Developing Emerging Technologies: Collaborative Prototyping

Course Overview

“Developing Emerging Technologies” (MDIA 470) is a project-based course where students learn methods and approaches to develop emerging technology on small teams. The curriculum pairs short lectures with group assignments and projects to enhance students’ teamwork competencies. The course enables students to practice a wide range of prototyping techniques, allowing them to propose digital solutions to design challenges and collectively develop project ideas. This course is tailored for students who are interested in developing emerging technology in collaboration with others. It serves as an ideal stepping stone for learners who want to accelerate their transition into work-learn positions or internships in the digital media industry upon graduation.

This course is open to any UBC student from any discipline. It offers an upper level arts credit (3-credits). All students must attend a weekly in-person (and sometimes Zoom) class. There are no prerequisites.

Find out more and enroll in the course here!

Developing Emerging Technologies is a course in collaboration with the Emerging Media Lab. In the course, students work on emerging technology projects collaboratively, learning project management and prototyping tools. Permission to enrol granted by the faculty member, Dr. Patrick Pennefather. To enrol, send an email to and provide a one-paragraph description of previous experience with digital software in the body of the email.

The Team

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Consultant: Dr. Patrick Pennefather, Professor, UBC Theatre and Film

Projects – Spring 2023

VR Metabolism

The objective of this project was to port a screen-based version of an existing metabolic network visualization and re-design the user experience created by previous EML teams into VR.

Motion Library

The motion library proof of concept was created in collaboration with industry partner Sawmill Motion Capture Studios to provide students with experience in a motion capture studio, and create a Web 3D interface for students to access a small library of motions they could export to 3D software like Blender and Maya.

Climate Education Portal

The proof of concept project used Figma to rapidly prototype versions of a climate education web portal that showed the geographic location where climate scholars would upload materials and research.

Projects – Fall 2022

EML @ Tapestry

Tapestry is a multimodal, non-linear, interactive learning experience where students, faculty, and staff can create nodes that connect to form a tapestry, allowing users to integrate concepts in one space, while welcoming the UBC community to explore and engage with projects involving emerging technologies and media to support learning and research.

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Live Stream Motion Capture

This project focused on testing, fine tuning, and developing content for an existing live streaming application in collaboration with Sawmill Motion Capture Studios and partner Evil Eye.

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VR Paintball Experience

VR Paintball Experience is a university hub space that represents UBC in the virtual world through several static and interactive components.

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Projects – Spring 2021

Remote Virtual Production

Imagining Indigenous Land

Photos from the Class