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Food for thought!

As a higher education scholar, our primary duty must be to “actively translate disciplinary knowledge for a broad public audience”. This will definitely help in addressing the huge gap that seem to be occurring between how the public perceives higher education and what academics/researchers at universities know to be true; and will also help shape the public narrative about teaching and learning.

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In this article on "Does Reading SoTL Matter?: Difficult Questions of Impact", Dr Nancy Chick considers the question that was posed to her “In medicine, we know that journal articles don’t affect practitioner practice. How is SoTL any different?”

Such a thought is not new with many academics and is an important one to think about!

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Dear All

Have you ever wondered what types of research methods are most common in SOTL? Here is an article on the research methods used in SOTL- analyzing 223 empirical research studies from 2012-2014.
Divan, A., Ludwig, L., Matthews, K., Motley, P., & Tomljenovic-Berube, A. (2017). Survey of research approaches utilized in the scholarship of teaching and learning publications. Teaching & Learning Inquiry, 5(2).

Key findings are

1) Research Designs of Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods are fairly distributed in SOTL literature.
2) But there is an over-reliance on using student feedback (88%)- The other most data common source was faculty (21%)- The question is "how can we diversify this?"
3) Most commonly used tool: Survey
4) Most common data representation for qualitative data: Table, Quotes.
5) Majority of studies collected snapshot ( one time) rather than longitudinal

Here are some questions for all of us to think about and share.

1) How do you think we can diversify and improve the research methods used in SOTL?

2) What methods are you using in your SOTL research and why- can you diversify?

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Hi everyone,

Here's a video on leadership that I chance upon while taking a breather from reading articles.

It is a recorded lecture given by Professor Jeffrey S. Brooks (hosted by Monash University) and has a rather provocative title: "Everything we know about educational leadership is wrong: Rethinking scholarship and practice for improved teaching and learning".

I wonder if anyone would like to comment on whether they have made similar (or different) observations about issues concerning education leadership in their own context and how SoTL might (have) help(ed)?

I think the speaker was referring to the use of traditional education research to improve educational leadership but I believe we can also consider ways that the practice of SoTL could positively impact educational leadership.


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Thanks Huang Hoon for the new reading. I started a new thread for this.

I came across another article by Shreeve (2011) while looking up for recent articles after Schroeder's (2007). Shreeve has ideas very similar to Schroeder. I found in Shreeve's article a stronger message on using SoTL work as a means of feeding-back on institutional initiatives (plus she included detailed examples that helped me understand the point in Schroeder's better).

When reading Schroeder's article, I had the impression that the author was suggesting that SoTL efforts needs to align with what the institution has planned. I think it should go both-ways - SoTL work should also influence institutional initiatives. In the Shreeve's words: "SoTL is a ground-up opportunity to be part of the change culture and to inform managers of the nature of the lived experience of teaching and learning." .

Sorry to harp on distributed leadership (DL), but I think education initiatives are very complicated and could benefit from examining SoTL work done at different levels, including from the ground where most of us are working. SoTL work I take here to involve among other things, informal leadership.

Based on these readings, I wonder if a simple link between DL and countering "SoTL marginalisation" involves formal leaders engaging and enabling (Jones' article) experts on the ground (informal leaders) by tapping on their SoTL work to improve institutional initiatives. This might also indirectly foster leadership in SoTL.

Shreeve, A. (2011). Joining the dots: The Scholarship of Teaching as part of institutional research. Higher Education Research and Development, 30(1), 63-74.

The special interest group on SoTL and/as academic development has the following focus.

First, members of this SIG will aim to strengthen academic development (also variously known as educational or faculty development) by taking a more scholarly approach to it (Felten et al., 2007). To that end, the group will aim to study good practices to academic development as reported in scholarly literature relevant to the field. This includes paying attention to enhancing faculty and student capabilities as academic learners and teachers, as well as evaluation of academic development initiatives to evidence value (Bamber & Stefani, 2016; Chalmers & Stefani, 2015).

Second, members will investigate how fostering SoTL can support academic development. The goal is a reflective, scholarly approach to teaching practice informed by relevant theory, which is achieved by developing academics' knowledge base with regard to the integration of two interrelated areas: expertise in the discipline, and expertise in teaching that discipline. The intersection of expertise in the discipline, which academics already possess as a consequence of their graduate work (even as they continue focusing on researching that discipline), and expertise in teaching the discipline that develops as they inquire into their practice, is key for professional and institutional growth.

Third, if such inquiries are documented and subjected to peer review, and if results are then made public, especially at the local, departmental level, this can strengthen scholarly conversations about teaching as a key component of academic practice (Mårtensson et al., 2011). A central concern of the SIG is thus to consider research-based approaches to documenting practice and 'going public' through teaching portfolios, or through other means.

The overarching goal of the SIG is to work towards a strategic approach to academic development for the benefit of students, academics, and the organisational learning of our universities.


Bamber, V. & Stefani, L. (2016) Taking up the challenge of evidencing value in educational development: from theory to practice. International Journal for Academic Development, 21(3), 242-254.
Chalmers, D. & Gardiner, D. (2015). An evaluation framework for identifying the effectiveness and impact of academic teacher development programmes. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 46, 81-91.
Felten, P., Kalish, A., Pingree, A., & Plank, K. (2007). Toward a scholarship of teaching and learning in educational development. In D. Robertson & L. Nilson (Eds.), To improve the academy: Resources for faculty, instructional and organizational development (Vol. 25, pp. 93-108). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Mårtensson, K., Roxå, T., & Olsson, T. (2011). Developing a quality culture through the scholarship of teaching and learning. Higher Education Research & Development, 30(1), 51-62.

SoTL in the Disciplines

The aim of this group is to encourage conversations on both conceptual and practical issues related to the SoTL approach within respective disciplines. The deliberations are meant to raise individuals’ awareness on what the SoTL approach might mean, especially in the context of their relevant disciplines. Disciplinary SoTL experience is gained through the sharing of the design and implementation of small discipline- specific studies amongst group members. SoTL knowledge is also gained through the discussion of published articles on the investigation into teaching and learning practices.

Some areas that are interest to this group include the following:
• the SoTL approach
• conceptual underpinnings of the SoTl approach
• features of SoTL research in my discipline
• pertinent SoTL issues in my discipline
• methods and methodologies in SoTL
• challenges, tensions and resolutions in a disciplinary-based study
• avenues for/ preparation towards the dissemination of disciplinary investigations
There is much to be tapped from the sharing of cross disciplinary experience in teaching and learning research and this group works towards that aim of sharing expertise and experience.

Hello everyone,
Testing, testing...
I chose the Jones et al (2017) article to find out about distributed (DL), how it is practised in some specific higher ed context and how it's effectiveness could be measured.
The authors highlighted 3 cases to illustrate instances where DL was practised, how the values of DL could be translated into benchmarks and how DL applied in different settings could be assessed for impact.
Briefly, key points I took away:
- DL emphasizes collaborative efforts from different levels including formal leaders and informal leaders such as experts in practice. This is moving away from the traditional notion of leadership coming from a single heroic individual to one where there is a collective, interdependence on contributions from various parties that influence decision-making.
- impact of enacting DL in programmes and initiatives could be assessed, e.g. using the benchmarks they derived.
In case one (page 203), the practice of DL led to engagement, cultural change, with some outputs including formation of a CoP etc.
In case 2 (page 205), other than impact on staff practice, the DL approch seemed to also impact student outcome - e.g. improved student success and retention.

I am curious about the bit on enabling DL ((table 1 page 200) - how does it get started - top-down? bottom-up?) and the other part on assessing impact.


Hi colleagues!

This SIG welcomes all colleagues who are keen to learn more about how assessment can impact teaching and learning. As pointed out by Black and Wiliam (1998), learning about assessment allows us to look inside the black box – how we teach and how students learn. Furthermore, assessment for learning creates opportunities for discursive feedback that promotes purposeful interactions between teachers, students, peers and the wider learning community. In essence, our SIG draws on notions of assessment for learning to engage in dialogue among colleagues, both local and overseas, to share ideas, activities, strategies and to develop a better understanding of our assessment processes and practices.

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Hi All

Somewhere before the Asian SOTL 2017 conference, I had sent a google form and some of you responded. The survey hope to gather some insights into challenges faced in SOTL sharing...

So that we may find some solutions together.

And I wanted to share the findings earlier with all - but we did not have a platform and it is great that we do now.

So here is what I wanted to share... you can view the video here.
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