Rhonda McEwen Associate Director, Assistant Professor

I'm Rhonda McEwen and I am an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto Mississauga where I teach and conduct research on New Media. I spend most of my time at the Institute of Communication, Culture and Information Technology at UTM where I work with bright undergraduates, and I work with stellar graduate students at the iSchool (Faculty of Information) on the St. George campus. My research and teaching centre around information practices involving new media technologies. I actively engage with questions on how we use, seek, share, and create information by using devices to talk, text, tweet, collect images, message via Facebook, LinkedIn, and other IM, at work and play. I also examine the ways that we perform identities in both 'real' and virtual worlds through avatars; how we integrate location awareness in our interactions; and I consider the consequences of the uses of technologies on our communication, sociality, and humanity.

In exploring these topics I focus on a few areas more specifically - I research augmentative communications technologies for people with neuro-diverse development such as Autism; youth media practices; network analysis; and social media design. From a technical perspective I have a graduate degree in telecommunications engineering, and I have worked in the digital communications industry for 15 years, both in companies providing services and in management consulting to those companies. I have found that experience and knowledge in both the social and technical aspects of media technologies allow me to bring a nuanced perspective to understanding these issues in my research, and in discussing these topics with students.

Currently I am excited about my research on the use of iPod and iPad devices by non-verbal Autistic children for communication and sociality, in two Toronto school settings. For more details, have a look at my research page.


News & Updates


Semaphore welcomes new developer-in-residence by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Jul 14th, 2016

Semaphore is pleased to welcome our newest Developer-in-Residence, Pierre Séguin as part of our Experts-in-Residence program.

Pierre is the CEO of Brili, Inc.  A leader in...

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Rhonda McEwen interviewed by CBC after Paris attacks by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Nov 21st, 2015

Facebook users question French flag photo tool

... The desire of Facebook users to express their grief over the [Paris] attacks and support for victims is natural, said McEwen, who has done research on...

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Footwear Futures: What Will You Make? by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Mar 28th, 2015

Free 3D printing workshop for kids ages 9-13 at Bata Shoe Museum

April 18th, 19th, 25th or 26th

Learn how to 3D print! Join us at the Bata Shoe Museum for a workshop bringing ideas about...

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Rhonda McEwen discusses youth and technology with The Globe and Mail by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Sep 27th, 2014

Youth and technology: power and danger

Technology and science have the power to transform lives – to take humankind where no one has gone before, effect change, and better the Earth...

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Semaphore Colloquium Series: Quantifying Children’s Intuitive Interactions with Tablet Computers by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Oct 23rd, 2013

Do tablet technologies actually help children learn?

Adam Dubé, a post-doctoral fellow at Semaphore, is working with Professor Rhonda McEwen on a research project that looks at...

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Seeking University of Toronto Faculty to be Semaphore Affiliates by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Apr 15th, 2014

Seeking new faculty affiliates from University of Toronto St. George, Scarborough, and Mississauga campuses

The Semaphore Research Cluster on Mobile and Pervasive Computing seeks new faculty affiliates from University of Toronto St. George, Scarborough, and Mississauga campuses. We are...

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Semaphore Teams Up with the Centre for Responsible Brainwave Technologies by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Apr 3rd, 2014

Semaphore is pleased to announce that they will be the local academic partner for the Centre for Responsible Brainwave Technologies (CeReB). A not-for-profit, non-partisan body...

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Rhonda McEwen discusses Twitter on CBC's Fresh Air by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Aug 1st, 2013

CBC -  Fresh Air guest host Danielle Harder and new media expert Rhonda McEwen discuss the evolution of Twitter.  To hear...

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TAGLab visits Semaphore by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Jun 15th, 2013

On June 13th, 2013 the Technologies for Aging Gracefully Lab (TAGlab) paid a visit to Semaphore. Over the hour-long lunch meeting, both labs...

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