Past Board – 2019/2020

President’s Message

I am proud to welcome all the members of CNIE-RCIE and those considering becoming a member to what I hope will be a very exciting and evolving/transforming year for this amazing organization. CNIE is one the most vibrant and inspirational networks of learning and research in Canada. In addition to the excellent networking and learning opportunities that our annual conference offers, the two journals affiliated with CNIE-RCIE provide great opportunities for research, collaboration and professional development.

Our goal is to provide you with an exceptional and inclusive networking experience, and your involvement to achieve this goal is essential. We aim to provide a welcoming platform as well as resources and support for students, and early-career instructional designers and educational developers to connect with researchers and more experienced educators to transform teaching and learning for a better world. I hope you will join me and take part in the shaping of CNIE’s future. Here are some ways you can do so:

  1. Stay an active member and share your ideas
  2. Consider becoming a member of the CNIE
  3. Consider becoming a member of the CNIE board
  4. Consider publishing your work in one of the two open access journals affiliated with CNIE-RCIE
    • The Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology (CJLT), and
    • The International Journal of eLearning and Distance Education
  5. Help make our annual conference a success by attending, presenting, or volunteering with proposal review, award adjudication, and conference operations.

We are delighted to have the Concordia University as the host for the 2020 conference! Soon you will begin receiving regular updates as they become available.

I look forward to the year ahead and reporting greater achievements and I would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about CNIE-RCIE. I look forward to continuing to work with this great organization in this new capacity. Thank you for the opportunity.


Afsaneh Sharif

Afsaneh Sharif

Afsaneh is a long-time member of the CNIE family and has served on the CNIE board since 2016 as the Director of Distance and Open Learning, Vice-President and currently as the CNIE President. Currently, she is a Faculty Liaison/Senior Project Manager at the University of British Columbia. She has over 22 years of experience managing projects, supervising staff, leading teams, developing curriculum and courses, developing and conducting workshops, developing formative and summative program evaluation strategies, teaching and training staff/students/instructors, developing rich online learning environments, developing grant proposals, designing courses and representing universities at both international and local events. Afsaneh is interested in implementing research finding into practice and has been listed as one of the top 90 Canadian researchers in online, blended and distance education. She is also 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, inclusive design, quality assurance, accessibility, community of learning/practice, open education, and universal design.


Cindy Ives

Cindy Ives

Dr. Cindy Ives has a long history in the Canadian post-secondary world as an instructor, educational developer, researcher, distance educator and course developer, academic administrator and evaluation consultant. She began her university career at Laurentian University in 1988 and has since worked at Concordia University in Montreal, teaching graduate courses both online and in person. As well, she was a faculty developer in teaching and learning services and an administrator in instructional multi-media services at McGill University for a number of years. Cindy joined Athabasca University in 2007, and after positions in educational media development, learning design and development, also held the interim positions of Associate Vice President Academic and Vice President Academic.

During her career at AU, Dr. Ives has been a key player in many of the AU’s innovative online and open initiatives, including MOOCs, Open Education Resources, course and program development and evaluation, digital learning resources and learning analytics. She has been responsible for a variety of academic units responsible for student and academic services, including Faculties, Library and Scholarly Resources, web services, Learning Support Services and a range of learning and teaching projects designed to enhance the student experience. She is now full professor of Distance Education at Athabasca University, where she teaches courses at the masters and doctoral levels. Her current research projects focus on organizational change in Canadian universities adopting online learning, and in women and leadership in higher education.

Cindy’s educational background includes a PhD in Educational Technology from Concordia University and a Master of Arts in Canadian Studies and Bachelor of Arts in English from Carleton University. She has been a member of CNIE and its founding organizations CADE and AMTEC since 1995, and is currently also Vice President of the AMTEC Trust.


Michael DabrowskiMichael Dabrowski

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.


Diane Janes

Dr. Diane P. Janes is currently a faculty member and Educational Developer with the Centre of Learning and Teaching (CLT), Southern Alberta Institute of Technology with responsibility for coaching, mentoring and strategic leadership in the area of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. From 2015- early 2019 she was an Instructional Designer with the Learning Engagement Office (LEO), Faculty of Extension, University of Alberta, located in Edmonton. Formerly she was the Associate Dean, Donald School of Business at Red Deer College (2013-2014) and an Associate Professor, who served as Chair of the Education Department (2009-2011) before becoming Chair of the School of Professional Studies, Cape Breton University, Sydney, Nova Scotia, in 2011. She joined CBU on July 1, 2009, after working with the University of Saskatchewan (UofS, 2003-2007), where she was an Assistant Professor of Instructional Design (promoted and tenured to Associate Professor in 2007) and member of the Centre for Distributed Learning (CDL), a research think-tank on technology and learning. Since the closing of the Extension Division at the UofS in late 2006/mid 2007, she has been a visiting professor, at various times, teaching in online graduate programs offered by Royal Roads University, Cape Breton University/Memorial University, Athabasca University, the University of Calgary, and the University of British Columbia.

Passionate about teaching, learning and technology, much of her work is in online, web-based and blended course development in the areas of occupational health and safety, law, leadership/management, visual arts, and beyond; she’s also consulted on distance education, instructional development and program evaluation in Canada, Mexico and New Zealand. Diane has a Master’s degree in educational technology, from Memorial University, an MBA in Community Economic Development from Cape Breton University, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education, from the University of British Columbia. Her research interests include e-strategic planning, faculty development, collaborative online learning, online teaching pedagogy, e-research, program evaluation and instructional design. Her past work has focused on MOOCs, and post graduate certification in International Business; while her current work includes using Augmented Reality (AR) to offer ways to begin and further settler/ally conversations with indigenous knowledge keepers in the Academy.

Diane most recently co-Chaired the AMTEC Trust (2016-2018). She has been VP, President and Past President of the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE) 2012-2015 and served as book review editor for the Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology (formerly the Canadian Journal of Educational Communications) from 1993 to 2005. She has served as Prairie representative on the national board of the Canadian Association of Distance Education (CADE) from 2004 to 2006, is a reviewer and editorial board member for several international journals, and has had a number of publications and conference presentations to her credit. She was on the Board of CADE when it merged with AMTEC to become CNIE. She co-edited a book with Dr. Mark Bullen entitled Making the Transition to E-learning: Strategies and Issues (Hershey, Pa.: Idea Publishing Group, 2007). Her most recent publications include a chapter with Lorraine M. Carter (2018) The Transition of Women to Leadership in Post-Secondary Institutions in Canada: An examination of the literature and the lived DIM experiences of two female leaders in Exploring the Toxicity of Lateral Violence and Microaggressions: Poison in the Water Cooler and McMahon, R., Almond, A., Whistance-Smith, G., Steinhauer, D., Steinhauer, S., & Janes, D. P. (2019). Sweetgrass AR: Exploring augmented reality as a resource for Indigenous–settler relations. International Journal of Communication, 13, 4530–4552. Available at

Board Members

Media Production

Kelli BuckreusThis board member represents media producers and distributors.

Kelli Buckreus

I’m Kelli, I am a Doctor of Education student with Michael and Jess at Athabasca University. I work in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Alberta where I develop in-person and eLearning training for physicians and other clinicians, and have had a chance to use innovative 4D simulation and immersive technologies for teaching and learning. I am new to the CNIE board, and am looking forward to my role as Director for Media Producers. I have an extensive background in multimedia development, and am passionate about multimedia in education, which I feel will become more important as artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) technology progresses. My dissertation research for my doctorate will explore new ISO standards for AI and personalized learning in distance education contexts.

Policy – Administration

ruth hickeyThis director represents policy makers and/or administrators.

Ruth Hickey

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.


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)

Carol Sparkes

Carol Sparkes

Carol Sparkes is an Instructional Designer at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) – Open Learning. She shares her passion for learning by designing online courses. Prior to moving to TRU, Carol designed instruction at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, and Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU) in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Carol recently attained her PhD (Educational Technology) from Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec. Her research involves using meta-analysis to measure the impact of the flipped classroom as compared to the traditional classroom on student achievement in higher education. Carol holds a Master of Information Technology Education from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and two undergraduate degrees (Bachelor of Arts in sociology and Bachelor of Commerce) from Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Carol is looking forward to hearing from the CNIE researchers.

Distance – Open Learning Professionals

This director represents distance/open learning professionals.

Jessica O’Reilly

Jessica O’Reilly is an Instructional Developer in Cambrian College’s Teaching and Learning Innovation Hub, providing professional development, support, and instructional design services to Cambrian College faculty. She is in the process of completing a Doctor of Distance Learning degree through Athabasca University, and currently holds MEd and MA degrees in Curriculum Design and Literatures of Modernity. An eCampus Open Education Fellow, Jessica believes in the power of open education resources and open educational practices to empower learners and practitioners to transform post-secondary education for the 21st century.

Jessica is excited to support the mission of the CNIE, and hopes to advocate for best practices and continued innovation in tech-enabled, distributed learning.

Education/Training Technology Specialists

This director represents education/training technology specialists.

Kelly Brennan

Kelly Brennan

With over 10 years work experience in the field of online education, instructional design, and faculty training, Kelly has discovered her passion starts with the educator. More specifically, the ways in which we can engage and encourage educators to better realize the pedagogical approaches to using technology for learning and teaching.

Kelly Brennan is an Instructional Technology Coordinator who works with Laurentian University faculty and course developers to best implement a variety of approaches to using technology for learning and teaching. Her favorite duties in this position include providing pedagogical and design support for aculty who are teaching online and on campus. She facilitates small and large workshops and training sessions related to teaching with technology, student engagement, and course design.

Connecting and collaborating with colleagues is extremely important to Kelly. She is currently the Distance and Online Learning Community of Practice Executive member for the Ontario Council for University Lifelong Learning and was the 2017 CNIE-RCIE Awards Festival coordinator.
Kelly has extensive instructional design training and holds certificates in French as a Second Language, Quality Matters Teaching Online, and Foundations Training for Action Learning. Kelly holds a Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Windsor. She is currently finishing her Bachelor of Education in Adult Education from Brock University with the intent to pursue her Masters of Education in 2018.

Indigenous Educators and/or Education Specialists

This director represents indigenous educators and/or education specialists.

Vacant | Poste à combler

Director at Large

Mervi SaloDaph Crane

I have over 20 years of instructional design experience focusing mainly in the online learning environment. I have worked as an instructional designer and program evaluator at Bow Valley College, Calgary, before returning to Newfoundland to become a senior instructional designer at Memorial University. As an active member of Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning’s course development team, I work across multiple disciplines to guide faculty in the development of their courses and teaching. I have a keen interest in online assessment, feedback and micro blogging.

Director at Large

Laura KillamLaura Killam

Laura is an experienced nursing educator from Northern Ontario with a passion for making learning accessible and fun. As an innovator, she strives to continually improve her teaching practices. In her teaching, she is known as an innovator who evaluates ways to effectively integrate technology into learning. While the use of technology is often the focus of innovation, it is actually continuous and creative reflection on ways to increase the quality of learning that is most effective. Her research has focused on student perceptions of safety in clinical learning, rural nursing education, interprofessional education, and social media in education. A commitment to innovation and student success drives her teaching approaches. As an educator, she strives to reflect the characteristics of someone students can feel connected to and comfortable with – flexible, available, approachable, supportive, empathetic, honest, trustworthy, and fair.

Learn more about Laura Killam by exploring her online dossier.


Director of Administration

Tim Howard

Member Services

Barb Ford