Instructional Skills Workshop Online (ISW-O)


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 practices, to explore new ideas, or to revisit the fundamentals. Participants interact both asynchronously (e.g., online discussion tools) and synchronously (e.g., Blackboard Collaborate).


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.


By the end of the workshop, 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.

What to expect

This small enrolment workshop occurs entirely online in OWL over a six-week period. Past participants report spending an average of 9 hours a week on workshop related activities. Participants will experience the role of both online instructor and online learner, and can expect to interact with and learn from other participants. 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.


Program Information

Upcoming Sessions

No upcoming session scheduled at present.

Online Learning Module: ISW-O

Due to popular demand we have launched a compressed, self-guided version of our Instructional Skills Workshop Online called Open ISW-O. 

Join the site and complete the lessons at your own pace. Lessons include Building Community, Building Lessons, and Putting Theory into Practice.

  • Log into OWL using the course link: Open ISW-O-Joinable
  • After login, click "Yes, please add me" to join the site


We welcome a range of participants into the ISW-O who have current Western University Credentials, including instructors, instructional designers, librarians, and PhD students with teaching appointments.


Registration instructions

  1. Login to Western Connect using your Western username and password. 
  2. Go to the Centre for Teaching and Learning section. Select Event Calendar .
  3. Search for and select the event you wish to register in. Details and a description of the program will appear. Select the Register for this Event button.
  4. You will receive an automated confirmation email to your Western email account. Email the attached form course outline to** to confirm you have reviewed the form and your commitment for the full ISW-O program.
  5. You will receive a registration confirmation email to your Western email account when we receive your confirmation of reviewing the form.
  6. If the event has reached capacity, you may have the option to register on the waitlist.

Please note: **Due to COVID-19 and physical distancing measures, in lieu of a refundable deposit, the Centre for Teaching and Learning requires you to review and complete the form for enrolment of ISW-O. We will be checking and responding to emails during our remote office hours, are Monday to Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm.

Due to limited enrolment, please email your completed form received after you register, (this also applies if you are on wait list) to as soon as possible. Once the program spots are full, you will be on the waitlist until a spot becomes open. We will prioritize the waitlist based upon time and date of receipt of your submitted form. If you are no longer able to participate in this program please cancel your registration as soon as possible to allow others to enrol.

If you have any questions or problems registering for an event, please consult our FAQs or contact

Prerequisites / Recommended Preparation

Participants should be comfortable using the tools within OWL as the ISW-O does not provide training in the technical aspects of the Learning Management System. Participants need to have a webcam and microphone.

Completion Requirements

A certificate of completion will be awarded to individuals who:
1) submit a completed lesson planner for feedback,
2) facilitate a mini-lesson
3) participate in mini-lessons facilitated by others
4) provide feedback during one synchronous feedback session
5) participate in all weekly VoiceThreads
6) submit weekly self-assessments.


Typically offered once per year in May.

Applies to following certificates

Faculty Certificate in Teaching Excellence

You may also be interested in these programs:

Testimonials from ISW-O participants

“The ISW-O is a terrific model for teaching any course not just online. However, the focus on putting into practice the theory and ideas, and then receiving feedback on that practice, was most valuable. It showed how different the thought process needs to be, but also how much time goes into preparing materials for online teaching that in the end more or less met the expectations. The practice of self-reflection was also very helpful.”

“I found facilitating and participating in the mini-lessons gave me great perspective on how to use different eLearning tools in my own classroom.”