FaCIT :: Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL)
The scholarship of teaching and learning allows for faculty from any and all disciplines to conduct research on their current teaching practices. Data collected in your classroom can be used to demonstrate student learning as well as inform future teaching. This section discusses key questions novices in the SoTL​ arena should consider prior to engaging in this scholarly activity and provides relevant information for how to get started. 

History of SoTL

Ernest Boyer’s book entitled, “Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate”(1990), is credited with the term “the scholarship of teaching” and for generating renewed interest in the scholarship of teaching and learning, despite the fact that individuals had been engaging in SoTL for many years. The scholarship of teaching views teaching, not as a routine task, but as one of the highest forms of scholarly enterprise, involving the constant interplay of teaching and learning (Boyer, 1990). In recent years, the “scholarship of teaching” has been renamed the “scholarship of teaching and learning” due to shifts in focus from teaching to learning, and efforts to make teaching and learning more visible (Hutchings, Huber, Ciccone, 2011).

Recognizing that many faculty members are experts in their disciplinary knowledge, but may not have had any education or experience teaching and learning best practices, SoTL practices encourage faculty members to move from one level to another to enhance their teaching effectiveness and to increase student success. Engagement in SoTL is particularly important because it serves to improve student learning and helps to improve teaching effectiveness, while providing evidence for important discussions about policy or practice (McKinney, 2007).

Research

Individuals who engage in SoTL, and insitutions that support SoTL efforts, typically realize the following benefits:

  • ​Revitalizes faculty members
  • Enhanced practice and profession of teaching
  • Brings faculty’s work as teachers into the scholarly realm
  • Increases opportunities to secure outside funding
  • Contributions to faculty accomplishments
  • Answers important questions about our learners and effective teaching strategies
  • Increases collaboration opportunities
  • Enhances research opportunities for students
  • Supports assessment, program review, or accreditation efforts
  • Strengthens budget requests
  • Fosters significant, long-lasting learning for all students
  • Improves teaching and learning (McKinney, 2010; Smith, 2009)

Practical Applications

To help you get started with SoTL, consider the following questions:

1. What is a teaching or learning question or issue that you would like to study?

a. W​ould you like to implement a teaching strategy?

b. ​Are you interested in integrating new learning technology tools into your courses?

c. Would you like to assess the impact of your course design/redesign efforts?

d. Is there an innovation that you would like to implement?

2. What is the rationale or potential significance of your project?

a. How does the current literature inform your interests in this project?

b. Is there an absence of research on this topic?

3. What method(s) will you use to study the teaching or learning question or issue?

a​. Visit Research Methods Knowledge Base for an overview of foundations of research and additional information on sampling, measurement, design, analysis, write-up, etc.

4. What strategies will you employ to assess the impact of your innovation, intervention, or application of a teaching method?

5. Will you require Internal Review Board approval for research on human subjects for this study?

​​a. Visit the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for specific details and instructions on research including human subjects.

Recommended Resources

How Can You Get Started with SoTL?

    • How Could I Do Scholarship of Teaching & Learning? Craig Nelson, Indiana University: http://php.indiana.edu/~nelson1/SOTLGenres.html. (This resource offers several examples of the genres of SoTL, including reports on specific interventions or innovations in classes, reflections informed by scholarship on teaching, comparisons of courses or student change over time, formal research, and summaries and analyses of sets of prior studies.)

What are Some Examples of SoTL?

    • Disciplinary Examples of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning , Buffalo State University of New York: http://sotl.buffalostate.edu/#B ( This comprehensive site cites a wide variety of published disciplinary examples from Art Conservation to Technology.)

Where can you find Professional Organizations and Publication Outlets?

  • SoTL Resources, The International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning(ISSTL): http://www.issotl.com/sotl-resources-2/ (This website by ISSTL, offers information on their annual conferences, resources, newsletters, and publishing opportunities in their journal entitled, “Teaching and Learning Inquiry.”)
  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Journals, Milner Library, Illinois State University: http://ilstu.libguides.com/sotl ( This website identifies core SoTL journals and also provides links to journals by discipline.)

Related Texts

  1. Hutchings, P. Huber, M. T., & Ciccone, A. (2011). The scholarship of teaching and learning reconsidered. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  2. McKinney, K. (2007). Enhancing learning through the scholarship of teaching and learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

References

  • Boyer, E. L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities for the professoriate. Princeton, NJ: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
  • Hutchings, P. Huber, M. T., & Ciccone, A. (2011). The scholarship of teaching and learning reconsidered. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Hutchings, P., & Shulman, L.S. (1999). The scholarship of teaching: New elaborations, new developments. Change, 31(5), 10-15.
  • McKinney, K. (2007). Enhancing learning through the scholarship of teaching and learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • McKinney, K. (2010). Inquiries into student learning: Getting started on a scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) project. Invited presentation for the Lilly Teaching Seminar Series. The Office of Faculty and Organizational Development, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.
  • Smith, K. (2009). Moving from effective teaching to the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). Invited presentation for the Lilly Teaching Seminar Series. The Office of Faculty and Organizational Development, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.



Posted by: Eron Drake

Original Posting Date: 10/30/14

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