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Jillianne Code, Ph.D
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Short Biosketch

Dr. Jillianne Code is a Canadian researcher, educator, and learning scientist specializing in learner agency, online learning technologies, and the impact of social media on student success and well-being. As the Director of the ALIVE Research Lab at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Code studies agency ‘unbundled’ from formal education, including video games, virtual reality, technology education, and social media communities.

Dr. Code’s most important role, however, is that of a heart failure survivor and two-time heart transplant recipient. Following her heart transplants, to honour the efforts of her medical team and the sacrifice of her donors, Dr. Code has worked to advocate for the inclusion of patients as partners in healthcare practice and research. In 2016, Dr. Code co-founded the HeartLife Foundation with Marc Bains, Canada’s first – and only – national patient-led heart failure organization that has grown to include a network of heart failure patients across Canada. In 2022, HeartLife was awarded Effective Voice of the Year by the World Heart Federation for the Heart Failure Patient and Family Caregiver Charter, which has since been translated into 17 languages by the Global Heart Huband endorsed by more than 30 patient organizations worldwide.

Research Statement

Agency and identity development are central tenets of my scholarship throughout my graduate and academic career and play a key role in how I shape and understand my own identity – as a woman, researcher, and person with a medical disability. Living with heart failure for 15 years (diagnosed in 2005) and as a two-time heart transplant recipient (2014, 2018), both my scholarship in agency and learning technology and lived experience has become my own lived curriculum – currere (Pinar, 1975) – through which I continue to discover meaningful relevance across many disciplines. As a faculty member at UBC in Curriculum and Pedagogy, I advance my interdisciplinary scholarship by engaging in fundamental questions about How we learn? and Does technology make a difference? by examining the very nature of human agency and inquiry across the disciplines of ADST ­– applied design, skills; STEM –­ science, technology, engineering, and math; and the democratization of knowledge in the process. Within ADST and STEM education, I am uniquely positioned in relation to the Standards for Technological and Engineering Literacy (ITEEA, 2020) which include Medical and Health-Related Technologies (MHRT), of which teacher educators and educational researchers are only beginning to explore. Selected themes of my research include:

Technology and its Applications to Educational Contexts:

  • Critical examination of learning environments in ADST, STEM, and MHRT (Code et al., 2020);
  • Democratization of knowledge through social media and technology (Code, 2013); 
  • Design and validation of virtual environments for assessment (Code & Zap, 2017);
  • Critical pedagogy and the psychosocial impacts of technology (Code et al., in press).

Methodological Innovation for Understanding Self-Processes and Agency:

  • Through measurement (Code, 2020) and learning analytics (Code, in press); 
  • As education through public discourse and knowledge translation (Code, 2019); 
  • As the object of study through autoethnography (Code, 2019).

Since arriving at UBC, I have enriched my scholarship by examining my own personal journey and lived experience (e.g. Code, 2019) – and aligned it with my ongoing scholarship in agency (e.g. Code, 2020) and learning technology (e.g. Code & Zap, 2017). This alignment has resulted in a comprehensive research program with a breadth and depth of impact across domains in education, public health, and medicine and has resulted in a noteworthy increase in productivity.

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