I have always been interested in, and fascinated by the affordances of digital technologies. In 2002, I was hired by the Office of Continuing Professional Education (OCPE, now PDCE) in the Faculty of Education at UBC to convert courses from a correspondence model into online and blended formats. For me, this project meant more than changing the medium of teaching: it meant an exciting ongoing opportunity to explore how we learn and change through that process.
Working with different Departments that have specific focus, such as Special Education or Counseling, has been an inspiration for me to go deeper and explore accessibility on the web. As a result, our Faculty has been creating courses that follow the WCAG standards since 2006. For a number of years, we were the only faculty at UBC that ensured every online course was accessible.
Having a connection to NITEP (Native Indigenous Teacher Education Program) as a unique part of the Faculty was another intriguing opportunity to re-think the role of digital technologies, this time in the context of Indigenous ways of knowing. How can rich oral culture benefit from learning online? This inquiry resulted in creating the first blended model course in 2007 offered to the NITEP students in Kamloops, Duncan, Bella Coola and on Vancouver campus.
My work extends beyond the UBC and has reached communities across the globe. In 2011, I examined the impact of mobile devices as learning tools. I have implemented game-based learning, worked on designing courses for refugee teachers in Dadaab (Kenya), managed the development of MOOCs (Massive Online Open Course) “Reconciliation through Indigenous education”, about mental health, autism, anti-racism, and other projects that brought diversity of experiences and culturally-responsive practice.
From 2004 to 2016, I have brought over $420,000 to the Faculty of Education through various grants and awards (almost a grant per year), which have provided employment for over 20 students.