2017 Session Speakers

The Digital Media in Education 2017 Conference will highlight 15 diverse and inspiring Sessional Speakers ranging in a variety of relevant topics inspired by the three conference tracks.

Here are just a few of them we would like you to meet first!

Claudia Krebs

Health Care Educator and Video Star

Dr. Krebs teaches both gross anatomy and neuroanatomy for a broad range of students: in the MD undergraduate program, allied health professions and biomedical engineering. She has applied innovative approaches to her teaching, most recently by flipping the neuroanatomy labs. This innovation was met with enthusiasm by the students and notably, led to better performance on exams. Together with her colleagues from Radiology, Dr. Krebs has been a driver for the continued integration between anatomy and radiology education in the MD undergraduate program. Due to her teaching skills and the innovations she has brought to the classroom she has received numerous teaching awards, both from her students and her peers at UBC and nationally. She has built a group of anatomy educators from across campus at UBC and from partner universities with whom she is building a joint set of educational resources, including video, e-books, and interactive web materials. Dr. Krebs has published a neuroscience textbook with a set of accompanying flashcards together with her colleagues Dr. Joanne Weinberg and Prof. Elizabeth Akesson, and Dr. Esma Dilli.
Dr. Krebs curates two websites with neuroanatomy and gross anatomy content ( and, which receive visits from around the world and contain material that supplements her teaching at UBC.


Learning the new digital literacy – the how and why of digital media production
There are many options on how best to engage our students, but with so many creative options on the table, deciding how, where and when to effectively use them can be challenging. We will look into the unique opportunities that video production provides for teaching and learning, with a focus on storytelling using sounds, images, and words. The role of interactive modules will be explored and how best to create them to complement the educational outcomes for a course. And last, but certainly not least, we will look into how the integration of technology changes the in class experience.

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Jeff Brum

Solution Consultant

Jeff has been immersed in virtual reality technologies for more than 15 years.  He is currently a solution consultant with Mechdyne, a VR and advanced visual systems developer that has delivered world-first solutions since 1996.  Based in Ontario, Jeff works with academic, manufacturing and other commercial markets to understand interests and requirements in order to provide unique solutions.  At Mechdyne, he has also served in senior marketing and global business development roles. Prior to Mechdyne, his work at virtual reality startup Fakespace Systems ranged from marketing, product management, sales and sales support.


VR – More Than Meets the Eyes
Virtual reality head mounted displays (HMDs) seem to be ubiquitous in the news and social forums today.  Much of the fanfare is about potential for VR gaming, social and educational applications.  These are not new goals nor are they the only applications for VR technology.  VR has been in use for research and business applications for decades and continues to contribute to product development and breakthrough discoveries.  Learning about VR now could open up future opportunities.  This presentation will cover what makes a VR experience effective in engaging the brain; how VR is being applied in universities and businesses; and what to consider if you are thinking about working with VR.

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Brittany Calibaba

Animator & Undergraduate Science Student

Brittany Calibaba is a third-year Biochemistry student at the University of British Columbia. She started animating at the age of 10 while living in Saudi Arabia, and fell in love with the lively medium. Despite having a passion for sciences, Brittany always finds a way to incorporate the creative digital medium of animation in her life. Along the way, she has had countless teachers encouraging and guiding her journey with animation. She has done two animations for her high school, and two animations for BARK, a program with dogs designed to reduce stress and homesickness of students while fostering a community on campus. Brittany is also the Gold medal winner of Skills Alberta (2013, 2014) and Skills Canada (2014) for 2D Animation, where she went with a partner to compete and create an animation in a two day time limit. She volunteers at BARK, the Kelowna General Hospital, as a tutor, and as a peer mentor. She hopes to continue to use animation as a tool to enhance her learning and development and give her a diverse perspective.


An Animated Education
Award winning Animator UBC Science student Brittany Calibaba shares her journey into Animation fostered by the support of educators and her love of Digital Media Arts. Brittany will showcase the evolution of her work and the important role educators had in helping her development her skills.

Jeff Myers

Executive Producer and Entrepreneur


Jeff has been working with video for over 17 years. Some highlights over that time have included starting multiple companies, helping to create the media centre at UBC Okanagan, and is President and co-founder of the The Film Factory. Some projects highlights over this past year have included shooting aerial work for two films starring Nicolas Cage, Wesley Snipes and a documentary that aired on NBC.   We also have the pleasure of filming Pamela Anderson and the Royal Family among many other fun projects.  His camera work has appeared on networks such as Discovery Channel, TSN, CBC, Global and NBC.


Don’t Fear the Drone – Why aerial video is a great tool in our kit

A brief talk about how we use aerial video to help tell a story while saving time and money on set.


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Susan Murphy

Digital Media Specialist

Susan has been working in media and communications for 26 years and is co-founder of Jester Creative. She is an award winning television producer with hundreds of shows to her credit in a variety of genres. She has spent several years working as a web and digital marketing specialist in many disciplines, including web marketing, e-Learning, web video and social media. Susan works closely with the programming/development team, and the content development teams. You can also find Suze online hanging out @suzemuse on Twitter, on Twitter, and on her personal blog, Suzemuse.


How to Create Content that Speaks to People
Everyone has a story to tell, but in a sea of information, it can be discouraging to try to create content that matters to your audience. Susan discusses some methods for developing and producing content that people will notice. You need to decide what stories to tell and how to deliver them most effectively. And once you’re wowing people with your stuff, she’ll provide some practical tips on how to keep the momentum going. After all, content is King…and everyone wants their time on the throne.

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Duncan Mchugh

Digital Media Specialist

Since 2005, Duncan McHugh has been the Digital Media Specialist in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at the University of British Columbia. In that time, he has worked with video, audio, photography, social media, digital storytelling and web design. He teaches a course in podcasting and provides numerous digital media-related workshops to faculty and students. He’s also the host of “Duncan’s Donuts,” a weekly radio show on CiTR 101.9fm, UBC’s radio station.


Podcasts in the Hands of Students 
The tools of podcasting and digital storytelling have become more and more accessible in the last decade. UBC’s LFS 400: Audio Storytelling course makes use of these tools, teaching students to use audio technology and a journalistic framework in order to tell powerful stories and present academic content in engaging new ways. By the end of each term, student have created 10-minute podcasts to share with the world. This session will look at how this course came to be, how it’s evolved, and the challenges of having students work in a new medium and in a public forum.

Aleksandra Dulic

Digital Media Specialist, UBC

Dr. Aleksandra Dulic is an internationally recognized media artist and scholar working in multimedia and live performance with research foci in computational poetics and cross-cultural media performance. She is Director of the Centre for Culture and Technology at UBC, in Kelowna, Canada, where her interdisciplinary research teams focus on climate change communication, gaming and interactive art.


Jeannette Angel is an Interdisciplinary PhD Candidate in creative practice at the Centre for Culture and Technology at UBC in Kelowna, Canada. Her research focuses on creative, experiential approaches for community engagement in sustainability challenges. Current projects include experience designer for an art-science exhibition, The Social Life of Water in the Okanagan.

Matthew Fritter is completing his Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Computer Science with a minor in History. He is a researcher at the Centre for Culture and Technology, working with an interdisciplinary team on a climate change game, Future Delta 2.0, and an interactive display, Right of Way for The Social Life of Water exhibition at the Okanagan Heritage Museum.


3D Gaming may help foresee the future

What happens when storytelling and exploration of the effects of climate change is fused within a virtual 3D gaming environment?  Great teaching, of course! Future Delta 2.0, is a 3D simulation game project where (students) players can experience different possibilities while simultaneously making connections across current challenges and future solutions. UBC researchers co-designed this digital media resource with high school students and teachers as a means to facilitate understanding, action and possible solutions for local climate change challenges in Delta, BC.  Dr. Aleksandra Dulic and associates will present experience design inquiry as a process that bridges the gap between scientific knowledge, climate change modelling and future projections with human creativity and imagination as catalysts for action using digital media


Armin Mortazavi

Science cartoonist & Designer

Armin Mortazavi is a science cartoonist with a BSc in Microbiology and a Master in Digital Media. His last project was an interactive comic about mental health and wellness for the new BC curriculum. He currently works at Science World and sometimes spends too much money at Wendy’s. Armin is very passionate about science communication and its power to shape society.


An Artsy Science-y Guide to Working with People Outside of Your Field.

As Armin recounts his tales of hustling as a science cartoonist, he dissects his lessons learned into a step-by-step guide on how to work and communicate with people who have different professional backgrounds. Even those suit-wearing business types. 

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Miles Thorogood

Digital Media Artist and Educator

Miles Thorogood is a digital media artist and educator, teaching computer science and digital media courses at UBC’s Okanagan campus. Miles’ research includes encoding human creative processes and analyzing human experience through the lens of perceptual psychology in order to create computational models for new tools in media production.


The Potential for Artificial Intelligence in Digital Media.

The coming of age of artificial intelligence (AI) into modern technology promises many possibilities with human-machine engagement. This new position of AI has the potential to transform the media production landscape, affecting the way in which we work. I discuss the state of the art research toward computationally assistive tools that will be informing media production shortly.

How Experimental Art and Design Transforms Digital Media Production

Artists and designers are always looking at experimenting with new technologies. The education space allows for the time and resources for playing with technologies that are yet to become standard in practice. These experiments often result in as many failures as successes, but those that do succeed are transformational on the landscape of digital media production.

Dr. Fred Cutler

Educator and Developer

Fred Cutler currently serves as Academic Chair – Arts Instructional Support and Informational Technology. He is co-founder and President of ISIT Technology, makers of a learning technology called WeVu.Video.


UBC’s Collaborative Learning Annotation System Turns ‘Video for Education’ on its Head

In this session, we will present the genesis of the CLAS web application at UBC, show its capabilities, drill down into its use as a tool for student engagement around digital media, and describe the commercialization process.

Co-presenter Garth Evans, learning technologist with the Southern Medical Program will describe a use case for CLAS/WeVu around simulations in nursing education.

Saeed Dyanatkar

Executive Producer and Emerging Media Adventurer

Saeed Dyanatkar is the Executive Producer at UBC Studios & UBC Emerging Media Lab in Vancouver, BC. EML provides an incubation space in which new ideas could flourish and become new tools or processes to enhance learning and research at UBC. He has a background in systems design, information technology and emerging media technologies and has been working within academia on adopting emerging forms of media to enhance knowledge translation and learning experience.

The award-wining project, the first Augmented Reality enabled learning module at UBC (a first of its kind among Canadian universities) is one of the examples of his colaborations. Beside producing content for a number of university courses he has also produced multiple Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) including a co-production with Stanford University with the uptake of over 100.000 students in its first offering.


Dr. Matthew Yedlin

 Educator and Emerging Media Enthusiast

Matt Yedlin is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (EECE) at UBC. His principal research interests are digital signal processing and ground penetrating radar imaging. He analyzes ground penetrating radar data recorded in the galleries of the former French nuclear weapons ICBM launch facility. Concurrently, with Dr. Guy Dumont of EECE, Matt is analyzing electroencephalographic recordings obtained in the shielded control room of the same facility.

ince 2007, Matt has been applying the latest teaching technology to his electrical engineering classes. As a two-time Killam teaching prize recipient, Matt is passionate to engage the students in the most optimal way. He has pushed the lightboard presentation techniques to its limits, including video, chroma keying, and interactivity all embedded in the recorded presentation. His latest activity includes linking lightboard videos to virtual reality exercises on the HTC VIVE and Hololens.


Introduction to Immersive Technologies and its Potential Role in Education

What are immersive media such as virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality? How do they work? How are they different from traditional media? Why an educational institution should care about them? How can they be used in education or research? At this hands on workshop participants will get a chance to learn and try these technologies and discuss above questions.

Creating emotional connections with Technology

The key element in student engagement is the affective connection with learning elements and materials. The lightboard is ideally suited for creating this connection, a consequence of the eye contact of the presenter with the viewer. Examples of lightboard presentation techniques will demonstrate this strong connection and how the lightboard can be used as the ideal vehicle for students as producers.

Jamil Rhajiak

Digital Communications Specialist

Jamil specializes in digital media project planning and execution and is a long-serving member of UBC’s Communications & Marketing team. With a deep passion for photography and videography, Jamil enjoys the balance of technical, artistic, and systems-based aspects to digital marketing.


Creating for Social Consumers

In this session we will cover how to create and distribute content on different social platforms so that they are optimized to perform at their best. We’ll look at the lessons learned and strategies employed by UBC’s Communications & Marketing team in meeting the needs of content-hungry social media platforms. This session will also include practical planning, production, and distribution advice for content creators.

Justin Williams

Interactive Design Lead

Justin has over a decade of digital design experience, spanning multiple formats – web, touchscreen, augmented reality, gesture, and projection. As the Interactive Design Lead at NGX Interactive in Vancouver, he designs interactive exhibits for museums, science centres, and other cultural institutions. Justin is also a Digital Design mentor at Vancouver Film School.


Fostering Learning Through Gamification

Gamification at its essence is designing experiences to make completing tasks feel more like playing. How can it be used to foster learning? Justin will analyze digital interactive exhibits created for science centres and museums, and identify how gamification was used to achieve learning objectives for various audiences. Learn how giving choices, challenges, and rewards can make learning interesting, engaging, and memorable.


Amy McIntosh

Digital Media Specialist

Amy Mcintosh has been working as a Digital Media Specialist at the Paul R. MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Excellence in Teaching at McMaster Univeristy for 4 years. Her areas of expertise include graphic design, video production, web design, as well as PR and communications. She has background in fine art and multi-media, and is a co-founder and administrator of Hamilton’s Audio Visual Node (HAVN) – a collective art studio that features multi-media art installation, exhibitions, concerts, and a lot more.

Biljana Njegovan

Digital Media Specialist

 As a Digital Media Specialist at MacPherson Institute Biljana is involved in all sorts of projects ranging from PR and communications work, course and module development, and web design. She enjoys staying on top of technology news and developments, as well as design trends. Biljana is a passionate music fan and have been keeping a music website ( for several years. She spends a lot of time interviewing musicians and trying to stay on top of new music.


Distrupting the Same Old: Blogging with Media to Translate Knowledge

This session will focus on Disrupted (Education Interrupted), a teaching and learning blog from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Our session will explore the task of knowledge translation through media-rich blogging. We’ll take you through our process of managing a multi-authored teaching & learning blog where dense academic writing is re-imagined through a multimedia approach. Attendees will be presented with our fun and engaging talk that’s problem / solution focused. We’ve been through the trenches of setting up an ‘exciting’ teaching and learning blog in the academy and we’ve picked up some tried and true methods and approaches that we will share with the audience.

Attendees will learn how to leverage media production ( video production techniques, visual story teling, and more) to create and sustain a blog in higher education. Our discussion will include: community building, curating the blog by committee, managing submissions from students to internationally acclaimed academics, crafting attention grabbing graphics and titles, working with stakeholders, social media and promotion, and media production

Using Disrupted (Education Interrupted) as a case study – we will explore the challenges and successes of Digital Media Specialists and Academics joining forces to create a successful blog initiative.

Tyler Finley

Digital Content and Social Media Specialist

Tyler Finley is a digital content and social media specialist from Kelowna, B.C. He earned a B.A. in English from UBCO in 2009, followed by graduate studies-level coursework in English at UBCO and extensive professional development in Communications and Digital Media.

Prior to joining Okanagan College’s Public Affairs Department in 2014, Tyler worked as a program manager and digital content curator for a national non-profit arts and environmental education initiative, and has provided digital media consulting for a number of educational organizations in Canada. He has a passion for writing of all forms, including online media, fiction, journalism and scholarly writing.


LIVE Streaming and Other Digital Media for Sharing Student and Faculty Stories

Livestreaming via Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and other platforms is becoming an increasingly important tool in showcasing student, faculty and organizational stories. It provides a unique real-time window into the educational experience and brings student and faculty work to the forefront. New streaming tools and techniques also offer extensive in-class avenues for collaboration and engagement within institutions and with the community at-large. This session will provide insight into a number of tools and strategies for planning, promoting, executing and leveraging social media streaming in and out of the classroom. Attendees will come away with a clear sense of how to coordinate a stream across a variety of platforms and using an array of different digital devices.

Dave Fracchia

Digital Media Specialist

Dave Fracchia is a Professor of Professional Practice at the Centre for Digital Media (a joint venture of SFU, UBC, ECUAD and BCIT), where he teaches Game Design. Prior to this he was the Studio Head and Vice President of Technology at Radical Entertainment and Senior Director at Activision Central Studios, Vice President of Technology at Rainmaker/Mainframe Entertainment, Associate Professor in the School of Computing Science at Simon Fraser University, and Postdoctoral Associate / Lecturer in the Mathematics and Computer Science Departments at Yale University. Dave has authored over 50 journal and conference papers, and has over 35 credits in video games (such as Prototype and Destiny), direct-to-video movies (such as Stuart Little and Barbie), and television series (such as ReBoot and Spider-Man).  This is his first foray into games for education…


Alternate Reality Games in the Classroom

Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) are a subcategory of “pervasive games” that tell a transmedia story through gameplay which extends to the real physical world.  An ARG typically places players in the role of investigator, who must solve puzzles in order to advance the narrative through physical and digital means.  What makes such games so immersive is that they blur the lines between fiction and reality by not explicitly acknowledging either.

 ARGs are a natural way of bringing play and creative critical thinking into a classroom and can be designed as a set of custom modules to fit practically any lesson, unit or curriculum, as well as the unique skillset of educators and student learning outcomes.  Dr. Fracchia will present an ARG prototype called Agents of Change, developed at the Centre for Digital Media in collaboration with UBC CALP (the co-creators of Future Delta 2.0 with CCT, UBC Okanagan), with the focus on creating a force multiplier for engaging high school students about climate change.

Dave will also explain how the tag line for AOG “It’s more REAL than you think” actually became a bit more real than we thought…

Mark Hauk

Virtual Field Trip Coordinator

Mark Hauk is a UBC alumnus – B.HK (94), B.Ed (95) and has been teaching in British Columbia for over 20 years. He’s a big proponent of effective use of technology in education and has been running the Virtual Field Trip program in School District 23 (along with Merle Ross) for about five years.


Virtual Field Tripping

School District 23 been running a Virtual Field Trip program for several years enabling students to connect to scientists, authors, explorers, astronauts, and many more via live interactive videoconference. We’ve connected with NASA engineers building the ORION spacecraft, talked live with scuba divers on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, spoken to WWII Holocaust survivors, toured the International Space Station, and participated in live dinosaur digs in Utah & New Mexico – just to name a few! In this session we’ll present what we’ve learned and how easy and inexpensive it can be to host Virtual Field Trips in your own classroom.

Strang Burton

Linguistics Instructor and Media Developer

Strang Burton is an instructor in linguistics at the UBC Vancouver campus, and has worked for many years as a linguist and media developer with the Stolo Nation.


Spot the Canadian – Using CLAS to Connect Linguistics to the Language of Their Lives

The session will describe how we are using a combination of custom videos and popular songs, both presented through CLAS, to connect students work in introductory linguistics courses to (a) the dialects spoken by other undergraduates, and (b) the language of popular music and songs. We will demonstrate how videos can make otherwise abstract problems in linguistics relevant to the speech and dialects of other undergraduates and the language of songs that the students listen to. Students will see examples of how problems and data-sets can be made richer by connecting them to the students ‘real life’ experiences, through digital media.

Steff Farrar

Linguistics Instructor and Media Developer

Steff Farrar has just joined Okanagan Collage as the Department Chair and Professor of the new Animation Diploma program starting this Fall in the Okanagan Centre for Innovation.  She is from the east coast with almost 25 years of experience in film, television, animation and gaming. She has always had a passion for teaching and sharing her knowledge of animation.


It Started With A Spark

Steff Farrar will speak about how the flame of digital media in education has made a profound difference between the, then and now teaching of this incredible art form.

Brian Wilson

Curriculum Manager, Vantage College

Brian will be co-leading this session/workshop with Project collaborators from UBC Vantage College and UBC Studios, Sukh Jhangri – Marketing & Recruitment Manager, Kirk Karasin – Media Specialist and Austin Kvaale – Film & Digital Media Assistant


Bringing the Campus to the Living Room: Creating 360 VR Video Content

This session will discuss the creation and application of 360 video media in the context of international student recruitment. UBC Vantage 360: A Scenic Tour was a collaboration between UBC Vantage College and UBC Studios in order to make the campus accessible to students unable to physically visit prior to starting their studies. We will talk about the creative and technical challenges, including elements of effective storytelling and editing. We will also discuss lessons learned and suggest best practices for future projects. We will have a 6 camera GoPro 360 camera rig on hand to demonstrate the process of capturing, processing and delivering 360 video.





Ignite 2017 Digital Media in Education Conference is a two day plus one, gathering of digital media professionals and educators excited to share, explore and advance education and research through digital media technology.