Before you attend

Organizational and Human Development (OHD) continues to chart this new virtual working environment alongside University employees, exploring different tools and methods to deliver content and continue providing learning and development opportunities to the University community.  

To ensure that you have the best experience in one of our virtual learning sessions, we ask that you take the time to review the following to best prepare before you attend.  


Due to our current virtual work environment, there are some technical requirements you need to successfully participate in OHD's virtually facilitated sessions. Ensure you meet the requirements on the technology checklist. If you are unsure of any software requirements on your computer, please contact IST for support.  

Currently, all online workshops are hosted in Microsoft Teams

Please ensure you have:

  • Access to a computer/device with internet connection
  • Access to Microsoft Teams (Part of your Office 365 experience through Waterloo)
  • Access to more than one window on your computer, or additional access to a second screen (such as a second monitor, phone, or tablet etc.)
  • Audio and/or video capability to engage in the virtually facilitated sessions  
  • Download the OneNote App within Teams (if your session lists this as a requirement for pre-work)

Other Applications you may use are: Your facilitator will advise you on how to access this feature. 

Registration & Completion

  • All registration happens through Portal unless otherwise indicated.
  • If a session requires self-directed pre-work, you will receive an email invite to use the OneNote App in Microsoft Teams.
  • Your session will have a virtually facilitated component.  You will receive an email invite to a Microsoft Teams meeting for the date and time (which is also located on our website and on your Portal registration).
  • Once all session components are completed, you will receive credit in your training record on Workday.
  • If you have questions or have not received your invite prior to the course, please contact

Creating a Successful Learning Environment

We want to ensure a smooth transition for you to participate in our sessions. Creating the right environment where you feel comfortable and present will allow for an inclusive environment where everyone is ready to engage and take part.

Here are 10 Tips to help create a successful learning environment for yourself and others:

  • Make sure you are comfortable – there is no dress code, find a space that works for you, and have a beverage ready to keep you hydrated
  • When you join the meeting, explore the Teams Toolbar (pictured below) to know the features, such as Raise Your Hand and the chat window. Ensure your camera is turned off and your microphone is muted at the beginning.  We will ask you to use those features later in the sessionMicrosoft Toolbar
  • Say hello in the chat and introduce yourself (we love a good gif, too!).
  • Open your browser or have a phone or tablet nearby for interactive elements, such as Mentimeter.
  • Have a notebook or paper ready for any notes you wish to capture for yourself (or if OneNote was used for pre-work, there is a ‘Notes’ section in the app)
  • There are options to ask questions at any stage by either raising your virtual hand or asking in the chat window
  • There is an audio caption feature available (located under the More Actions menu item on the Teams Toolbar).  Consider turning captions on if you would like the option of reading what is being said
  • When participating, say your name and consider coming on video (if comfortable) so we can actively engage with you
  • Be curious about the topic and listen to others’ perspectives and thoughts on the content
  • Have fun and enjoy the discussion!

Pre-work (self-directed learning):

Some sessions may ask you to complete pre-work before connecting in a virtually facilitated environment. The purpose of the pre-work is to allow you to gain knowledge and understanding of the content at your own pace and at a convenient time. This pre-work allows the group to dig deeper into the ideas and concepts, providing a forum for discussion, and further exploration of the topic in the virtual group setting.

  • OHD will send an email containing your pre-work one week before the virtually facilitated session is scheduled.
  • Note: you may be required to use OneNote application for access to the pre-work.
  • Complete the pre-work in full before participating in the virtual session.
  • The virtual session will build upon the content learned during the pre-work.

Virtually Facilitated:

  • The virtual sessions are highly interactive.  Come ready to be an active participant and be curious about the material.
  • Please ensure your computer has audio/video capabilities, such as a camera, speakers, and microphone.
    • While video is recommended for supporting full participation, you can use the chat window feature.
  • There will be a combination of presented content by the facilitator, along with ample opportunity to discuss the main concepts with other participants.
  • You will be asked to share in a number of ways: online polling, open large group discussion, virtual break-out room small group discussions, etc.

Post-work (self-directed learning):

  • Most sessions will request that you set a goal from the workshop content to support your action of applying the material in your work environment.
  • You will be asked to complete a post-session feedback evaluation through Qualtrics to support continuous improvement.
  • Note that you may be required to have access to the OneNote App for access to any workshop specific post-work.
  • Check out our OHD Resources site for any additional information and resources related to OHD content and topics.

Your Wellness

We know that your work and life experience is very multifaceted right now. Our learning and development opportunities are a resource for you to gain knowledge, seek different perspectives, and connect with others in the University community. However, we want you to consider if you have time and energy to commit to a workshop or program series. Sessions will continue to be offered year-round, so there will always be another opportunity to engage in the conversation.

Ask yourself these questions when looking to register for any of our programs:

  1. Do I feel I have the capacity/energy to complete the requirements of the session?
  2. Can I commit to the expected duration of the session components?
  3. Am I in a place where I feel ready to participate in the facilitated session?
  4. Can I commit to setting a goal and using the information learned from the session?
  5. Are there any other barriers to my participation that I need to consider?

We understand circumstances can change with only a moment's notice. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions. We are here to help!