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.

1 Students as partners in SoTL

Involving students as partners in learning and teaching is a pedagogical approach in which students and educators work in collaboration, as partners, to improve teaching and learning experiences. This definition stands in contrast to the student-as-consumer model that has become increasingly prevalent in higher education. It also departs from the traditional ‘sage-on-the-stage’ model of teaching (Cook-Sather et al., 2014).

Collaborating with students in SoTL inquiries integrates student voice: that is, student perspectives and insights on learning, teaching and curriculum, and considerations of how to incorporate them into decision-making processes (Dewar et al., 2018).

Learning is a process, not an event, and students can play a key role in that process and in partnership with educators. When educators and students partner on inquiries into teaching and learning, both groups expand their ‘pedagogical intelligence’ (Hutchings, 2005): an understanding about how learning happens, and a disposition and capacity to shape one's own learning. While full partnership may not be practical or appropriate in all SoTL projects, good practice requires engaging students in the inquiry process (Felten, 2013).

Activity 1 Students as partners in SoTL

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

As you are watching the following Center for Engaged Learning video (from 03:24 to 05:15), make a note of the key points made by the two speakers on ‘students as partners’.

Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Show transcript|Hide transcript
Video 1 Collaboration with students in SoTL
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Future Directions and Emerging Trends in SoTL [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] video by Center for Engaged Learning, Elon University, licenses/ by-nc-nd/ 4.0/

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


In this video, Dan Bernstein from Kansas University, mentions the metaphor of student participation in SoTL as ‘students as agents’ in contrast to ‘students as objects or products’. He also refers to the role of students as co-producers and co-learners.

Mary Taylor Huber, Bay View Alliance and Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, states that SoTL is focused on student learning – so, in a way, students are always involved in SoTL, but there are more active ways to include them. Mary is excited about student involvement in SoTL, and how SoTL has a place alongside other movements in teaching and learning in higher education, including undergraduate research and student engagement.