1 Making SoTL public
Making SoTL work public implies sharing the outcomes of your SoTL inquiry at local, regional, national and international levels. Going public typically involves reports, conference presentations, demonstrations, use of social media (e.g. Twitter, blog posts) or publishing articles in scholarly journals, chapters in edited volumes, or entire books. You may also choose to disseminate your findings in specific disciplinary community venues, depending upon the audience of your SoTL inquiry and its outcomes.
The objectives of making the SoTL public are to:
- enable peer review
- share challenges experienced and the solutions and workarounds
- share the benefits of the inquiry for learning and teaching
- facilitate uptake of the outcomes of your SoTL inquiry
- generate the impact of your SoTL inquiry
- demonstrate how a SoTL inquiry can be conducted to colleagues who are new to SoTL.
Activity 1 Barriers in making SoTL public
What do you anticipate are the barriers for SoTL practitioners in making SoTL public?
There are several barriers that SoTL practitioners may face in making SoTL work public: insufficient time; lack of motivation; lack of confidence to face the scrutiny of peers; lack of experience in academic writing; culture of the institution that doesn’t place value on sharing and celebrating; and lack of dissemination avenues and platforms within the institution for trial runs and early feedback.
In Activity 2, two SoTL experts suggest ways of making others aware of your SoTL initiatives.
Activity 2 Strategies for making others aware of your SoTL initiatives
In this Center for Engaged Learning video (from 02:54 to 05:17), which two strategies do the speakers suggest for making others aware of your SoTL initiatives?
Pat Hutchings of the National Institute of Learning Outcomes Assessment and the Bay View Alliance advises the strategy of networking: finding colleagues on your own campus, in another discipline, or who are working around a pedagogy that you're interested in such as problem-based learning, service-learning, undergraduate research. Pat says that it is important that these colleagues are also interested in investigating their students’ learning. She suggests that in addition to learning from one another, these colleagues may even become authors on papers.
Gary Poole of The University of British Columbia suggests multiple levels of dissemination and possible impact: locally and beyond. He says that a SoTL researcher has to adopt multiple roles, and two of these are being a researcher and being an advocate for SoTL. He says that dissemination is a major responsibility in SoTL and it is not just in journals; in fact, local dissemination is equally important. He says that there needs to be multiple levels of impact for SoTL work, and it should excite a SoTL researcher to talk about SoTL projects: ‘You want that to excite you and then you'll never leave SoTL because that excitement I think is pretty much lifelong.’