VIU Team-Based Learning Institute and Course Re-Design Program

Energize Student Participation and Improve Attendance with Team-Based Learning

Workshop: August 20-22, for Fall 2018 Implementation

The evidence is solid in support of the teaching model called “Team-Based Learning,” developed by organizational behaviour specialist Larry K. Michaelsen. Team-Based Learning is a method that fosters greater student independence and personal responsibility for learning. In any discipline and with any content. The key is a simple, coherent set of instructional protocols that, when adopted consistently, ensure that all the forces for engagement are aligned for high-level learning and critical thinking. For a brief summary of TBL, please visit our web page on the TBL Method.

Hosted at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, BC, the Vancouver Island TBL Institute is an opportunity for faculty in post-secondary institutions to conceive and (re)design one of their courses using the Team-Based Learning (TBL). (Non-VIU faculty are welcome to participate in the August 20 & 22 TBL Institute portion of this program. Registration for non-VIU guests can be found at

The TBL Institute will be facilitated by veteran users of TBL and trainers of faculty using the TBL method.  Tine Reimers,  Bill Roberson, and Marilyn Funk, Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Specialists at VIU  will be joined by  Jim Sibley of University of British Columbia.

Here is what VIU Teaching Faculty are saying about Team-Based Learning:

  • “For the first time my students are consistently coming to class prepared.”
  • “I used to hate teaching this course because the content was so dry. Now I’m enjoying it, and my students are really getting into it.”
  • “The other day I went 20 minutes over the scheduled class time, and NO ONE said anything, they were THAT engaged!”
  • “The most interesting change in student behavior was the fact that every day that I arrived they had already organized the tables into teams and were studying together.”
  • “My students tell me I’m like a new teacher. My whole outlook on teaching has changed!”

Participants in the Team-Based Learning (TBL) Course Redesign program will learn reliable ways to ensure student buy-in and productive interactions.  TBL practices are specifically designed to eliminate the most common types of less-than-productive student behaviour, such as failing to prepare, social loafing, reluctance to participate or dominance by strong personalities during discussions.

By the end of the lead-off workshops (August 20 and 22), you will have in your possession major components of your redesigned course, for the purposing of implementation in the Fall 2018 semester. You will also have a toolbox of key practices, and a reliable template for course outlines and assignments where students consistently take ownership of their learning. And you will have access throughout the semester to personalized support as you teach your course for the first time with TBL.

To make your request for participation in this project, please visit

If you have questions, please contact either Tine Reimers ( or Bill Roberson (


The TBL Course Redesign Program is an opportunity for faculty members to (re)develop one of their courses using the Team-Based Learning model. By the end of this program, participating faculty members will be fully equipped and prepared to:

  • Design a course within the framework of TBL principles and practices
  • Create learning activities that reliably engage students deeply
  • Apply TBL assessment and evaluation strategies that promote student learning and self-determination
  • Plan and facilitate a team-based classroom
  • Apply TBL design strategies to any course they teach

Schedule of Activities

  • Before August 20: Advance Preparation Time (complete a selection of readings, 3-4 hours)
  • Monday, August 20: Day One of TBL Institute, 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM (breakfast and lunch included)
  • Tuesday, August 21: Independent course development work (3-4 hours in a location of your choice)
  • Wednesday, August 22: Day Three of TBL Institute, 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM (breakfast and lunch included)
  • Fall semester, 2018: Meet the benchmarks as outlined below.

Implementation Benchmarks

  1. Before the first week of classes: Meeting to get feedback on your new design. One of the program facilitators will meet with you in the days before implementation in the Spring 2018 semester, to provide final feedback on the your syllabus/outline and on your plans for the first few class meetings. 
  2. Week 4 of fall semester: Midterm Survey of Students, targeting their response to key elements/practices of the TBL method within your course.
  3. Week 5-6: Classroom Observation by one of the facilitators. 
  4. Week 6-7: Informal exchange of ideas with colleagues: We plan to meet around midterm. Food/refreshments will be served.
  5. Write a Brief Reflection Essay to document your journey and what you learned from your work in the program.

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