Combining online and in-person learning, the free series allows faculty members to gain new skills in their own time, earn Continuing Professional Development credits and build community with other FMHS educators
The Faculty Development Office has opened registration for Your Teaching Journey at McGill, its free, flexible and accredited blended learning series for educators in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS).
To date, 125 teachers in Montreal and Campus Outaouais have taken some or all of the series’ seven modules. Among them, 29 have earned a Level 1–Faculty Development Certificate by completing a minimum of five of the modules, including those on the learning environment and feedback.
The first in-person session for the series takes place on September 28, 2023, but faculty members have been able to access the online content for Module 1 since September 1.
Building a diverse community of practice
Since its revamp in 2020, Your Teaching Journey at McGill has attracted numerous educators from across the faculty. It has also welcomed teachers of all levels, including program directors and educational leaders with decades of experience. The modules comprise a one-hour online class and a two-hour in-person session. This year is the first time each module will offer an in-person component – reinforcing its goal of creating a thriving community of educators.
In-person sessions are built around group discussions, where teachers from various disciplines can share experiences and learn from one another.
“One of the advantages of Your Teaching Journey, especially when it’s face-to-face, is that it builds a community of practice,” says Mark Daly, RRT, BComm, MA(Ed.), Assistant Dean of Faculty Development, Montreal Campus, and Patient Safety Lead, Postgraduate Medical Education. “We get a wide variety of people coming to the sessions, not just clinicians, but also researchers, basic scientists, classroom teachers.”
The content of the series is also regularly updated to include cases that are relevant to all disciplines and teaching methods in the Faculty.
A flexible and recognized certificate for teachers
Daly says the series’ “accordion curriculum” is designed to be flexible enough to fit in with the busy schedules of faculty members. The online components of the series, designed in collaboration with the Office of Ed-TECH (Education Technology and E-learning Collaboration for Health), are accessible at any time via myCourses.
“You could take a one-hour online module, or you complete 21 hours of the whole program, based on your individual needs,” he says. “It expands or contracts that way for each individual.”
The series begins with the foundations of educational theory, then takes participants through maintaining a positive teacher-learner relationship, creating a safe learning environment, giving and accepting feedback, helping a learner in difficulty, conducting assessments and teaching interactively. In Module 3, participants must also study either patient safety or graduate supervision.
“Some people who want to develop a curriculum for a new course might not have been trained in what the educational theory is behind that, or how to go about that in a way that’s going to create the best experience for their learner,” Daly says.
Accredited by the Office of Continuing Professional Development, each module is worth a maximum of three CPD credits if both the online and in-person component are completed – another advantage for educators who wish to have their teaching skills formally recognized.
Excellent teaching based on trust
At the heart of all seven modules is the “educational alliance”, a concept defined by trust between the teacher and the learner, and a shared understanding of the learning goals and how to achieve them.
This framework, supported by the latest health sciences education research, aims to create a safe relationship in which the learner and the teacher can receive constructive feedback and approach each other when issues arise.
“It’s really based on trust,” Daly says. “Sometimes, the teacher might not think of how important that is, especially when the learner is experiencing some sort of complication, whether it’s personal or a learning problem.”
Although creating an educational alliance might seem more suited to teaching in smaller groups, it can also be applied to large classes, Daly explains. For example, a teacher could advise a class of 400 learners that they intend to try a new educational approach in their next class and invite feedback on it.
“It’s showing the learner that the teacher can be as vulnerable as they are and that they are open to feedback,” he adds. “It’s the foundation of having a good relationship with your learner.”
“We look forward to welcoming educators from across the Faculty to Your Teaching Journey at McGill this year,” says Michelle Elizov, MD, MHPE, Associate Dean, Faculty Development. “Each module helps teachers unlock their pedagogical potential and invites them to explore new ways of interacting effectively with learners.”
All faculty members are welcome to register for Your Teaching Journey at McGill. For more information, visit the Faculty Development Office website.