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February, 2012, Kent State University Inquiries into Student Learning: Getting Started on a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Project Facilitator:

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Presentation on theme: "February, 2012, Kent State University Inquiries into Student Learning: Getting Started on a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Project Facilitator:"— Presentation transcript:

1 February, 2012, Kent State University Inquiries into Student Learning: Getting Started on a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Project Facilitator: Kathleen McKinney

2 Objectives  Discuss definitions and examples of SoTL.  Articulate strategies to overcome barriers to SoTL work.  Articulate a research question for a SoTL project.  Know where to look for prior literature and theory.  Select possible research methods.  Understand ethical issues related to SoTL.

3 A Sample of Definitions of SoTL “problem posing about an issue of teaching or learning, study of the problem through methods appropriate to the disciplinary epistemologies, applications of results to practice, communication of results, self- reflection, and peer review” (Carnegie Foundation)

4 A Sample of Definitions of SoTL “systematic reflection/study on teaching and learning made public” (Illinois State University)

5 Discussion Questions- Defining SoTL  How is SoTL defined in your discipline?  Is SoTL different from scholarly teaching? Assessment?  What aspects of a discipline or department might affect the conceptualization of SoTL?  Is there/should there be a campus-wide, cross-discipline definition of SoTL?

6 Common Features of SoTL  College level  Discipline-based  Focus on learning, sometimes teaching  Conducted by regular faculty in the disciplines  Local  Methodological diversity  Evidence-informed  Must be made public

7 Sharing Examples What examples of SoTL projects (own or others) can you share?

8 Opportunities or Functions of SoTL Faculty…  Revitalizes faculty members  Brings in outside funding  Adds to faculty accomplishments  Answers important questions about our classes, students

9 Opportunities or Functions of SoTL Collaborative…  Networking  Research opportunities for students  Involvement in an international higher education initiative

10 Opportunities or Functions of SoTL Learning and Institutional…  Demonstrates to job candidates that you value teaching  Helps with assessment; program review and accreditation  Strengthens budget requests  Improves teaching and student learning

11 Challenges/Barriers List any challenges or barriers you feel or have experienced to doing SoTL work…

12 Challenges for First Timers  narrowing the topic/developing research questions  crossing from scholarly teaching to SoTL  finding and using appropriate literature  ethical issues and working with the IRB  time limitations and insufficient resources

13 Challenges for First Timers (and others)  finding others with whom to collaborate  measurement and methodological choices  analyzing and interpreting data  finishing the work and making it public  getting the work to count

14 Integrating SoTL Work into Existing Practices, Work Load, Resources  Attach SoTL work to existing campus priorities and initiatives.  Find internal pots of funds.  Integrate SoTL with teaching, traditional research, & committee/service work.  Involve students as co-researchers.  Learn new/improve your SoTL skills (read a book, audit a class, go to workshops…)

15 Integrating SoTL Work into Existing Practices, Work Load, Resources  Connect SoTL to other teaching support opportunities.  Use team work. Share labor and expertise.  Apply results to improve teaching and learning, and “efficiency” of good teaching and learning.  Other ideas?

16 Types of Questions (from Hutchings (2000))  What is questions  What works questions  Visions of the possible  Developing new conceptual frameworks

17 Getting Started on a SoTL Project- Worksheet- Part I 1. List any activities in which you are engaged that constitute or could become SoTL work. 2. Think about a teaching/learning issue or problem that you have. Briefly state that AS a question. 3. What type of question is this (Hutchings scheme)?

18 Searching for Prior Literature for SoTL Projects  Conducting a literature review requires using several different strategies.  SoTL journals, education journals, & disciplinary journals are all relevant.  SoTL, like other fields, is also turning to  the Internet as a publisher.

19 Getting Started on a SoTL Project- Worksheet- Part II 1. Given your question, what types of information or artifacts do you already have that will help you to answer this question? 2. What other types of information or artifacts or data will you need?

20 Theory Can Help Us Move Our Research Agenda Forward  Read up on theories related to teaching and learning in higher education.  Consider any models or theories in the extant SoTL literature on your topic specifically.  Talk through your theoretical ideas out loud and with others.

21 Theory Can Help Us Move Our Research Agenda Forward  Consider whether theoretical propositions and conceptual frameworks from your or a related discipline might help explain your teaching-learning problem.  Draw out your model in diagram form such as a concept map to help you articulate implicit theories and refine them.

22 Possible Methods for Gathering Evidence Research questions guide methodological choices (within practical and ethical constraints). Common SoTL methods include: questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, content analysis of student work or student reflections on learning, case studies, observation, and quasi-experiments.

23 Ethical Issues in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning  Human subjects + making public = IRB  Informed consent, right to privacy, protection from harm

24 Getting Started on a SoTL Project- Worksheet- Part III 1. Given your question and the information/data you need, what research strategies might you use to obtain this information and answer this question? 2. What are some practical problems you might face in doing this study? 3. What ethical issues should you consider in doing this study?

25 Making a Difference--Application  We do SoTL to make a difference in student learning.  Thus, we must consider the implications of our SoTL results for our classes and students, apply them in practice, gather additional evidence…in a continuous process.  We should consider how we can have an impact, make a difference BEYOND our own classroom as well.

26 Comments? Questions? Thank you for your interest and contributions!


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