Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course


Become an OU student

Share this free course

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in STEM
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in STEM

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Introduction and guidance

Welcome to this free badged course, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in STEM. This free course provides you with a toolkit for conducting Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

SoTL involves educators using their disciplinary knowledge to investigate a question about learning and teaching, gather evidence in a systematic way, submit their findings for peer review and make the findings public for others to build upon.

The aim of this course is to help you to systematically plan, conduct and evaluate a SoTL inquiry focused on student learning and engagement.

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • conceptualise and design an ethically reasoned SoTL inquiry
  • conduct a SoTL inquiry
  • reflect on and critically evaluate a SoTL inquiry for its impact
  • disseminate the aims, processes and outcomes of the inquiry.

This course lasts 24 hours and is comprised of six sessions. You can work through the course at your own pace, so if you have more time one week there is no problem with pushing on to complete a further study session. The six sessions are linked to ensure a logical flow through the course. They are:

1. Engaging with SoTL

2. Getting started with SoTL

3. Formulating a SoTL inquiry

4. Students as partners and ethical considerations in SoTL research

5. Planning and conducting SoTL research

6. Making SoTL public and impact evaluation of SoTL


SoTL is often carried out collaboratively: for example, a team may constitute educators and learning designers; or educators of different disciplines; or a team of learning designers; or an educational researcher working alongside an educator; and sometimes students are involved as partners in SoTL research.

Although this course often refers to an ‘educator’ conducting a SoTL inquiry, it implies any of the aforementioned roles conducting SoTL. The term ‘educator’ is used interchangeably with a SoTL practitioner or SoTL researcher, who is the person conducting a SoTL inquiry or project individually or in collaboration with others.

Activities and quizzes in the course

This course has self-reflective activities that will encourage your engagement with videos and other course materials and help ground your learning in your SoTL practice and experiences. If you are new to SoTL, the activities will help you to note down ideas and reflections for your first SoTL project. You can write your answers in the text boxes provided against each of the activities and refer back to them or edit your answers at any time. You also have the option of downloading your answers by clicking on the link (‘Download your answers for the documents on this course’) that appears on the left-hand side of each course page.

The course has six quizzes to test your basic understanding of key concepts, ideas and practices.

Moving around the course

In the ‘Summary’ at the end of each session, you will find a link to the next session. If at any time you want to return to the start of the course, click on ‘Full course description’. From here you can navigate to any part of the course. Alternatively, use the session links at the top of every page of the course.

It’s also good practice, if you access a link from within a course page (including links to the quizzes), to open it in a new window or tab. That way you can easily return to where you’ve come from without having to use the back button on your browser.

Start-of-course survey

The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations for the course before you begin, in our optional start-of-course survey [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.