Teaching Bio

Dr. Patrick Pennefather (BFA, MFA, CELTA, PHD Education) is a founding faculty member at the Master of Digital Media Program where he designs, teaches and supervises in two main capacities. For the past ten years he has iterated on the design and teaching of a course called Interdisciplinary Improvisation and has supervised and mentored over 35 client-based digital media projects with teams of 5-7 learners.

In his improvisation course participants learn how to adapt to changes, improve communication abilities, understand the kind of collaborators they are, re-learn that play is an essential component of creation, prototype impossible structures spontaneously then scope them down, negotiate creative impulses with others, trust their team mates, practice listening, and through persistent reflection understand their capacity for inter-disciplinary collaboration. The path to achieve these ‘soft’ skills are through systematic practice of improvisational techniques gathered from many artistic disciplines (music, clown, visual arts, theatre, dance).

In the project-based learning courses, he empowers learners to transform into creative and effective collaborators on multi-disciplinary project teams with the end goal of becoming the designers of their own digital future. His innovative/iterative approach as an educator is fueled by ongoing research into collaborative practices, project-based learning, mentoring, self-regulation, and a relentless commitment to bridging the gap between what he designs and teaches, and what is demanded by a rapidly changing, team-based digital media industry. He has mentored, managed and designed instruction on the MDM Program’s industry-funded projects from mobile apps to VR projects with the following client collaborators: InTransit BC, Anthymn, Bateman Centre Interactive Visualization Project (BCIVP), Big Bertha Studios, Business Simulation Training, Carbon Chaos 2010, Chinchilla, Clarity Toolkit: Bringing Business Back To Its Senses, CODEstruction, CoLab, Community Pulse, Curate Your Own Collection, CyberPatient, D-Sign Touchless Interactive Systems, Digital Decisions, Eagle Eye, Fashion Game, GO, kindamals, Man Kind, Man Up Canada , Mirage, Monsterholic, O:N Studios, Precipice, Pwny Arcade, RAMsquared, RDM, Redshift, Shift Seven Interactive, Sofa So Good, Studio 777, TaxiCity: Vancouver, Team Labyrinth, The Road Less Travelled, THESIX, Timber, UBC Fisheries Project, V-Track Project, Virtual Rainforest Initiative, WOMP!, YATTA

Patrick has shared his ‘project-based learning evangelism’, work-shopped his methods for educators and learners, and is regularly requested at various institutions and conferences internationally in Canada, China, Japan and the United States. He has worked with the d.studio at the Sauder School of Business at UBC teaching design thinking tools and securing client sponsors into the curriculum, including the Vancouver Canucks. He travels to China yearly and has designed learning for various public institutions like Wuhan University as well as with private ones (Crystal CG University). He is currently working with Chinese game publisher Matchlight and their Vancouver VR company Fire-Point.

His choice of tools and methods of facilitation are based on his experience leading and being led on interdisciplinary teams as a sound designer, producer and comedic performer on over a thousand large-scale events and performances, from theatrical productions to international ad oriented campaigns situated in large scale sports events with Palmer Jarvis, Cossette Communications, and DDB. As an international award-winning sound designer and composer, he continues to collaborate with numerous production teams at Bard on the Beach, Push Festival, Arts Club Theatre, Electric Company Theatre, Small Stage,  and CBC Radio and Television.