Scholar

Scholar

Considerations for your SoTL Project

Watch the video Examples of SoTL Projects which provides examples from three instructors who describe their research projects, the questions they were seeking to answer, and how they benefited from the experience.

The video participants describe their large and small-scale questions, and research projects that were very specific to their disciplines and their interests. You may wish to start small with your own research.

Like any research project, a SoTL project requires you to formalize your research approach. Remember, what is different about SoTL is that the focus is on improving learning outcomes as a result of practices you implement, research, assess, and report.  

Typical considerations include:

  • Identifying a research problem or a challenge of practice that interests you.
  • Developing a research question from the identified problem or challenge.
  • Using relevant and diverse literature to inform your study.
  • Designing a specific project and choosing an appropriate methodology.
  • Obtaining Research Ethics Board (REB) Approval for your research
  • Finding support or funding to provide you time and space to conduct the research.
  • Considering a networking and dissemination strategy to share your research and invite discussion from colleagues.

Your own research experience may predispose you to follow a deductive or quantitative approach to test a current approach to the problem. Alternatively, you may wish to take a more exploratory, inductive approach using qualitative methods to illuminate new thinking about a teaching/learning problem. It is really up to you what approach you take.

Peter Felten (Elon University), Ketevan Kupatadze (Elon University), and Mathilde van der Merwe (University of Cape Town) share examples of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Projects.
Source: Center for Engaged Learning at Elon University and the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL). This video was produced for ISSOTL Online 2013.

What kinds of problems about teaching practice interest you?

There are some well-known areas of practice that SoTL researchers have probed through classroom projects. Examples from SoTL projects are made available to educators to explore through the University of British Columbia resources:

What areas of teaching practice would you like to explore?   

Is there a teaching practice that presents a challenge?  Would you like evidence that something that you do has an impact on the way your students learn?  Is there something you would like to try in your classroom and explore if it works the way you intended?

There are some well-known areas of practice that SoTL researchers have probed through classroom projects. These resources from the University of British Columbia discuss some areas that may be of interest to you:

Other Tools to Support SoTL Research, Design and Organization

The University of British Columbia provides SoTL Explorer, which you can use as you consider how to frame your projects in a research context: http://sotl-explorer.sites.olt.ubc.ca

SoTL Explorer

Extend Activity

Now we move into the phase where you will outline a research plan for an SoTL project in your area of interest.

You will be doing your work in a document that will be used for the remaining activities in this module, and eventually shared in a SoTL Research Plan Folder with the ones done by previous participants.

If you want to work in Google Docs, you can make a copy of the SoTL Research Plan template that is saved in your own Google account. When the copy is made, edit the file name to include your name. Or, if you prefer to edit in another format, you can view the document now and use the File -> Download menu to save it as a MS Word document.

  • Examine each of the practice resource links provided in the Considerations section of the Scholar Module and the UBC SoTL Explorer.
  • For more ideas in this step, review the planning documents in the SoTL Research Plan Folderby colleagues who completed this module.
  • Edit your SoTL Research Plan (Google Doc or MS Word) to describe your thinking about an area of research interest and a potential framework you are considering.
  • If you are using a Google Doc, click the Share button in the top right, then Get Sharable Link to find the web address for sharing your document. If you are using MS Word, you can upload your file. Either way, this is how you can share your planning in a response to the Refine Your SoTL Plan activity.

As evidence of completion, please plan to enter the web address for your response in the Scholar badge submission form.

Value of SoTL
Design