Instructional Skills Workshop

Instructional Skills Workshop for Faculty (ISW)

  • Intensive three-day teaching workshop
  • Open to all Western Faculty (full and part-time)
  • Designed for both new and experienced faculty
  • Participants are required to attend the full three days
  • Limited Enrollment

Recall a learning experience that was particularly powerful for you. What facilitated that learning? Was it what someone did? Was it something you did? Was it something about the time or place? The Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) offers you the opportunity to explore, in very practical and hands-on ways, the conditions that give rise to powerful learning experiences among your students.

These sessions provide new instructors with an introduction to designing and facilitating effective learning activities. The ISW also serves as a laboratory for experienced instructors who wish to refine and expand their teaching practice, to explore new ideas or to revisit the fundamentals.

During the three-day workshop participants design and deliver three "mini-lessons" and receive verbal, written and video feedback from their peers. Using an experiential approach, participants are provided with information on the theory and practice of teaching adult learners, the selection and writing of useful learning objectives with accompanying lesson plans, techniques for eliciting learner participation, and suggestions for evaluating learning. Participation in ISW creates an opportunity for new faculty to learn about Western’s unique learning culture and can also be a renewing and revitalizing activity for more seasoned members. Added benefits are a sense of collegiality, team building and self-discovery.

Upcoming Workshops

Tuesday, December 13th to Thursday December 15th, 2016

8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The D.B. Weldon Library, Room 121, Teaching Support Centre

How to Enroll?

  • Registration for the workshop using thelink below.
  • A $50.00 refundable deposit is required to complete your registration. Please make your cheque payable to Western University and bring/mail it to the Teaching Support Centre, Room 122, The D.B. Weldon Library. The cheque will be returned to all those who complete the three days of the workshop and to those who cancel five business days in advance of the session.

Core features of an ISW:

  • A small group of peers (5 or 6 participants)
  • One or two facilitators
  • 24 hours in class (3 eight-hour days)
  • A respectful, supportive, and confidential learning environment
  • Each participant delivers three 10-minute mini-lessons
  • Peers, as learners, provide feedback on what helped them learn

ISW offers participants the opportunity to:

  • Work closely with peers to improve each other’s teaching
  • Practice a variety of instructional strategies and techniques
  • Increase awareness of participatory learning concepts
  • Connect with colleagues from a range of disciplines
  • Experience the diversity of a contemporary classroom and consider the variable needs of learners
  • Recognize the importance of establishing a positive learning environment
  • Increase knowledge of self as teacher

Instructional Skills Workshop Online (ISWO)

  • Next offered in Spring 2017
  • Facilitated asynchronously and synchronously online

The Instructional Skills Workshop Online (ISW-O) has been developed to address the needs of Western instructors who teach online. It offers participants the opportunity to explore, in very practical and hands-on ways, the conditions that give rise to powerful eLearning experiences among students. This workshop provides new instructors with an introduction to designing and facilitating effective eLearning activities, while experienced instructors may use it as an opportunity to refine and expand their teaching practice, to explore new ideas, or to revisit the fundamentals. Participants interact both asynchronously (e.g., discussion forums) and synchronously (e.g., Blackboard Collaborate).

This small enrolment workshop occurs entirely online in OWL over a six-week period (approximately 8-10 hours per week). Participants will experience the role of both online instructor and online learner. Although some instruction and resources may be provided on how to use basic OWL tools, the ISW-O focuses on best teaching practices for eLearning rather than the technicalities of course development in OWL.

Participants design and teach an online “mini-lesson” in OWL and receive verbal, written, and video feedback from their facilitator and peers. The activities are intended to provide an authentic environment where instructors can learn, experiment, and practice skills related to facilitating online learning.

The ISW-O follows a six-week schedule:

  • Week 1: Community Building and Workshop Expectations
  • Week 2: Building Lessons
  • Week 3: Putting Theory into Practice
  • Week 4: Mini-Lesson Preparation Week
  • Week 5: Participant-Led Mini-Lessons
  • Week 6: Feedback and Reflection

Workshop learning outcomes

By the end of the ISW-O, successful participants will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast eLearning principles with face-to-face learning principles in order to clarify the roles and responsibility of the online instructor
  • Develop strategies for humanizing an online course in order to engage online learners
  • Apply eLearning principles and theory to online instruction through designing, constructing, and facilitating an online mini-lesson using the BOPPPS model
  • Engage in reflective practice and explain rationale for instructional choices
  • Apply appropriate strategies for sharing and receiving feedback with peer facilitators

Participants who successfully complete all ISW-O components will be awarded a certificate recognizing their learning.

Past participants have said,

“I have to thank you for demonstrating how you can structure a course— since seeing the ISWO I've been able to re-organize my own course, and sub-divide modules into topics to prevent students from becoming inundated with too much confusing material on one page.”

“I am so glad I was able to participate in the ISWO. I felt that it was extremely insightful being in the position of online student as this, itself, gave me ideas for what to do/not do.”

For more details, please contact