U of T recruiting for the ACORN Student Advisory Team

User experience designer watches student go through usability test

More than 900 students and hundreds of research activities and tests have helped to make ACORN and associated applications all that they are today. Now, U of T’s ACORN Student Advisory Team is recruiting new participants to continue to help shape the student experience.

When students join the team, they can expect to attend 45-minute sessions that include activities such as interviews and usability testing. The results will directly inform improvements to projects – from ACORN to applications like the Financial Planning Calculator and GPA Calculator.

“The user-centred design process that we follow is crucial,” says Michael Clark, Manager of User Experience & Process Design with Enterprise Applications and Solutions Integration (EASI). “Students are part of the formative research, iterative design and post-release community engagement process. When they join our team, they’ll make a difference for their own experiences with U of T’s online services and for other students for years to come.”

Currently, the Advisory Team consists of approximately 150 participants, and organizers are hoping to increase engagement across all three campuses.

“Since starting in 2016, I’ve provided feedback on six applications,” says Melissa Ng, a fifth-year computer science and cognitive science student. “One usability test I did was for the user interface which allows students to find awards, grants and loans in ACORN. The team is really friendly and it’s great to know that my opinion has made an impact on important projects.”

Students like Melissa not only help to improve student life at U of T, but can also add the experience to their Co-Curricular Record, an official record of their co-curricular involvement at U of T. They can also gain practical project experience and build their resumes.

“We want to continue to build a community of students who are interested in improving student services,” says Laura Klamot, “This includes recruiting students from all divisions, years, programs, campuses and also students with accessibility needs.”

In the past, research and testing activities have improved usability, accessibility and have helped U of T to prioritize projects.

“We genuinely want to include students in the process,” says Clark. “Beyond caring about what they have to say, we want to give them a seat at the table to help them determine the strategic direction we plan to take with new initiatives, and to help make existing products and services even better.”

Are you interested in joining the ACORN Student Advisory Team? Sign up to make an impact on the student experience.