SoTL Network Series Meeting
The next SoTL network session will be announced in January
If you have any questions regarding this event, or the SoTL Network, please contact Cora McCloy at email@example.com.
Recent News on Research on Teaching @ U of T
by Cora McCloy, Faculty Liaison and Research Officer, CTSI
Join the conversation!
If you would like to join CTSI's Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL) list-serv, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"A Cohort-based Learning Community Enhances Academic Success and Satisfaction with University Experience for First-Year Students"
Corey A. Goldman, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, U of T
Published in The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, Vol 3, Issue 1
The Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL) is one form of scholarship.
Four categories of scholarship:
- scholarship of discovery – the pursuit and investigation of new knowledge and subsequent contributions to the field;
- scholarship of integration – the connection of knowledge and discovery into broader contexts and the building of connections across disciplines.
- scholarship of application – the application of knowledge involving engagement and broader notions of service; and,
- scholarship of teaching – the transmission, transformation and extension of knowledge.
- be informed and evidence-based;
- have some conceptual underpinnings;
- involve documenting teaching activities and achievements;
- involve some assessment of process and outcomes;
- involve some sort of reflection;
- build on such reflection to effect change;
- involve teaching approaches that are replicable by others.
Teaching Scholarship in Practice
- Being informed about teaching
- Reading the higher education pedagogical literature
- Attending workshops and courses
- Talking to colleagues
- Gathering evidence about teaching practice/process
- Student feedback, including course evaluations, exit polls, etc.
- Evidence of student learning and change, including learning “products” (examples of student work)
- Feedback from colleagues, former students, employers
- Informal classroom “action” research
- More systematic research for publication
- Reflection and change
- Including sharing insights with colleagues
Rationale for Teaching Scholarship
- To claim credit for teaching accomplishments
- As a form of accountability
- As a basis for formative evaluation, reflection about teaching, and improvement
- To enhance the importance of teaching in the institution
- As a key component of professional responsibility as academics
- To make teaching a more public activity and encourage dialogue about the process
The Society of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) is an excellent resource for information on the history and practice of SoTL in Canada and internationally. They hold an annual conference each June.
Teaching Innovation Projects (TIPS) Journal, Western University, graduate student journal
National Special Issue
The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO), in collaboration with McMaster University's Centre for Leadership in Learning, has published Researching Teaching and Student Outcomes in Postsecondary Education (PDF). This guidebook looks at the process and methodology of conducting a research study within the context of the scholarship of teaching and learning.
Collected Essays on Learning & Teaching (CELT)
Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching (CELT) publishes peer-reviewed scholarly and practice-based articles associated with the annual conference of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE). The intent is to challenge conference presenters to convert the essence of their peer-reviewed sessions into essay form for a wide readership interested in teaching improvement practices in higher education.
Volume 5 is now available.
This volume includes "Connecting Inquiry and Practice: Lessons Learned From a Multi-Year Professional Learning Partnership Initiative," by Carol Rolheiser, Mark Evans, Mira Gambhir & Kathy Broad.
Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, Volume 3, Issue 1 (2012)
International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, Volume 6, Number 2
MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (JOLT)
Special Issue on Massive Open Online Courses published
JOLT is a peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication – view the latest issue at:
Society for Research into Higher Education
Advancing knowledge, Informing policy, Enhancing practice
The University of Toronto Libraries has a Author's Rights Lib Guide for those scholars who want their research to remain "open".
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Research Methodology: Selected References
The University of Toronto and the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO)
The following University of Toronto teaching and learning projects have been funded through the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO). We look forward to following the progress of these projects and will update this page as more information is available.
Developing Teaching Assistants as Members of the Teaching Team
Lead Researcher: Carol Rolheiser, Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation
This study examines the influence of the Advanced University Training Preparation (AUTP) certificate and the Writing Instruction for TAs (WIT) initiative on students and TAs. Both are peer-supported programs and operate within a wide range of disciplines, teaching, and administrative contexts at the University of Toronto. The study will identify the specific elements of TAs' interactions with students that support deep learning and the development of core skills and competencies, and determine the most effective means by which TAs can build the teaching skills necessary to support student learning. The study employs a mixed methodology approach: quantitative data collection includes surveys (e.g., Approaches to Teaching Inventory, Trigwell, 2010; Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST), Entwistle, 2010), and qualitative data collection includes a review of course documents and interviews with instructors, TAs, and students. Research findings will identify structures and mechanisms to enhance: 1) student learning; 2) development of a student-focused approach to teaching among TAs; 3) the integration of TAs as members of the teaching team, and 4) the overall culture of teaching, including optimizing opportunities for TAs.
Teaching Team Effectiveness in Large Classrooms
Lead Researcher: Greg Evans, Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry
This study aims to assess a novel, web-based intervention for the instruction of team-effectiveness in large classrooms. It involves collecting self- and peer-assessments of students’ effectiveness in teams according to our framework of team effectiveness. The study provides students the opportunity to experience working in diverse teams, where they will be able to encounter a variety of team-effectiveness issues stemming from diverse personality characteristics. Student characteristics may include: Leadership Style (Bolton and Bolton), Learning Style (Felder), Personality Type (Myers-Briggs), and Temperament (Kiersey) which all affect how a student interacts with their team-mates
Increasing Engagement and Understanding Using Interactive Planetarium Shows
Lead Researcher: Dr. Michael Reid, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
This project aims to answer the following questions: do interactive planetarium shows improve student understanding of concepts in astronomy, particularly those based on temporal or spatial reasoning? Are interactive planetarium shows better at increasing student understanding of astrophysical concepts than non-interactive planetarium shows? Does our ‘highly engaged’ mode of teaching, including such elements as frequent quizzing, online interaction, and interactive planetarium shows help improve student attitudes toward science? This study involves dividing students into small groups, and allowing students to explore the concept in the planetarium using direct control of the interface. TAs will guide students to define a question related to the curriculum and to a concept which is hard to visualize. Students will participate in high engagement aspects of the course, such as discussion boards. Expertise on focus groups and surveys will be obtained through collaboration with OISE.
Engaging Students to Think Critically and Historically in a Large Class
Lead Researcher: Mairi Cowan, Historical Studies, UTM
This project assesses the effectiveness of instructional engagement
strategies on the critical thinking of students in a large humanities
class. More specifically, we will be using pre- and pot-tests as well as
focus groups to measure students? mastery of one particular critical
thinking skill - how to gather and select appropriate evidence in
historical research - in order to determine whether the cluster of
strategies for active engagement that has proven successful in Physics
education research can have similar effects on the learning outcomes of
humanities students.Value: $46,838
Using Formative Peer- and Self-Assessment to Support Critical Thought and Community in Large Classes
Lead Researcher: Steve Joordens, Department of Psychology, UTSC
This study aims to answer questions relating to student peer- and self-assessment, including: does experience with peer-assessment help students develop their critical thinking abilities as theory, and some minimal previous empirical work suggest?; Does performing self-assessments throughout an assignment further enhance the extent to which students learn to be critical of their own work?; Does the formative peer- and self-assessment process contribute to students’ sense of community in large classes? The context of the study are classes of more than 1000 students, and the assignment will be based on the “Make an Argument” portion of the Analytic Writing Task as described in the Collective Learning Assessment document. Student critical thinking abilities will be measured using the Cornell Critical Thinking Test, Level Z. Student sense of community will be assessed using Garrison, Anderson and Archer’s (2000) Community of Inquiry for Online Learning.
The Inverted Classroom Approach with Enhanced Online Support
Lead Researcher: Micah Stickel, Department of Electrical & Chemical Engineering
The inverted classroom teaching approach is designed to allow students to become more actively engaged with the course material within the classroom. This project aims to answer the following questions: to what extent does the new teaching approach improve students’ understanding of course material as compared to the traditional instructor-centred approach? Does the effectiveness of the new teaching approach depend on the student’s learning style, their academic ranking, or the extent to which they engage with the different aspects of the new teaching approach? Does the new teaching approach improve the students’ perception of student/instructor interaction and the students’ self-efficacy as compared to the traditional instructor-centred approach? They will conduct pre-and post-tests to assess short term and conceptual learning; quizzes to assess analytic problem solving capabilities and long term retention; and surveys to assess the impact of learning styles.
Networked Academic Profiles
Lead Researcher: Frances Garrett, Department for the Study of Religion
This project aims to answer the following questions among others: How can social networking and progress tracking technologies enhance student academic engagement, experience, and overall learning outcomes in a discipline-bounded environment? Do students exposed to NAP’s social networking and progress-tracking technologies express an enhanced sense of academic engagement and experience that is significantly shaped by a discipline-bounded environment? How can NAP create a more cohesive academic experience for students? This study will utilize focus groups among undergraduates in two departments and semantic analysis of textual data generated by NAP sites. Annual surveys and other quantitative data will also be utilized as tools in the assessment.