FER Course

The Family Engagement in Research (FER) Course is a fully integrated 10-week (~30 hours) online course offered through McMaster University Continuing Education. The FER Course covers principles and frameworks of family engagement in research alongside discussions of the practicalities and challenges of research partnership. The content and course design strives to create a safe space to trial and express ideas and practical working methods to help learners develop competency and confidence in both the theory and practice of family engagement in research. A unique component of the FER Course is that patient and family partners and researchers are placed in groups and required to co-create a Knowledge Translation (KT) tool highlighting best practices in FER. These KT tools include infographics, blogs, videos, presentations, podcasts etc. By the end of the course, FER Course graduates are: 

  • knowledgeable about family engagement in research
  • capable and confident to partner on research projects

Upon successful completion of the course, learners receive a McMaster University certified micro-credential.

To learn more about the FER Course view the brochure or contact us by email (fer@mcmaster.ca).

Applications for the Fall 2024 and Winter 2025 cohorts of the FER Course are now open! Deadline: June 30th at 5pm ET.

For questions about the application process, please contact fer@mcmaster.ca. You can follow the FER Course Twitter page @FERprogram and sign up for our newsletter.

Course Structure: 

  • 10 weeks | 3-4 hours/week
  • Weekly group work & activities
  • Participate in four 2-hour online classes
  • Earn a McMaster University microcredential

Course Expectations:

  • Review weekly course content. This includes readings, resources, and video content. All materials are provided through the FER learning platform program.
  • Attend 4 two-hour Zoom meetings in weeks 1, 4, 6, and 10. You will be expected to attend all sessions, with exception for unforeseen circumstances. Multiple missed online sessions may result in withdrawal from the course and/or not receiving the micro-credential.
  • Work collaboratively with a group assigned by the course instructors in the first week of the course. A large component of this course includes group work. The purpose of group work is to practice working collaboratively in a team that includes researchers, people with lived experience, and family partners.
  • Meet with your assigned group for 30-60 minutes outside of class time each week. You will be responsible for communicating with your group to find a time to meet.
  • Develop a resource about family engagement in research with your assigned group. You will share your groups’ process of working together in a PowerPoint presentation given by your group in Week 10. You can check out past student projects here.

Course Fees:

The cost to take the course is $800 CAD.

Through partnership funding, we are proud to provide full tuition coverage for people with lived experience and parents/caregivers who do not have funding support from a research project or an organization. Limited, needs-based funding support available to research trainees (master’s, PhD students, and postdoctoral fellows). Please email us at fer@mcmaster.ca for more information.

Graduate Testimonials:

"This course has been fulfilling in so many ways. I have learned a lot, but it was the conversations and connections that ring true" – Family Member

​​”The course was exceptionally interesting and helpful. I really liked working with my small team throughout the course. I think the readings and resources were also helpful, and I look forward to sharing them with colleagues on my research teams.” – Researcher

“I think it definitely gave me more confidence in how to engage families… Or how to be engaged as a family because it also identified and highlighted some ways to do it…. I learned some actual steps in what it takes to do that, so knowing how to do it gives you the confidence on how to ask for it.”– Family Member

“I think the course was really structured to give you a lot of tools and confidence to be able to do family engagement.”– Researcher

“I highly recommend this course! With this course I was able to learn a lot about the research phases and how I could be engaged in research as a caregiver. The instructors and participants were fully engaged, the discussions were always respectful and the readings were right on target. An enlightening experience about Family Engagement in Research!” – Family Member

“Oh, my overall experience I enjoyed it, I loved it. It was really a fulfilling opportunity to be able to focus in on research that I am passionate about but to expand it to a different perspective that I can still relate to, because my research is mainly qualitative.” – Researcher