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Thought leaders unite at Concordia to share insights on our digital futures

The President’s Speaker Series kicks off December 2 with an impressive lineup
November 13, 2019
By Leslie Goldstein

Guylaine Beaudry: “We live in a fast-paced world where ever-evolving technological advancements have a significant impact on our lives.”

Ubisoft Montréal’s director of L’Atelier XR, the Quebec minister for government digital transformation and a renowned advocate for open education are just some of the people headed to Concordia this winter to discuss digital futures.

The Concordia President’s Speaker Series on Digital Futures brings together an exciting lineup of experts from the gaming, academic and public sectors.

This year marks the second edition of the series, which emphasizes Concordia’s objective to inspire members of the university community to think about how the digital shapes learning, teaching and our daily lives.

“We’ve invited thought leaders who will share their insight and expertise and help us reflect on the multi-faceted dimensions of our current and evolving digital reality,” says Guylaine Beaudry, vice-provost of digital strategy and university librarian.

The series is part of an ongoing initiative to realize Concordia’s Digital Strategy, which seeks to identify the university’s priorities in this area, what it means to embrace a digital reality and how to create an environment where digital literacy is part of our culture.

“We live in a world of ongoing changes where ever-evolving technological advancements have a significant impact on our lives,” says Beaudry.

The university’s development of a digital strategy is one of six transformational projects being undertaken this year as part of Concordia’s Strategic Directions, to position itself as a next-generation university.

Live-streamed to Loyola Campus

Beaudry sees many opportunities for Concordians to come together and talk about how the university can create a digital culture that is responsive to the needs of students, faculty and staff.

And for the 2019-20 speaker series, there is a greater opportunity for the Concordia community to join in the discussions. The events, which take place at the Concordia University Conference Centre, will be live-streamed at the Loyola Jesuit Hall and Conference Centre.

“There are many facets to creating a digital strategy. It’s more than just software and hardware,” Beaudry says.

“It’s about people and how we, as a community, prepare students, faculty and staff for the major shifts that are occurring.”

She adds that it’s also about sharing the advancements and opportunities in our evolving digital reality with the Concordia community and engaging in dialogue about the university’s digital futures.

Olivier Palmieri, director of L’Atelier XR at Ubisoft Montréal, will talk on December 2 Olivier Palmieri, director of L’Atelier XR at Ubisoft Montréal, will talk on December 2.

From game design to open teaching tools

The series’ first speaker, Olivier Palmieri, director of L’Atelier XR at Ubisoft Montréal, will talk on December 2 about the company’s initiatives beyond gaming in digital education.

Palmieri is an expert in gameplay, game design and level design, as well as virtual reality. He has provided training programs in game design methods and levels for more than 600 Ubisoft designers.

He is also one of the experts behind Ubisoft’s Game Creators’ Odyssey. Designed as a video game, this online course takes students through the development process of video games.

Another speaker, Rajiv Jhangiani, will speak on February 10, 2020, about open educational resources and practices. The psychology instructor is associate vice-provost of open education at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in British Columbia.

Jhangiani is an internationally known advocate for open education whose research and practice focuses on open educational resources, student-centred pedagogies and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

In his talk, Jhangiani will draw on a variety of examples to “make a case for why the shift away from traditional — closed — practices is not only desirable but also inevitable.”

Strong lineup of confirmed speakers

The following is the confirmed lineup to date for the Concordia President’s Speaker Series on Digital Futures:


December 2, 2019Olivier Palmieri, Director of L’Atelier XR, Ubisoft Montréal

Rajiv Jhangiani

February 10, 2020Rajiv Jhangiani, Associate Vice-Provost, Open Education, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, British Columbia

Éric Caire

February 17, 2020 – Éric Caire, Minister for Government Digital Transformation, Government of Quebec

Teresa Scassa

March 9, 2020Teresa Scassa, Canada Research Chair in Information Law and Policy, University of Ottawa



Register to attend the 
Concordia President’s Speaker Series on Digital Futures this winter. All events are open to the public but advance registration is required.

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