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 is scheduled at present.


Typically offered once per year in May


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 and select Event Calendar.
  3. Select ONE session you would like to attend from the calendar. Details and a description will appear. If you select more than one session, you will be removed from all sessions.
  4. Select the Register on Waiting List button. You will receive an automated confirmation email to your Western email account.
  5. To complete your registration to be considered for enrolment, complete ISW-O acknowledgement form found in your automated confirmation email.
  6. If we do not receive a completed acknowledge form, you will not be considered for enrolment.
  7. If there is a spot for you in the program, you will receive a Registration Confirmation email to your Western email account, which means you are officially registered in the program. If you do not receive a Registration Confirmation email, you will remain on the Waiting List until a spot becomes available.

Due to high demand, spaces in this program are limited. Please register on Waiting List and complete the ISW-O acknowledgement formas soon as possible to secure your spot in the session. 

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.


Applies to following certificates

Faculty Certificate in Teaching Excellence

Consider this option if you are unable to register for our limited enrolment workshop:

Online Learning Module: Open ISW-O

Can't attend ISW-O in May? We have 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

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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.”