Posts Tagged ‘2008’

Sheridan Professor, Dan Zen, wins Educator of the Year at the 2008 Canadian New Media Awards

November 21, 2008

Canadian New Media Awards - Dan Zen Educator of the Year

Canadian New Media Awards - Dan Zen Educator of the Year

Sheridan Professor, Dan Zen, was awarded the Educator of the Year at the 2008 Canadian New Media Awards in Toronto. Professor Zen has introduced pioneering curriculum in interactive surfaces, gesture technology, social Web applications, mobile tilt techniques and unique Adobe Flash code to hundreds of learners.

“As an Inventor, inventing ways to educate through creative curriculum has been an exciting challenge. It is an honour to help advance our culture and work with such dedicated students. Thank you to the CNMA and our industry for the recognition.” – Dan Zen.

Dan Zen with Presenter Sarah Diamond

Dan Zen with Presenter Sarah Diamond

Zen became Professor and Coordinator of Curriculum for the Sheridan Interactive Multimedia one-year post-grad program in Oakville Ontario in 2002 directly after being awarded the CNMA Programmer of the Year fortuitously presented by the Sheridan Director of Marketing.

“Our Interactive Multimedia Program’s blend of practical and creative design and development has helped graduates find rewarding careers in important positions of leading cultural companies such as CHUM, TVO, the Globe, ROM, and many of the hot agencies in Canada. Graduates are building sites and features for the Olympics, social networks and movie franchises.” explains Zen. “In the information age, these are the coolest jobs you can get and we need more talent! We encourage artists, designers, illustrators, animators, engineers, programmers, graduates of communication or marketing to consider this exciting career”.

Zen also teaches in Web technologies with the School of Applied Computing and Engineering Sciences and in gaming with the joint Sheridan / University of Toronto Cultural Communication and Information Technology Program. Additionally, Zen creates for his site of over 80 games and gadgets found at

About the Sheridan Interactive Multimedia Post Grad Program

The Sheridan Interactive Multimedia Program was formed in 1996 to educate learners in designing and building digital environments in which people can communicate and create content. This includes games and puzzles; tools and applications; artistic and experimental work; and simulations for education and entertainment. More information about the Program can be found at – please view the blog and Facebook links.

Interactive Crowd at CiRCA Night Club in Toronto

Interactive Crowd at CiRCA Night Club in Toronto

About the Canadian New Media Awards
The Canadian New Media Awards (CNMA) were established in 1999 to promote and celebrate excellence within the digital interactive industry. The Awards recognize the accomplishments and outstanding contributions made by Canadians working in this sector. Judges from across the country select 43 finalists and 14 winners from hundreds of entries. Each year, hundreds of business and new media professionals from across Canada gather to honour the country’s top talent, services and products at the Gala Awards Ceremony in November. For further information, visit

Sheridan Professor Dan Zen Named As Finalist In 8th Annual Canadian New Media Awards

October 9, 2008

CNMA Educator of the Year Finalist

The industry’s most prominent advocates and entrepreneurs to be awarded on November 18th

Professor Dan Zen has been recognized as one of Canada’s new media leaders. Dan Zen is one of three finalists to be named “Educator of the Year” category of the 2008 Canadian New Media Awards (CNMA). A Canadian celebrity host will be joined by industry supporters on November 18, 2008 to celebrate and present 14 Pixel Awards at CiRCA in Toronto.


Inventor Dan Zen is a Professor and Industry Liaison for the Sheridan Interactive Multimedia one-year post-grad Program producing innovative graduates for the new media industry.

Dan Zen has been creating interactive multimedia since 1995 when he programmed the award winning Understanding McLuhan CD-ROM. He won the Canadian New Media Awards Programmer of the Year in 2002 for his site of social games, gadgets and communities at

Dan Zen continues to invent facebook applications, Adobe AIR features and tools such as Zen Mix, the vlogging tool for mixing video, pictures and interactive works with blend modes to make enhanced blog posts. Sci-fi stories told by people ages five to ninety-five, environmental messages such as Car Curling, and Psychedelic Dancing as Exercise making Dan Zen the number one psychedelic dancer in the world at are some of the features created using the Zen Mix tool.


Along with the basics, graduates should be taught how to produce culturally relevant projects at the forefront of technology. Over the summer, Dan Zen completely updated his curriculum to the new Adobe ActionScript 3 language. He created a compute spectrum class so learners could easily make use of new frequency analysis features to create visualizations affected by sound. He updated his industry-leading video motion cursor classes to let learners create Wii-like applications with just a Web cam and Flash CS3. He created the Falcon class to reduce fifteen complicated lines of code to just three so that design oriented learners could set up communication with databases and XML. He introduced PaperVision3D, APE Physics Engine, Adobe AIR and media server. These skills will keep the industry fresh and forward thinking.

To exemplify uses of the technology, Dan Zen provides his own work as well as student visits with multimedia pioneers such as Gesture Tek, mediated reality cyborg Steve Mann, award-winning David Rokeby, and visionary Bill Buxton.

Dan Zen scored a 94% in the college KPI (Key Performance Indicators) compared to the 76% average for the school of computing and 83% in the college as a whole. He won the ACAATO ETC Award for Innovative Teaching with Technology. He currently sits on the committee for assessing Sheridan’s learning management system and is preparing distance education curriculum for his program.

Dan Zen has encouraged his students to volunteer for FITC Flash and Design festival and many have gone on to take lead roles in production. Dan Zen regularly speaks at FITO the largest Flash user group where his topics range from Pecha Kucha talks on Focuso to representing education on industry panels. He judges for FITC and CNMA and prepared an interactive video installation for last year’s CNMA awards where a nerd sign (the event theme) followed people in the halls.

The blog that Dan Zen created and maintains consists of almost 100 posts about curriculum, student works, and industry events. These three example posts have had over a thousand views each: “Sample Flash AS3 Code to Help Designers and Developers Handle Data and Communication”, “Going From Flash ActionScript 3 to ActionScript 2”, “Examples of Adobe AIR Applications with ActionScript 3 Code Provided”. Posted student tutorial projects in Flash, AfterEffects and AIR have received over 10,000 industry views.

Following several student projects for the Government of Canada promoting Canadian Innovators, Dan Zen taught in China to maintain and bolster relationships in New Media between our countries. Sheridan Interactive Multimedia students and Dan Zen, on a voluntary basis, created a DVD for the Canadian Olympic Team of their training for the upcoming Olympic games. Dan Zen’s class regularly receives visits from the global new media community such as from Japan’s Osaka University of Electro Communications, the Arts Institute at Bournemouth in the UK and tours of Media from around the world reporting on the depth of the Canadian gaming industry.

The most important achievements can be measured by graduate success with Ryan Andal winning the Canadian New Media Programmer of the Year and John Iacoviello, the Flash Developer of the Year. Sheridan Interactive Multimedia grads infuse cultural establishments such as the ROM, TVO, CBC, CHUM, Globe and Mail, advertising agencies such as Fjord/Cossette where Jason Nussbaum is Technical Director and form integral parts of smaller interactive firms such as Indus Blue and Splash Works. Perhaps most rewarding of all is when the grads start their own companies like the three graduates who formed Jam3 a very successful up and coming interactive firm.


Sheridan Interactive Multimedia Open House 2008 Pictures!

April 24, 2008

Sheridan Interactive Multimedia Open House 2008 Pictures

Our Open House went very well at Cossette Communications in Toronto. Thank you Cossette for your hospitality, you have a beautiful building and are very friendly folk.

Thank you to all our visitors and remote supporters who could not make it. There are pictures posted on flickr and facebook here:

Flickr pictures – note the slideshow link at top
Facebook gallery 1 – please tag yourself
Facebook gallery 2 – please tag yourself

Please leave a comment or a tagging!

Thank you for all the hard work of the grads, the planning committee (Erin, Sunil, Carlos, Kristen and Adrian), administration, IT and the professors (particularly Andrew Smyk for arranging the van and yummy food) for their work. We appreciate the recommendation of the students and our Program Advisory Committee – particularly Shawn Pucknell to hold the Open House in Toronto and would like to recognize Gillian Chubb and the Web Design program for their further advice and friendship throughout the year.

Here is a link to the student portfolios:

Interactive Multimedia 2008 Portfolios

Interactive Multimedia 2008 Portfolios

Please subscribe to the RSS feed for future updates!

Yours truly

Dan Zen

Professor & Industry Liaison
Sheridan Interactive Multimedia

Canadian New Media Awards Programmer of the Year 2002

%d bloggers like this: