Scholarship of Teaching and
Planning a SoTL Project
"The scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL, pronounced 'SŌ‐TUL' in the US) is a synthesis of teaching, learning, and research in higher education that aims to bring a scholarly lens - the curiosity, the inquiry, the rigor, the disciplinary variety - to what happens in the classroom (brick-and mortar, virtual, co-curricular, et al.)." - Nancy Chick, SoTL Guide, Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching
The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning is a Deliberate Process:
For More Information:
IRB and SoTL
IRB and SoTL handout
Institutional Review Board
An Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a specially constituted review body established to protect the welfare of human participants in research. Federal law states that all institutions supported by a Department or Agency to which the Common Rule applies must establish an IRB to review and approve research involving human subjects.
All research connected with members of the Park University community must be reviewed and approved by the IRB. The Park University IRB defines "research" as a systematic investigation—including research development, testing and evaluation—involving a living individual about whom you obtain: 1) data through intervention or interaction, INCLUDING surveys and interviews, and/or 2) identifiable private information in a form associable with that individual.
If you are a member of the Park University community (a student, faculty, or staff member at the Parkville campus, any of the campus centers, or online) and intend to conduct research that involves human participants, either on campus or elsewhere, you must have your research plans reviewed and approved by the IRB prior to the initiation of your project. Typical SoTL projects submitted for consideration by the IRB include surveys, focus groups, and sampling/analysis of student work. You can find more information, including the application, here:
The first thing you’ll need to do is take the NIH Training. You will need the certificate number in order to complete an IRB application.
For More Information:
Scholarly Writing Resources in Teaching
American Psychological Association
Kennesaw State University
Asking Questions & Looking for Opportunities
Asking Questions & Looking for Opportunities handout
Finding a Research Topic/Question/Problem:
Start with your baseline. What is happening in your classroom right now? What problems are you encountering? Where do you see opportunities for improvement, expansion, innovation, clarification? What do you hope to accomplish? Or what do you hope to better understand?
What Kinds of Questions Are You Asking?: Clarifying Your Ideas
In the introduction to her famous book Opening Lines: Approaches to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (2000), Pat Hutchings articulates a taxonomy of questions that describe and help guide SoTL projects (based on work by the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning). However, she emphasizes that “there is no single best method or approach,” and you’ll notice that many of her questions could overlap in the same project.
What Works? Faculty who use this question are seeking evidence about the relative effectiveness of different approaches. This might mean questioning whether a particular assignment (a multiple-choice exam) or method (problem-based learning) results in the level of student understanding or produces the kinds of student work you are hoping for. This question is a form of assessment.
What Is? Faculty who use this question seek to describe what a particular approach looks like, what its constituent features might be. This might mean describing what a good class discussion looks like or exploring what prior knowledge of technology students bring to the classroom.
What Could Be? (Visions of the Possible) Faculty who use this question seek opportunities for learning and growing. This might mean asking what might happen if you flipped your classroom or how student engagement might increase if you incorporated more group work?
How Might I (Re-)Frame or Theorize My Practice? (Formulating a New Conceptual Framework) Faculty who use this question might explore or create new theoretical frameworks for the scholarship of teaching and learning. This might mean asking what frame or model would help you to explain your teaching-learning problem.
Situate Your Work Within the Larger Conversation: Conduct a Literature Review
Library: Take advantage of the resources you have available through Park’s Library, using Pirate Search, Interlibrary Loan, and our knowledgeable librarians.
Online: Check out the plethora of online resources and journals focusing on teaching and learning (SoTL, Education, Discipline-specific).
Faculty Center for Innovation: FCI has some hard copies of important SoTL books, but we can also provide advice and guidance on where to look for information.
For More Information