Photo by Manuchi / Pixabay

Online education allows learners greater access to a wide variety of subjects, but it’s an environment that can be challenging for many students. To alleviate this issue, we invite our learners to be Kadenze Ambassadors, where they can host an open and welcoming online space for their fellow learners.  

The Kadenze Ambassador program provides opportunities for Kadenze students to take on a more active role in encouraging engagement within our learner community. Ambassadors are moderators who demonstrate proficiency in a course’s subject material and provide instructional support to their peers. They’re responsible for giving constructive feedback on projects, facilitating thoughtful discussion within the course to create an engaging online learning environment. 

Ambassador Mariano Maldonado is a digital arts professor who has taken several Kadenze creative technology courses, such as Creative Applications of Deep Learning in TensorFlow and Generative Art and Computational Creativity. We reached out to Mariano and asked him to share his experience about being a Kadenze Ambassador and the unique ways the role has complemented his educational journey.

Tell us about yourself. Can you describe your artistic practice and area(s) of study? 

I am a professor in the School of Arts, Digital Art at UAEMex. There, I am conducting a scientific and artistic agenda. My research focuses on building generative systems endowing machines with creative behaviors, with [a] focus on music technology and artistic applications. I have been conducting along two directions:

  • Methodologies of artistic processes. My particular contribution to the field of artistic research has been to study different processes on building a result or production. My work includes philosophical positions such as semiotics or phenomenology (digital thinking) to the use of computational tools in audiovisual environments. Artistic methodologies offer different ways to reach a result. The construction of reality is possible beyond the dominant paradigms.
  • Audiovisual production as philosophy. The development of any proposal demands the use of techniques. The image-movement allows to build dynamic thinking based on the intentionality of the producer. The use of the tool is not alien to the consciousness of its creator. So, the audiovisual choice can be conceived as a way of being in the world making possible a doing and reflection. The fundamental idea is the fusion between man and his artifacts as an expansion of his senses. The communication between different systems allows us to glimpse the complexity that encompasses all production.

How did you discover

I was taking a Coursera course in music programming with Chuck. The professor linked the page in the references.

Why did you decide to be a Kadenze Ambassador, and how has the program enhanced your online learning experience on How have the courses benefited your professional experience or portfolio potential so far? 

Online education, from my experience, needs a paradigm shift. It is necessary to take advantage of thinking the world from new technologies and ways of acting. My contribution is based on offering helpful comments that come from a human opinion. It is essential to activate participation. In many cases, it is only perceived as a space to have knowledge, but with social networks there are other possibilities than just a classroom.

The knowledge is very specialized. The topics in Computational Creativity, Programming with Max, Machine Learning, among others, helped to think about my doctorate project. Kadenze opened up many ways of thinking about my practice. In my community of Toluca, I have made workshops where I translate into Spanish. Here, [only a few of us] are interested, and [we experience] social obstacles. Not everyone has the ability to program. Kadenze has given me perspective of the subjects to be taught, applied to my context.

Self-directed learning can be difficult to adapt to for some learners. Based on your experience as a Kadenze Ambassador, what are some effective ways learners can improve their academic performance in online courses and better engage with their peers? 

The training course is very good. It helped me understand that good feedback is the key. Making the student feel special, recognizing their effort, providing specialized advice is the key. Offering a space for direct interaction would be the best: virtual cafeteria?

What are some short and long term goals that you hope to accomplish through taking part in the Ambassador program on

Short-term objectives:

  • Assign hours a week to work. I’ve had a lot of work!
  • Improve my comments clearly
  • Review projects that can help in the courses
  • Start conversations in the private chat

Long-term objectives:

  • Meet people to carry out projects. The community is learning little by little
  • Improve my technical skills
  • Manage resources for exhibitions

What are you looking to get out of being part of an online creative community on platforms like

Community, in the sense of a family. The one that supports you, and communicates not only for an educational issue, but an experiential one.

How do you see online education evolving in the future? 

I imagine connected in virtual reality. I write at home, but with virtual reality glasses I would like to invite people to place their computer with me and talk: a person from Japan sitting on the couch, one from Germany at the table, etc. [I] think of projects that are not only [in an] academic format, but manage projects applied to communities with specific problems.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Are you a learner interested in taking part in the Kadenze Ambassador program? Send an email to to learn how you can become an Ambassador for your favorite course. 

If you want to build skills in deep learning and programming topics, sign up for the courses below:

Creative Applications of Deep Learning with TensorFlow

Creative Applications of Deep Learning with TensorFlow

Kadenze Academy


Generative Art and Computational Creativity

Generative Art and Computational Creativity

Simon Fraser University