Introducing UBC iSchool

What does it mean to be a part of UBC’s iSchool community?

As an interdisciplinary professional school that offers four unique Master’s programs, a PhD program, six focus areas, and, most-recently, a newly-released Minor in Informatics, it’s no surprise that UBC iSchool is home to professors and students pursuing equally unique projects and research. Beyond the classroom, UBC iSchool is proud to be a place of discovery and engagement, through its thriving student and faculty life, and diverse community initiatives.

Community-Engaged Learning at UBC iSchool

One of the ways that UBC iSchool engaged with the community this year was through a semester-long partnership with undergraduate students.

When Dr. Richard Arias-Hernandez, (Associate Professor of Teaching) approached Gabrielle Bonifacio (Communications, UBC iSchool) with the idea of collaborating with four Media Studies majors from his INFO 250 course, she was more than happy to support the project, particularly as a former Media Studies major herself.

Community-Engaged Learning (CEL) projects are a key component of INFO 250: Networks, Crowds, and Communities. CEL projects provide INFO 250 students with a unique opportunity to design, implement, and evaluate a social media strategy for a local community partner, grounding the theory learned in class in a real organization situation. In 2022 WT2, UBC iSchool itself became one of these community partners for the first time.

[The students] learned about the nuances of social media strategy in the real-life context of UBC iSchool while creating amazing content for us!

(Richard Arias-Hernandez, INFO 250 Instructor)

From January to April 2023, Gabrielle and a student team comprised of Jodie Leung, Kaialuna Scarpetta-Lee, Sydney Goldstein, and Rachel Sun (pictured below), worked together to highlight the innovative work taking place at UBC iSchool. The student team spent months of hard-work drafting, filming and editing a brand-new video series, as well as doing communications research and collaborating on an updated communications plan for UBC iSchool’s social media.

At the end of the semester, the student team shared the following reflections about the project: “Working with an organization like UBC iSchool that must uphold professionalism, implemented an element of stakes in our work; we were conscious of this responsibility and, with the help of our community partner, Gabrielle, ensured that we met these rigorous standards while still infusing the content with a refreshed perspective. It was absolutely wonderful getting the opportunity to work with professional partners such as UBC iSchool as our first foot forward to social media management.

We have learnt so much from this process and are absolutely thrilled with what we were able to create through this project.

(Jodie Leung, Kaialuna Scarpetta-Lee, Sydney Goldstein, and Rachel Sun)
Four students smile in front of a tree (in front of buildings) on UBC Vancouver campus.

UBC Media Studies student team, from left to right: Rachel Sun, Jodie Leung, Kaialuna Scarpetta-Lee, Sydney Goldstein

The Interviews

After countless meetings brainstorming and planning, the team decided to focus on creating a series of videos that would spotlight the diverse research and ongoing projects of current faculty and students at UBC iSchool. From interviewing professors who uncover colonial practices in information institutions, to students who maintain dignity in digital death and work with government archives, the students and their supervisor are pleased to present: Introducing UBC iSchool. 

Dr. Hannah Turner

Danielle Batista

Dr. Julia Bullard

Nilou Davoudi