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Using augmented reality to enhance learning

UBC alumna Ernielly Leo uses an augmented reality app to tour Vancouver’s historic Chinatown neighbourhood. Developed by UBC professor Siobhán McPhee and students, the app is a historical walking tour that uses geolocation and audio files to enhance a user’s experience. (Photo by Abigail Saxton)

In a media-rich world, UBC geography professor Siobhán McPhee is using technology for her students’ advantage.

In collaboration with students and the university’s Emerging Media Lab, McPhee developed an app utilizing augmented reality to create an urban history tour of Vancouver’s historic Chinatown and Downtown Eastside neighbourhoods following the influence of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the late 19th century.

One of her pedagogical aims, she said, is to mimic the technology students use on their smartphones.

“Educational technologies allow the instructor and the student to have more of an ownership of their own learning,” she said. “I really believe in combining the idea of active learning and experiential learning.”

Part of that idea, she said, was to expand traditional learning spaces beyond the classroom walls. The app allows students to travel through some of the Vancouver spaces covered in McPhee’s Geography 121 course, Geography, Environment and Globalization.

“It makes the urban environment the classroom but also makes everyday life a learning experience,” she said.

That’s the nature of the discipline, she said, making open approaches ideal for studying geography in a contemporary context while maintaining relevance for students.

Ernielly Leo, one of the app’s student developers, said the app’s use of augmented reality excels in allowing people to learn experientially and at their own pace.

“Learning styles vary and augmented reality connects you with your learning — it’s not just textbooks and theories,” she said. “This is a walking tour that can be used by a lot of people — not just those who are in higher education.”

Echoing that sentiment, McPhee’s teaching philosophy is inclusive of approaches that make education accessible and relevant to more students. It is one of her missions, she said, to empower students and make them active partners in their learning.

“I see education as the ultimate equalizer,” she said. “Open is about that ability to take education as it was in the past — a very elitist idea — and making it available to anyone who wants it.”


To download the walking tour app, visit the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and search for “UBC Vantage College Walking Tour.”


This piece was written by Abigail Saxton and was originally published on the Centre for Teaching and Learning Technology website

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Clinical Psychology (Assistant Professors, tenure-track)

The Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia–Vancouver campus (psych.ubc.ca) invites applications for two tenure-track positions at the assistant professor level in clinical psychology, which will begin July 1, 2019.  

Candidates must hold a PhD from an accredited clinical training program (including an APA- or CPA-accredited internship) before starting either position. They will also be required to obtain registration as a psychologist in the province of British Columbia once their formal appointment begins.

We are seeking applicants with strong research records who would enhance our research-oriented CPA-accredited doctoral program. Both positions are open with regard to clinical research specialization. For both positions, we are particularly interested in candidates whose research complements existing strengths of our clinical program and bridges clinical psychology to other areas of the department (psych.ubc.ca/faculty/index.psy). The successful candidates will be expected to maintain a program of scholarly research that leads to publication; conduct effective undergraduate and graduate teaching; provide effective clinical and research supervision; and contribute to departmental service.

Applications are to be submitted online through the UBC Faculty Careers website at: www.facultycareers.ubc.ca/30622. Applicants should upload by the deadline the following documents in the order listed: cover letter, CV, research statement, teaching statement, evidence of teaching effectiveness, and 3 publications. In their research statement, we encourage applicants to discuss their past and/or planned research approach in the context of ongoing discussion in the sciences about research practices, replicability, and open science. In addition, applicants should arrange to have at least three confidential letters of recommendation submitted via email to ubcpsycjobs@psych.ubc.ca.

The deadline for applications is October 1, 2018.

The positions are subject to final budgetary approval. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Métis, Inuit, or Indigenous person. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

Quantitative Psychology (Assistant Professor, tenure-track)

The Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia–Vancouver campus (psych.ubc.ca) invites applications for a tenure-track position at the assistant professor level in quantitative psychology, which will begin July 1, 2019.

Candidates must hold a PhD in quantitative psychology, psychometrics, or a closely related field before starting the position.

We are seeking applicants with strong research records appropriate to a research-oriented doctoral program. We are looking for outstanding candidates in any area of quantitative psychology. The successful candidate will be expected to maintain a program of scholarly research that leads to publication; conduct effective undergraduate and graduate teaching and research supervision; and contribute to departmental service.

Applications are to be submitted online through the UBC Faculty Careers website at: www.facultycareers.ubc.ca/30621.  Applicants should upload by the deadline the following documents in the order listed: cover letter, CV, research statement, teaching statement, evidence of teaching effectiveness, and 3 publications. In their research statement, we encourage applicants to discuss their past and/or planned research approach in the context of ongoing discussion in the sciences about research practices, replicability, and open science. In addition, applicants should arrange to have at least three confidential letters of recommendation submitted via email to ubcpsycjobs@psych.ubc.ca.

The deadline for applications is October 1, 2018.

The position is subject to final budgetary approval. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Métis, Inuit, or Indigenous person. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

Health Psychology (Assistant Professor, tenure-track)

The Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia–Vancouver campus (psych.ubc.ca) invites applications for a tenure-track position at the assistant professor level in health psychology, which will begin July 1, 2019.

Candidates must hold a PhD before starting the position.

We are seeking applicants with strong research records appropriate to a research-oriented doctoral program. We are looking for outstanding health psychology candidates, regardless of research specialization, but we are especially interested in candidates whose research focuses on biopsychosocial processes in health and disease, and/or health behaviors. Applicants should have research interests that complement existing strengths in the department (psych.ubc.ca/faculty/index.psy). The successful candidate will be expected to maintain a program of scholarly research that leads to publication; conduct effective undergraduate and graduate teaching and research supervision; and contribute to departmental service.

Applications are to be submitted online through the UBC Faculty Careers website at: www.facultycareers.ubc.ca/30620. Applicants should upload by the deadline the following documents in the order listed: cover letter, CV, research statement, teaching statement, evidence of teaching effectiveness, and 3 publications. In their research statement, we encourage applicants to discuss their past and/or planned research approach in the context of ongoing discussion in the sciences about research practices, replicability, and open science. In addition, applicants should arrange to have at least three confidential letters of recommendation submitted via email to ubcpsycjobs@psych.ubc.ca.

The deadline for applications is October 1, 2018.

The position is subject to final budgetary approval. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Métis, Inuit, or Indigenous person. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

Developmental Psychology (Assistant Professor, tenure-track)

The Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia–Vancouver campus (psych.ubc.ca) invites applications for a tenure-track position at the assistant professor level in developmental psychology, which will begin July 1, 2019.

Candidates must hold a PhD before starting the position.

We are seeking applicants with strong research records appropriate to a research-oriented doctoral program. We are looking for outstanding candidates in any area of developmental psychology, but we are particularly interested in candidates whose work focuses on language development, including perceptual and conceptual development. Applicants should have research interests that complement existing strengths in the department (psych.ubc.ca/faculty/index.psy). We encourage applications from candidates who use diverse methodologies (e.g., behavioural, computational, neuroimaging) and who can contribute to UBC’s Language Sciences Initiative (languagesciences.ubc.ca). The successful candidate will be expected to maintain a program of scholarly research that leads to publication; conduct effective undergraduate and graduate teaching and research supervision; and contribute to departmental service.

Applications are to be submitted online through the UBC Faculty Careers website at: www.facultycareers.ubc.ca/30619. Applicants should upload by the deadline the following documents in the order listed: cover letter, CV, research statement, teaching statement, evidence of teaching effectiveness, and 3 publications. In their research statement, we encourage applicants to discuss their past and/or planned research approach in the context of ongoing discussion in the sciences about research practices, replicability, and open science. In addition, applicants should arrange to have at least three confidential letters of recommendation submitted via email to ubcpsycjobs@psych.ubc.ca.

The deadline for applications is October 1, 2018.

The position is subject to final budgetary approval. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Métis, Inuit, or Indigenous person. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

Sociology (Assistant Professor, tenure-track)

The Department of Sociology in the Faculty of Arts at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver) invites applications for a tenure-stream faculty position at the rank of Assistant Professor beginning July 1, 2019.  The substantive area of specialization is open.

Our ideal candidate will have a demonstrated record of excellence in research and teaching and will help to strengthen our global reputation. We expect applicants to have a Ph.D. in sociology at the time of appointment but applicants who have progressed to the point where completion of the Ph.D. is imminent and who demonstrate clear and superior promise of excellent research will also be considered. The Department is especially interested in attracting candidates with diverse backgrounds and interests who will be capable of successfully working with a multicultural and multiethnic student population. For information about the Department, visit: http://soci.ubc.ca/.

We ask interested individuals to submit a CV; a cover letter describing their interest in the position as well as a description of their research and teaching effectiveness; a separate one page statement identifying the applicant’s contributions, or potential contributions, to diversity, along with their ability to work with a culturally international student body; and two sample publications. Candidates selected for further consideration will subsequently be requested to supply additional information and to have three referees send confidential supporting letters to soci.head(at)ubc.ca with the applicant’s name in the subject line.

Applications should be submitted online at the UBC Faculty Careers website (http://www.facultycareers.ubc.ca/30308). Review of applications will begin on September 15, 2018 and will continue until the position is filled.

This position is subject to final budgetary approval. Salary is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience.

As the major public research university in western Canada, the University of British Columbia is also a globally acclaimed institution that ranks among the top thirty universities in the world. We rank in the top two Sociology departments in Canada. The university is situated in Vancouver, routinely ranked among the top five most livable cities in the world. It is renowned for its mild year-round climate, unique urban design, emphasis on the environment and sustainability, low crime rates, cultural and cosmopolitan offerings, ethnic diversity, and spectacular natural beauty set among the coastal mountains and the Pacific Ocean.

Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Métis, Inuit, or Indigenous person. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.