Integrating Student Personas (aka Student Stories) into inclusive design discussions.

Any decisions, any of us make, are design decisions.”1

This resource collection of Student Personas / Student Stories can be used to guide and support inclusive-design-in-education discussions with ANYONE involved in post-secondary teaching and learning — including those with roles in leadership, administration and services.

The 20 (and growing) student stories in this collection represent individuals in our diverse post-secondary communities. Some of the stories are composites of documented students’ experiences and some are real stories shared with us by real students.

These stories are intended to prompt post-secondary educators, administrators and service providers to consider the wide range of lived experiences, backgrounds and abilities present in our learning spaces; they are not intended to replace meaningful conversations with real students. Considering these stories might help to inform those conversations however. They might also prompt us to examine, review, and adjust our design decisions going forward by learning about experiences we didn’t know about before.

To engage group discussion or guide reflection activities:

  • Provide every workshop attendee or discussion participant with one of the 20 Student Personas that are shared on this website.
  • Ask each person to imagine that this student is in their classroom, or is accessing support from their service area.
  • Then have each person consider what ‘their’ student’s experiences might be like in their classroom space or online course or campus service. Could something in the design of those spaces, resources, and services create barriers to that student’s access and engagement?

About this resource collection.

The illustrated Student Personas presented in this section are released under a CC-BY-4.0 license (with 3 exceptions for the stories of Shane, Melissa, and Alisha; these are licensed as CC BY-NC-ND). The collection began as a derivative Open Education Resource (OER) that grew out of the BCcampus Open Education Accessibility Toolkit (2015; 2018; see also “Appendix B: Redesign or Accommodation? Activity“). Contributors to this growing collection of student stories are from:

2019 additions

Stories: Members of the Camosun College community, including students and the Centre for Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CETL), added 4 new student-stories to this collection: Megan, Taa-heh (Jane), Yuki, and Zishan.

Persona illustrations: CETL also commissioned two students from the Visual Arts program to create 5 new illustrations for this collection:

  1. Andew Fryer is the artist behind the new illustrations of Ramone, Yuki, and Zishan.
    (“Ramone” was already a student in the existing collection, but his new illustration replaces the CC0 clipart version from previous iterations of this resource.)
  2. Calin Jennings is the artist behind the new illustrations of Megan and Miriam.
    (“Miriam” was already a student in the existing collection, but her new illustration replaces the CC0 clipart version from previous iterations of this resource.)

2020 additions

Stories: Shane and Melissa were my student partners during  “Phase 2” (2019/20) of the UDL Project. Their stories have been added to this collection.

Persona illustrations: Visual Arts graduate, Andrew Fryer is also the artist behind the new illustrations for Shane and Melissa.

2022 additions

Story & Persona illustration: Alisha is a recent graduate of the Indigenous Studies Program at Camosun College. I had the privilege of providing support for her “Heart Berry Methodology” project in the 2022 Winter term. Alisha has gifted her story to this collection, and she is also the artist behind her own Persona illustration.

1 Jess Mitchell, excerpted from BCcampus Inclusive Design Webinar Series, Part 1 (Feb.5, 2019) with Jess Mitchell from the IDRC.