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Introduction to SoTL Fall 2016

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An introduction to Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and formulating good research questions.

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Introduction to SoTL Fall 2016

  1. 1. SoTL: Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Getting Started and Formulating the Research Question Dr. Staci Trekles, atrekles@pnw.edu
  2. 2. What is SoTL? • The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) is a means to figure out why certain teaching strategies work or don’t work, and how students learn in your class/program • SoTL can help you (and your students) reflect, refine, and innovate your teaching in a systematic, reflective way • Often multidisciplinary and can include classes and colleagues from across departments • Engaging in SoTL is a scholarly activity that results in publishable articles or presentations
  3. 3. SoTL Basics • Reflective process, similar to research in any disciplinary field • Goals typically relate to improving student learning and experiences • Five primary steps (Bishop-Clark & Dietz-Uhler, 2012): 1. Generate the research question and do literature review 2. Design the study 3. Collect data 4. Analyze data 5. Present and publish
  4. 4. Conducting SOTL • Work from your question and identify the types of evidence that you will have to work with in the time that you have, such as: • Student work samples and assessments • Student evaluations • The structure/design of your course • Do a literature review and see what’s out there on the topic already • The more types of evidence, the better! “Triangulating” the data is a good idea • Analyze the data in terms of similarities and differences in what you see, and how it corresponds to the question
  5. 5. What SOTL Isn’t • Not typically a randomized experimental study • Not always controlled • May not have large sample sizes, pretests, or post-tests • Results are not (necessarily) generalizable • Definitely not limited to certain disciplines or certain forms of evidence in order to show your results • Definitely NOT inferior to other forms of research
  6. 6. Start with a “Problem” • What major themes are you facing in your course/teaching/program? • What are your biggest challenges in your courses? How have you attempted to solve them? • What has gone well or not-so-well that you’d like to understand better for the future? • Are there new developments in your discipline that students need to be better prepared for?
  7. 7. Getting More Specific About Your Problem • Consider your students or groups of students - what are they like? Can they help you in the research? • Will there be comparison groups? • What types of data will you have available? • How will you analyze the data? • What kind of time do you have to engage in this project?
  8. 8. Formulating the Research Question • The more specific you can get, the better • Keywords for finding literature should be available in the research questions • Is there still some room for new scholarship in this area? Or will your research be the same as previous work?
  9. 9. Genres of SoTL Questions • What worked – reports from classes on what went well; before- and-after evaluations • What is – reflections on a period of time in teaching; includes summaries of experimentation, integration of learning theory and frameworks • What it looks like – descriptions and comparisons of courses in a larger context; across disciplines or within a program • What is possible – formulating new theories and conceptual frameworks based on practice (Hutchings, 2000; Nelson, 2003)
  10. 10. Examples • Is the current attendance policy resulting in higher levels of achievement on course objectives? • Does the use of clickers (or Think-Pair-Share, or some other strategy) improve performance on exams regarding quadratic equations? • How can deeper critical thinking be achieved through the use of feedback on essays? • Will students increase their confidence in public speaking after watching and critiquing videos of themselves giving speeches? • How does the incorporation of reflective essay assignments in beginning biology influence student learning in upper-level biology coursework?
  11. 11. Your Turn! • Let’s generate some questions based on the things that interest you about your teaching • Are there any potential collaborations in the room?
  12. 12. Publishing • Consider conferences with practitioner focus in your field, or in the education or social science disciplines (i.e., EDUCAUSE, SITE, AACE, Quality Matters, MERLOT, Teaching Professor, Lilly International Conferences) • Conferences and journals with a education focus in your discipline (i.e., Computer Science Education, Teaching of Psychology, Nurse Education Today, Journal of Research in Mathematics Education) • Many publications specialize in SOTL research: • http://www.issotl.com/issotl15/node/21 • http://www.fctl.ucf.edu/ResearchAndScholarship/SoTL/journals/
  13. 13. More Resources • Vanderbilt SOTL “getting started” guide: https://my.vanderbilt.edu/sotl/doing- sotl/getting-started/ • Guidebook to SOTL – thinking of a problem and the questions: https://my.vanderbilt.edu/sotl/files/2013/09/1SoTLProblem4.pdf • Annual SoTL Conferences: http://www.washington.edu/teaching/sotl-annual-conferences/ • Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning at Univ. of Central Florida: http://www.fctl.ucf.edu/ResearchAndScholarship/SoTL/ • Center for Engaged Learning at Elon University videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNIm8Apo1feU73SPyxEXXgg
  14. 14. References • Bishop-Clark, C, & Dietz-Uhler, B (2012). Engaging in the scholarship of teaching and learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus. • Boyer, E.L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professorate. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. • Hutchings, P. (2000). Opening lines: Approaches to the scholarship of teaching and learning. Menlo Park, CA: Carnegie. • Nelson, C. (2003). Doing it: Examples of several of the different genres of the scholarship of teaching and learning. Journal of Excellence in College Teaching, 14(2), 85- 94.

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