AO Education Institute’s Training for Online Faculty (TOF) helps sharpen online teaching skills


The need for online teaching skills has been around for a long time but the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the need to the forefront of the AO Education Institute, which has since developed a new faculty development program to meet this need.

Piloted in 2021, the Training for Online Faculty (TOF) is aimed at AO surgeon and operating room personnel (ORP) serving as online faculty. The program provides concrete tips and tricks to help online faculty better manage their online learners.

Event objectives

After completing the program, participants will be able to:

  • Create an engaging educational experience
  • Make effective use of online education tools.
  • Describe the elements of an effective online presentation
  • Identify appropriate support resources for different online platforms
  • Facilitate an online small group discussion
  • Recognize the value of feedback and reflective practice and identify appropriate methods to apply
  • Recognize the importance of time commitment required and the rules of engagement for online teaching

Program description

During the three-week, online program, participants receive detailed feedback on their own performance from their peers and faculty.

  • Asynchronous, self-directed learning includes self-assessment, readings, videos, e-modules, assignments (around three hours per week)
  • Discussion forums for interaction with faculty and peers
  • Two live synchronous sessions with plenary sessions and breakout groups

With the help of experienced educators and surgeon faculty the AO Education Institute has continually reviewed and further developed the program to ensure that it is fit for purpose.

“Education and the road to learning is rapidly evolving. Taking all obstacles into consideration, online learning and teaching can be daunting, but this program helps allay the anxiety and discomfort by showing that an experience similar to face-to-face interaction can be achieved, and that there are even some advantages that can be accessed using online platforms,” said Brian Bernstein, AO TOF Regional Education Team (RET) member.

Educator Carola Hoentzsch said the program is a confidence booster. “The learners have gained more confidence in online teaching and are more confident in addressing the participants directly. The selection of cases is also made more consciously,” Hoentzsch explained. “Through the online training, the participants have experienced that they learn more with concrete learning objectives and ask the participants at the end for their own take-home messages.”