh – Design Research Assistants for the Trans and Nonbinary Student Experiences Project 

Sofia Callaghan

Izzy Friesen

Serena, Singh

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.  

Join the Innovation Hub & Improve Student Experience as a Community Animator!

Applications are now open We’re looking for students who would love to volunteer and contribute to our community! Deadline to Apply: January 16th The Innovation Hub seeks to improve University of Toronto campus life by understanding and researching the experiences of…

Returning to Campus: New Directions

Beth smiling towards the camera in a bright and sunny garden.

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. 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.   

Researchers Reflect: The Power of Empathy

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.

Amal is wearing a jean jacket, smiling towards the camera with a whit ebackground.

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 CampusLet’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.