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

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Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in STEM

4.1 Collaborative SoTL inquiry

In the next activity, you will learn about the advantages of conducting a collective or collaborative SoTL inquiry rather than an individual inquiry.

Activity 6 Collaborative inquiry paradigm of SoTL

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

As you watch this Center for Engaged Learning video (from 05:38 to 07:44), reflect on what Randall Bass from Georgetown University, is saying about conducting SoTL as a collective inquiry.

Skip transcript: Video 4 Collective inquiry in SoTL

Transcript: Video 4 Collective inquiry in SoTL

RANDY BASS
I have believed for several years that one of the most important changes that needs to take place in the scholarship of teaching and learning is to think of it less and less as a matter of individual inquiry and as a matter of collective inquiry. Almost no research that goes on in any field of knowledge that's undertaking really complex problems is done by individuals working alone. If we consider learning and the improvement of education as a major complex problem around the globe, then I think we have to treat it the way we would treat other kinds of complex research. It needs to be undertaken in teams, it needs to be undertaken in labs, it needs to be undertaken and interdisciplinary collaborations where different ways of knowing and different strengths are brought to bear.
What's different about the scholarship of teaching and learning is that the focus is often the learning that’s taking place in an individual classroom, so we’re looking at a somewhat intricate balance between individual- the setting of individual inquiry and collaboration across that inquiry. But I think that within institutions of higher education, for example, one of the most important things that, for example, Centers for Teaching and Learning can do is to create a collaborative ethos and true collaborative momentum around scholarship of teaching and learning, to think of it as collective inquiry, to think of an institution as the building up of individual and collaborative inquiry, programmatic inquiry, and institutional inquiry. So I really think the kind of collectivizing of inquiry and thinking of it not as an individual paradigm, but really to think of the scholarship of teaching and learning fundamentally as a collaborative inquiry paradigm is not only important for the growth of the scholarship for teaching and learning, I think it's absolutely imperative if the scholarship of teaching and learning is going to be relevant at all in the next couple of decades.
End transcript: Video 4 Collective inquiry in SoTL
Video 4 Collective inquiry in SoTL
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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, https://creativecommons.org/ licenses/ by-nc-nd/ 4.0/

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Discussion

Randall Bass states that one of the most important characteristics of SoTL is that it should be thought of as being a collective inquiry rather than an individual inquiry.

He says that research on complex problems in any field of knowledge is undertaken in teams. He views SoTL and improvement of learning and teaching as a major complex problem, and SoTL should, therefore, be treated as other kinds of complex research. SoTL should be undertaken in teams, in labs and involve interdisciplinary collaborations that enable different ways of knowing and different strengths to come together.

Even when SoTL is situated in the context of a classroom, or a small set of students, or a particular module, collaboration is vital to strengthen the process of investigations. So, Randall says that institutions or institutional SoTL centres (for example, eSTEeM, Centre for STEM pedagogy at The Open University) should help in creating a collaborative ethos and collaborative momentum for SoTL.

Randall is of the view that SoTL should be viewed as a collaborative inquiry paradigm rather than an individual paradigm, and it is this collaborative focus that is imperative for the growth of SoTL.

In the next section, you will learn to carry out a literature review and how to address aspects such as: what is the existing published literature related to the aim and research questions of your SoTL inquiry? Are there other current/past SoTL projects within your discipline or other disciplines which are related to the inquiry that you are planning?

SOTL_1

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