UBC’s Emerging Media Lab (EML) has a new hub, right in the heart of campus. Established in 2016 as an experimental space where faculty, students, and staff from all disciplines could collaborate with industry and community, the lab made its mission to evolve learning by creating tools and techniques using emerging media including Augmented, Mixed, and Virtual Reality.

Now, in its newest location in Room 183 on Level 1 of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, the lab is hopeful that the new space will attract a larger and even more diverse group of users and continue to be a truly interdisciplinary space.

Students and faculty in EML space


An emerging media lab for everyone.

“The Library has this sense of belonging to everyone, a sense of inclusivity,” says Saeed Dyanatkar, executive Producer at the Emerging Media Lab, “If you have a Library card, it doesn’t matter which department you’re from, you can use it. This is how we want people to feel about the EML — it is a huge step forward for us.”

The implementation of an Emerging Media Lab is a natural fit for UBC Library. Julie Mitchell, Assistant Director, Student Engagement, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre explains, “Challenging traditional views of libraries as repositories for the printed book, leading academic libraries are at the forefront of providing technology-enabled spaces to support learning and research. The EML@IKBLC project was a priority for the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre as it creates space for interdisciplinary interactions and provides tools to explore new technologies, with the potential to transform education and research practices at UBC.”

Student using Virtual reality equipment


At the heart of what drives innovation at the EML is the opportunity to experiment and the permission to fail, with more emphasis on learning and process than output. As Faculty in Residence, Dr. Matthew Yedlin describes it, “Failure is a learning experience. Here at the EML, we don’t want to have the perfect anything. You have to fail to be creative.”

The new IKBLC location, composed of two rooms: a public multi-station lab and presentation space and second room that can be used as a meeting room, demonstration space or development area was made possible through a collaboration between the EML, UBC Library, and the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. The Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF) provided funding to assist in the purchase of equipment for the lab. The equipment is maintained by UBC IT.

The new lab in IKBLC will function as the EML’s public-facing space, welcoming questions from 9 to 5 on weekdays, offering lab time for classes and faculty members as well as regularly designated demonstration time. In addition to student employees, the space will also be staffed by some of CTLT’s student Learning Technology Rovers. The original Emerging Media Lab, located in the Neville Scarfe Building will remain, but will be used solely for development work and student projects.

Student and faculty in EML


A place to challenge assumptions.

Samantha Peng, graduate student in Journalism and student employee at the EML is particularly interested in how the new location might help challenge assumptions about who can benefit and learn from emerging technology. “Because I don’t have a coding background, I was really intimidated about getting started at EML,” she explains, “But once I started, I realized that projects require many different people with many different skill sets. I think this new location might help counteract the idea that the lab is only for Computer Science students.”

Fifth-year Electrical Engineering student and EML volunteer Serena Chao identifies this unique interdisciplinary experience as one of the features of the EML that has contributed to her learning. “My learning in my degree is mostly hardware-based and so the software-based work I do at the EML has helped me get a more well-rounded perspective. But it’s being able to work and collaborate with people in different faculties that I value the most; it has allowed me opportunities to collaborate over and above what is offered through my program.”

William Beltran, third year Cognitive Systems student and student employee at the EML looks forward to fielding more questions and queries from fellow students. “The great thing about this new space is that it allows for more people to pop in and ask questions. We’re more accessible.”

Visit the EML’s new location and explore in-progress and recently completed projects at an upcoming showcase on March 26.

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Library





Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | © Copyright The University of British Columbia

Spam prevention powered by Akismet