The Instructional Skills Workshop is offered within a small group setting and is designed to enhance the teaching effectiveness of both new and experienced educators. Participants review basic ideas about teaching, check current practices, and within the safe environment of the workshop, try new strategies and techniques. During the 3-day workshop (24 hours total), participants design and conduct three “mini-lessons” and receive verbal, written and video feedback from the other participants who have been learners in the mini-lessons. Participants receive a certificate upon completion which is widely recognized at many Canadian and international post-secondary institutions.

[tribe_events_list category=”isw”]

instructional skills workshop

Course Refinement

A course refinement is a means of collecting useful, personalized and timely feedback about a course you teach while you are teaching the course. During course design or delivery, you may have a teaching idea you’d like to explore or you may notice that an exercise or idea is not working as you anticipated. Your students are in the best position to tell you what is and isn’t working for them, but how do you solicit honest feedback without arousing students’ concerns about how their comments will be received? The process that we use allows us to collect student feedback on your behalf, anonymize it, and return it to you so that you can make decisions about how you may want to adjust the course at the midway point in the semester. It is a highly successful process that has received very positive feedback from instructors and students alike.

feedback on laptop

Communities of Practice

Communities of Practice (CoPs) are groups of people who share a set of interests or a passion about a topic, and who increase their knowledge in this area through discussion and shared experiences. Communities of practice create a body of shared expertise and promote best practices. If you would like more information regarding a Community of Practice at McMaster (either joining an existing community or establishing a new one), please contact the chair(s) or Rebecca Taylor at ext.20857 or


Educational Cognition

How does research inform teaching and instructional design? The Pedagogy Community of Practice focuses on experimental methodologies to assess the efficacy of teaching techniques and strategies. The format of these meetings often includes a journal article reading that members review before an informal presentation followed by group discussion. Members are encouraged to keep the conversation going on the CoP:Pedagogy discussion forum.

Chair: Amy Pachai 

Meetings (in PC-204): Every Thursdays at 10:30pm – 11:30pm.

Teaching Professors

The unique demands of Teaching Professor positions at McMaster can leave some people in this role with questions about self-identity and expectations. This role-based community meets to exchange ideas around permanence, excellence in teaching and leadership and scholarship in teaching and learning, including funding strategies. In addition, continued conversations of tips ‘n tricks are regular topics of discussion.

Hannah Holmes
Sandra Colavecchia

Meeting Time : 2:30-3:30pm
Jan 11 – MacPherson Boardroom
Feb. 15 – MacPherson Boardroom

Level One Instructors

The Level 1 Instructors Teaching Level 1 (1st Year) courses offers unique challenges and exciting opportunities. Community of Practice discusses effective methods for engaging Level 1 students, shares best practices for teaching and learning, and offers diverse opportunities for intra and interdepartmental collaboration amongst instructors/educators enhancing their professional development.

Sandra Colavecchia
Lovaye Kajiura

Meetings : 10:30-11:20am
Jan 31 – MacPherson Boardroom
Feb. 28 – MacPherson Boardroom
Mar. 21 – Collaborative Table

Research on Teaching and Learning

We invite long term and new members alike to come with updates, topics for discussion, and news. Email Sarah Symons with your ideas.

Sarah Symons
John Maclachlan

Meetings :
First meeting: September 29th at 3:30pm in the MacPherson Boardroom.

Course Delivery and Course Design Student Partnerships

The student-consultant partnership program was developed to provide ongoing and meaningful support to faculty members in course development and delivery. This program pairs faculty members with a second to fourth year undergraduate student whose role is to provide feedback for course development or course delivery. For more information see Student-Consultant Partnerships with Faculty.



Active Learning

Active Learning Classrooms are spaces designed to support teaching and learning in an atmosphere conducive to engaging students actively in their own learning. Teaching in these spaces, however, may be different than teaching in a traditional classroom. Participants in this session will leave with several ideas to effectively teach in McMaster’s Active Learning Classrooms and will have practiced teaching in an active learning approach that fits one’s discipline.
[tribe_events_list category=”active-learning”]

Course (re)Design Seminar

The CrDS provides a space for instructors to design or redesign courses of any size to encourage student engagement and student success. Instructors from across campus participate in the CrDS to focus on the process and product of course design. During this interactive two-day workshop, participants have the opportunity to explore a variety of instructional strategies and assessment approaches.
[tribe_events_list category=”course-redesign”]

Collecting Student Feedback

Participants in this seminar will be introduced to various techniques and strategies to collect student feedback on their learning, as well as your own teaching approaches and practices. As part of the three-part seminar, participants will collect student feedback in their current courses with the aim to make small changes in their teaching to enhance student learning and engagement.
[tribe_events_list category=”collecting-student-feedback”]

Accessibility in Teaching and Learning

Teaching accessibly is something everyone can do, but it can sometimes be difficult to know where or how to start. This seminar will provide participants with opportunities to explore different approaches to accessibility, apply strategies of universal design to existing teaching materials, and exchange feedback with other instructors.

[tribe_events_list category=”teaching-accessibly”]

Teaching Effectively Online

This seminar is appropriate for instructors who are looking to introduce new online pedagogies or enhance existing practices and strategies, whether their course be web-facilitated, blended, or fully online. Participants in this three-part seminar will leave sessions with guiding resources, new ideas regarding effective design and delivery of online learning experiences, and will have the opportunity to practice and obtain peer feedback on an online pedagogy of relevance to their course context.

[tribe_events_list category=”teaching-effectively-online”]