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Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) refers to evaluation of student learning that is shared, critically reviewed, and published or presented. It is the systematic study (question-asking, inquiry, and investigation (Hutchings & Shulman, 1999)) of the teaching and learning of our own students, made public, with the primary purpose of improving teaching and learning. It is student-focussed with investigations looking at how students learn and how their learning is influenced by teaching (strategies, practices, interventions, designs, etc.). Questions must look at the conditions under which student learning occurs, what student learning looks like, how to deepen student learning, etc. (Hutchings & Shulman, 1999).

Teachers engaging in SoTL should bring the same level of rigor to their teaching and the study of their teaching that they bring to their scholarly research (Boshier, 2009). Publishable SoTL works focus on ‘contributing to new understanding, new strategies, and new practices in teaching…[and] contribute to our understanding of how learners learn and how teachers must use that understanding to teach’ (Rogers, 2011).

Three key elements (McKinney, 2014):

  • Done by the practitioner
  • Evidence-based
  • Public

Governing research questions in SoTL:

  • How can I improve my own teaching?
  • How can I improve student learning?

Criteria for evaluating SoTL (Martin, 2007):

  • It emphasises learning outcomes and relevant teaching practices
  • It incorporates discipline and pedagogical knowledge and innovation
  • It is public
  • It is susceptible to critical review
  • It is accessible for exchange and use; ‘in a form that others can build on’ (Hutchings & Shulman, 1999)



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