Free Faculty Development Course From University of Toronto


Blog post by SimGHOSTS Australia Officer Kirrian Steer

I’m a big fan of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) because they are a great way for Sim Techs to build the skills and knowledge they need across many different specialty areas. MOOCs are short courses offered by some of the best universities in the world through platforms such as Coursera or EdX. They range from 1-2 hours per week for four weeks up to 6-8 hours per week for 12 weeks or more. Some run for a defined time period and others are available on demand. The courses are entirely online, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any practical skills involved. Many courses feature practical components or workplace learning and have creative ways of assessing the learners. There are lots of hidden benefits to completing MOOCs but I’ll save those for another discussion.

My first MOOC was in August of 2013 and it was about health professional education. After completing over 30 MOOCs, it remains one of my favourites. This week I saw some new courses on health professional education and thought I would take a closer look at them. All three are offered by University of Toronto and can be completed as a series or as standalone courses.

The courses are:

Health Professional Teaching Skills – Level 1 – Foundational

Health Professional Teaching Skills – Level 2 – Strategies

Health Professional Teaching Skills – Level 3 – Professionalism

The Foundational course covers some essentials for Sim Techs – orienting the learner, checking in with the learner, and providing feedback to learners. This is important for all Sim Techs to know and understand, even those who are not actively involved in delivering education.


More about this course: Faculty Development is a broad range of activities that institutions use to renew or assist faculty, supervisors, preceptors, field instructors, clinical educators, and status appointees in their roles. These activities are designed to improve an individual's knowledge and skills in teaching, education, administration, leadership and research. This education and teacher training course highlights foundational areas of teaching and learning for health professional teachers that can be applied directly to their teaching context and practice. Core topics such as orienting the learner and delivering feedback are addressed through videos and applied activities.

What you'll learn:

  • Learner-centered teaching
  • Providing effective feedback
  • Orienting the learner

The Strategies course covers clinical teaching tools and asking effective questions. The effective questions sections are highly relevant for Sim Techs who are participants in the debrief following a simulation. Bloom’s Taxonomy is used as a model for structuring questions in different ways to enhance different types of learning and understanding.  The clinical teaching tools are not as relevant but it is still handy to have an understanding of how the educators that you are working with are using them to advance the learners.

The Professionalism course focuses on role modeling and being aware of your online presence. An understanding of this is important in any field, not just health professional education. The effects of both positive and negative role modeling are discussed and examples are provided. The last two modules are about protecting your digital privacy and effectively managing your online presence and communications.

Each course is only 1-2 hours per week for four weeks, and features readings, videos and links to resources such as checklists. There are only a few multiple choice/short answer questions for each of the courses (less than ten) and there are Pause and Think questions that would be great to work on with colleagues. As with all MOOCs, there is a discussion forum for you to engage with other learners around the world. Participation in the discussion forum is not mandatory to complete the course but may help you get the most out of it.

So what did I think of these courses? I was already familiar with the content so I found them to be a good refresher, but if you are new to health professional education they will be a big help in understanding why your colleagues work the way they do and how you can work better with them. If you are at beginner level when it comes to education enroll in these courses and let us know what you think of them.