Ruth has over 20 years of experience in the post-secondary sector in a variety of roles, including student services, teaching and facilitation, registrar and other senior administrative roles. Currently, as the manager of the course design team at the Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL), Memorial University, she manages a team of approximately 15 eLearning professionals who are responsible for ensuring the effective use of technology in teaching, either online or in-class. Prior to coming to Memorial, Ruth offered her eLearning expertise to the Engineering and Computer Science Co-op Office at Dalhousie University in an effort to build online resources to support students during co-op placements and had helped to ensure specific requirements of Engineering Graduate Attributes were being met. Prior to this Ruth was the Director, eLearning at Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning for 10 years.
Giving back to the profession is important to Ruth. She is currently an active member of the NL Teaching with Technology Community, teaches fully online, mentors new online instructors and instructional designers, and is the 2016 CNIE-RCIE Awards Festival coordinator. While living in Ontario she was an active member of the eLearnnetwork (2009-2010 Chair), OntarioLearn consortium and the ETC (provincial Educational Technology Committee).
Ruth has a BA from Memorial University, MA(ED) from Central Michigan University (research topic: student perception of interaction in online courses of which she was the recipient of the 2010 Honourable Mention for CMU/OCASA research award). Ruth also has a post-secondary instructor certificate and completed The Chair foundational and advanced leadership academies where she sat on the practitioner’s board for 5 years.
Michael is a long-time member of the CNIE family, beginning with his involvement in AMTEC in 1996. Michael is an unabashed futurist and his interests lie in innovation and the application of strategies, techniques and new technologies into the teaching and learning process. He has been following voice recognition, translation, AI, and other technologies that will play into the learning environment for the better part of 20 years. And most recently, he received an OER grant from the Alberta Government to develop a 1st year Spanish OER course entirely on-line.
Michael has a very solid IT background having worked for years in programming, network administration, network security, multimedia, instructional design, and as a manager with Shaw Communications on the roll-out of High Speed Internet in western Canada from infancy to maturity. This diverse background straddling academic, instructional designer, corporate IT,
technical support, and resource management provides him with multiple perspectives into the educational landscape.
Michael has a passion for innovation in education and our technology based future, while recognizing that no matter how good something is, there are always ample opportunities for improvement. He also recognizes that in our ever-changing world, new technologies and techniques may emerge from the most unlikely places to subvert or even overthrow existing paradigms of education. The Canadian Network for Innovation in Education is an important vehicle for new ideas to be communicated to the Canadian educational community, and he welcomes and appreciates the opportunity to help nurture and support such innovation initiatives through this role with CNIE.
Melissa Jakubec is currently a Senior Learning Designer at Thompson Rivers University – Open Learning. She is interested in evaluating the effectiveness of learning activities and exploring design and pedagogical models that break down the barriers and linear confines of the traditional learning management system. She has also served as departmental chair and Provost’s Fellow, Blended and Innovative Learning.
Prior to becoming a learning designer, Melissa taught English as a Second Language at Thompson Rivers University for more than 15 years. She believes in providing student-centered, contextualized, and meaningful instruction, as well as in using technology to enhance the learning process. These values continue to inform her practice in curriculum development. In the summer of 2015, Melissa returned to her ESL roots, instructing in a teaching training program in Beijing.
Melissa holds a Bachelor’s degree in English (Honours) and Applied Linguistics from the University of Victoria and a Master’s degree in English from Dalhousie University. She also holds a Royal Social of Arts Diploma in the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language and has achieved TESL Canada’s Level 5 Professional Certification. She also completed a Certificate in Designing and Facilitating E-Learning through the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand and continues to seek opportunities for professional development and further learning.
David Macdonald, B.Mus., B.Ed., M.E.T. is currently the Distance Education & Learning Technology Coordinator for Thorneloe University at Laurentian (Sudbury, ON) and the Registrar of Thorneloe University’s School of Theology. He also teaches as a sessional faculty member, both in-class and online, in the Department of Music at Laurentian University and works as a freelance Instructional Designer and musician. As an avid canoeist, David also has an interest in non-conventional learning spaces.
Chris is Manager, Learning Design, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology at the University Of British Columbia. He has a background in Media Production and Instructional Design for online distance education courses and open education learning resources. Always a strong proponent of team-based project development, Chris has had the good fortune to work on several award winning collaborative multimedia projects for distance education and open online learning resources. Chris also serves on the Board of the AMTEC Trust, affiliated with CNIE. When not at work, he is usually found not too far away from a soccer field or his garden.
Policy – Administration
Valerie Lopes, a Professor in the School of Arts and Science, at Seneca College, is a passionate
advocate for the thoughtful use of open education resources and technology tools to enable
learning. She has a BSc (Life Sciences) from the University of Toronto, an MA (Education) from
the University of Central Michigan and a PhD, from the Ontario Institute for Studies in
Education at the University of Toronto. Her dissertation explored the efficacy of
Course/Learning Management Systems on learning.
Valerie is a member of the Council of 3M National Teaching and Learning Fellows in Higher
Education and the School of Graduate Studies for OISE/University of Toronto. She is the Awards
Chair on the Board of Directors of the Society of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education,
and is also on the Review Board for the International Journal of Education and Development
using Information and Communication Technology (IJEDICT). She has just completed a 5-year
term as the Chair of the Educational Technology Committee of the Ontario Colleges.
She has taught courses at the certificate, diploma, advanced diploma, degree and graduate
levels, in traditional, blended and fully online formats. In addition to her extensive work in the
Ontario College system, she has led and collaborated on curriculum design and faculty
development projects with the University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and with
colleges and institutes in Tanzania, Columbia, Mozambique, China, Italy and Kenya. She has
several publications including a Technology @Issue paper that examined the “Pitfalls and
Potential of Technology Enhanced Instruction” that she co-authored for HEQCO. Recently, she
led the eCampusOntario Team that collaborated on the Ontario Extend Project, that aims to
empower educators to explore a range of emerging technologies and pedagogical practices for
effective online and technology-enabled teaching and learning. Follow her on Twitter
@valerielopes and LinkedIn https://ca.linkedin.com/in/valerielopes.
This director represents researchers, and acts as liaison between the Board of Directors and CNIE-RCIÉ’s two journals (the Canadian Journal of Learning Technology and the International Journal of Elearning and Distance Education)
Colin is currently the Director of TWU Online, where he is working to build capacity for TWU to offer online degree programs for adults looking to complete an undergraduate degree, and also for those seeking an online graduate degree.
Previously, Colin was Coordinator for Educational Technologies at the Thompson Rivers University Centre for Student Engagment and Learning Innovation where he supported the thoughtful integration of educational technologies into courses in multiple disciplines. In addition to promoting and supporting open pedagogical practices in higher ed, he is an OER Research Fellow with the Open Education Group conducting research into the effectiveness of OER and Open Textbook adoption in higher education.
Colin has presented locally, nationally, and internationally in North America and Europe on Open Educational Resources, online faculty development and promoting educationally effective interactions in distance learning environments.
Distance – Open Learning Professionals
This director represents distance/open learning professionals.
Afsaneh Sharif is a Faculty Liaison at the University of British Columbia, where she manages the development and delivery of online and blended courses and projects. She works closely with faculty members to ensure that course design and development meet best practices, and incorporates appropriate educational technologies in facilitating and assessing active student learning. As a skilled instructional designer, project manager, and e-Learning specialist, Afsaneh is interested in implementing research finding into practice. She has 20 years of experience in post-secondary education, and more than 15 years of experience in open, distance and technology-enhanced program development, faculty/staff development, course development and project management.
She has been listed as one of the top 90 Canadian researchers in online, blended and distance education. She is a consultant at the Commonwealth of Learning, where she teaches online courses internationally. Afsaneh holds a PhD in Education, with a specific focus on the Quality Assurance of E-learning Program. Her interests include curriculum design, quality assurance, accessibility, community of learning/practice, open education, and universal design.
Education/Training Technology Specialists
This director represents education/training technology specialists.
Terralyn is currently the Acting Director/Learning Technologies Specialist of Information Services at University College of the North, The Pas, Manitoba. In this role, she supports the academic operations of UCN’s learning technologies initiatives across two main campus sites and 12 regional centres through training and faculty supports in learning theory and practical technology applications for the institution’s distance and technology-mediated courses. She developed and is implementing the strategic roll out of the Centre for Teaching and Learning at UCN as well as administering the institutional LMS and web-conferencing services. Her favorite duties in this position include providing pedagogical and design support for Faculty who are teaching online as well as transitioning materials into online formats. She pilots and advises on teaching technology and provides individual and small group training with technology tools and software used in course design and communications.
Over her career in post-secondary education and NGO management she has served in positions as Director, national trainer, instructor, Academic Specialist, and Learning Technologies Supervisor. She has served on the Board of Directors for MADLAT where she re-visioned and built their website and email services to align strategic goals with a current profile and to be more proactive with engaging membership digitally. This broad range of experience has provided Terralyn a unique perspective on the roles and opportunities technology can provide within education and industry.
ME – Distance Education – Athabasca University (in progress);
Graduate Diploma Instructional Design – Education – Athabasca University;
Aboriginal Counseling Certificate – University of Manitoba;
BSc (Education) – Eastern Oregon College
Indigenous Educators and/or Education Specialists
This director represents indigenous educators and/or education specialists.
H. B.S.W. (Laurentian),
M.S.W. (Toronto), Specialization in Policy,
Organization and Community Development
Ph. D Candidate (Laurentian)
Anishinawbe-Kwe from Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve, Susan Manitowabi has been an Assistant Professor in the School of Indigenous Relations since 2003. She is currently working on her PhD in the School of Rural and Northern Health at Laurentian. Her doctoral work the “Raising the Spirit Mental Wellness Project” focuses on the engagement of First Nations mental health programs with the Mental Wellness Team using a storytelling methodology. She has extensive experience in the mental health and addiction fields having worked for Northeast Mental Health Centre as Clinic Manager, Researcher, and First Nations Development Consultant and as the Prevention Manager with Ngwaagan Gamig Recovery Centre in Wikwemikong.
She is the author of several articles and has presented at many academic and professional conferences and workshops. She has been involved in several research projects dealing with traditional Aboriginal healing practices, Aboriginal mental health, issues related to violence against women and climate change. Her research interests include: Aboriginal Mental Health, Aboriginal Child Welfare, Culturally Appropriate Consultation and Research Methods, Aboriginal mental health policy development and community development.
Director at Large
Mervi Salo has over 25 years of experience in the education sector in a variety of roles. She was recently promoted to the position of Centrally Assigned Vice-Principal of Indigenous Education for the Toronto District School Board. This is a district-wide leadership position that includes supports provided through the TDSB Indigenous Education Centre. She has been a school Administrator and Co-chair of system-wide professional development for Vice-Principals. Prior to that, Mervi was the Education Officer for the Arts with the Ontario Ministry of Education and project lead for the revision of the 2009 provincial curriculum policy document for The Arts. She was a Visual and Media Arts Consultant (Instructional Leader) in the Toronto District School Board (K-12). Mervi has also been a Consultant on numerous Ministry resource projects including a series of Curriculum Services Canada webcasts. She has been an Additional Qualifications Instructor in the University of Toronto and York University Faculties of Education. Mervi is Past-President of the Ontario Art Education Association and was Chair of the Provincial Standing Committee for Arts for the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario. Prior to these roles she was an award-winning teacher in two school boards, and was hired by the TDSB to initiate a CyberARTS specialized program. She is also passionate about supporting indigenous student success, student engagement through arts and technology, and the potential of using assistive technologies with special needs students. Mervi has been a keynote, plenary speaker, at numerous Canadian, North American and International conferences (e.g., Google Camp, UNESCO World Conference on Arts Education). Her graduate studies at University of Toronto look at education change processes. Mervi is a multi-disciplinary visual and media artist, musician, and writer. She is also writing and illustrating a graphic novel series that incorporates an endangered Arctic Indigenous language. She is currently elected Chair of North American SámiSearvi which is a National Indigenous Council.
Director at Large
I have held a full-time academic position at Lakehead University (Faculty of Education) since 2015 and am also an Adjunct at Purdue University (College of Education) since 2011. I teach exclusively online (asynchronously) and primarily at the graduate level. My area of expertise is learning design and technology, and research interests include instructional design, online learning, and innovative pedagogies in professional education.
In addition to my higher education experience, my extensive professional experience is strongly situated in industry/corporate, spanning government, non-profit, and various levels of academia. These experiences have contributed to my knowledge of the diversity of perspectives, goals, and challenges in each of these distinct work and organizational systems. As a management consultant, I developed programs for and worked with the Inuit people in northern Canada. My industry experience with international organizations (e.g., Nortel, IBM) provided me with the opportunity to work with colleagues and clients from diverse backgrounds across all regions of the globe. Throughout all my professional experiences has been the imperative to understand the context and environment in which work was conducted, including the facilitators and obstacles, in order to design the most effective solution for the specific need with the given organizational system.