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

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

Timing: Allow approximately 5 minutes

What do you anticipate are the barriers for SoTL practitioners in making SoTL public?

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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

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

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?

Skip transcript: Video 1 Strategies for going public with SoTL

Transcript: Video 1 Strategies for going public with SoTL

I think the key ingredient is finding a group of colleagues who are doing this work, as well. You might find them on your own campus. You might find them beyond, in your own discipline or around a pedagogy that you’re interested in- problem-based learning, service learning, undergraduate research. But find colleagues who are also interested in really investigating their students' learning. You will learn things from each other. You will maybe work very deliberately together, maybe publish together. I think that’s the thing that’s most helpful to most people.
When you do research in your own discipline, whether it be physics or history or drama or any one of the other disciplines, you may or may not see yourself in multiple roles while you do that research. In the scholarship of teaching and learning, I would invite people to embrace multiple roles, not to be put off by it, not to say life is too short for all of these roles, but say this, there’s a great deal of life in this.
For example, you are a straight ahead, in some ways, social science researcher or humanities researcher, or you may see yourself, in some ways, as a scientific brain researcher. All of that and others can fit within the topic of SoTL. And that’s great. Ask your research questions, grind it out, do what you do as a researcher. But there’s another role. There’s an advocacy role. And I don't think you can ignore that. Well, you could, I just don't want you to ignore that. I want you to embrace that, as well.
So the topic we were talking about before regarding what do you do if you’re conducting SoTL research in a bit of a vacuum, if not a wasteland, in your eyes, what do you do? Well, we all are, to a certain extent, so we are constantly advocating for the value of what we are doing. We're disseminating, and we take dissemination as a major responsibility in our SoTL work. Not just in journals, but local dissemination. You think about multiple levels of impact for your work. You want that to excite you, and then you'll never leave SoTL, because that excitement, I think, is pretty much lifelong.
End transcript: Video 1 Strategies for going public with SoTL
Video 1 Strategies for going public with SoTL
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Strategies for Going Public with 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/

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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.’


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