University of Victoria study puts out call for northern students

Researchers are trying to understand how post-secondary students from small northern communities are coping with “zoom university.”

A study titled Monitoring Outcomes of Northern Students’ Resilience in Isolated and Secluded Environments – also known by its catchier acronym, Moonrise – is a fourth-year thesis project for University of Victoria student Cheiyenne Fontanilla.

“The purpose of the study is to develop an understanding of the mental and emotional experiences of individuals from isolated and secluded northern environments,” said Fontanilla in an email.


Many northern students have been forced to attend university virtually for at least a portion of the pandemic.

The study is recruiting students or former students between 18 and 25 years old who are a current or former resident of a Canadian territory, are enrolled in a post-secondary institution, and have completed at least one semester of online school.

Students who choose to participate will receive a booklet with more information once they’ve registered. The study will not identify participants by name.

Fontanilla said she hopes to determine which factors lead to positive online learning outcomes among students.


The study consists of a brief survey, a cognitive test, and an optional interview over video chat that gives participants an opportunity to expand on their experience.

Many post-secondary students attending universities elsewhere in Canada recently returned to NWT communities.

Fontanilla’s findings could have implications for those students as well as the long-awaited transformation of Aurora College into a polytechnic university, which the NWT government has said may explore digital offerings.

Fontanilla encouraged interested students to contact