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

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Session 4: Students as partners and ethical considerations in SoTL research


In this session, you will learn about two key areas of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL):

  • involving students as partners in SoTL practice
  • the criteria for ethical research and ethical considerations for conducting your SoTL inquiry.

You saw in Session 1 that engaging students as partners in SoTL is a principle guiding good practice. ‘Students as partners’ in SoTL is a process of student engagement which involves educators and students collaborating on projects related to learning and teaching with the intention of enhancing the quality of teaching and student learning (Healey, et al., 2014). In this session, you will learn about the various ways of involving students in SoTL, the advantages of educator-student partnership and the challenges of involving students as partners, including ethical considerations.

As SoTL projects involve some sort of inquiry and evidence, the participation of students and other stakeholders as well as data from various sources, is integral to them. Therefore, it is important to consider research ethics in the design and conduct of a SoTL inquiry. ‘Research ethics’ refers to moral principles and actions guiding and shaping research from inception through to completion, the dissemination of findings and the archiving, future use, sharing and linking of data (OU, 2020).

By the end of this session, you will be able to: 

  • apply one or more strategies of involving students as partners in your SoTL inquiry
  • describe the advantages and challenges of involving students as partners in SoTL practice
  • describe the three ethical standards of conducting research involving humans
  • explain the three key ethical considerations of SoTL practice
  • plan ethical aspects for your SoTL inquiry.

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