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
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’.
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.