Past Board – 2018/2019


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.


afsaneh sharif2

Afsaneh Sharif

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.


ruth hickeyRuth 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.


Diane Janes

Dr. Diane P. Janes is currently 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), where she was an Assistant Professor (instructional design) 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 uses 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.

Board Members

Media Production

Chris Crowley photoThis board member represents media producers and distributors.

Chris Crowley

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

This director represents policy makers and/or administrators.Valerie Lopes

Valerie Lopes

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


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 is an Instructional Designer at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) – Open Learning. She shares her passion for learning with university faculty in designing courses for online delivery. 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.

As a PhD Candidate (Educational Technology) at Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Carol’s research involves using meta-analysis to measure the impact of the blended flipped classroom on student achievement in higher education compared to the traditional classroom. 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 has presented nationally and internationally on her research about the flipped classroom.

In the online world, Carol has taken courses in French and cooking, and has taught computer programming. In the physical world, Carol has been a squash player for many years to keep in shape while making new friends. A joy of travel, people, and new cultures has enticed her to visit to places such as England, New Zealand, Japan, China, Czech Republic, Croatia, Greece, as well as the United States, and across Canada. She is delighted to be in Kamloops now and exploring this new territory with her husband Don.

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.

susan-manitowabiSusan Manitowabi

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 SaloMervi Salo

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

Angela van BarneveldAngela van Barneveld

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.


Director of Administration

Tim Howard

Member Services

Barb Ford