D. Hanna

Ryerson University (CANADA)
Faculty development programs are critical to the success of the learning and teaching process in higher education. With the rapid development of blended courses there is a need to transform the face-to-face faculty development programs to blended programs. The transformation requires instructors to examine new teaching methods and techniques and obtain new skill set to ensure the success of the learning process and students’ engagement in the new environment. Blended teaching is not just about transferring part of the training course online, but involves creating online activities that engage learners and complement the face-to-face activities. The role of the instructors changes from lecturer to facilitator of learning, coach and collaborator. Through participation in blended learning environments, instructors could experiment the new teaching strategies in a collaborative and safe environment.

This paper presents the process, benefits and challenges of transforming the Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) for instructors from a three-day twenty four hours intensive format to four-week blended format. The Instructional Skills Workshop is peer-based training in which participants interact and present lessons in small groups to develop effective instructional skills through the use of constructive feedback strategies. Strategies associated with the re-design process which is based on the instructional design theories and principles will be presented. The paper presents data from formative and summative evaluations on communication, instructional skills and course design. The recommendations will address best practices that could be used to transform many faculty development programs from face-to-face to blended formats.