Office of Faculty Development
Producing Evidence from Teaching (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning)
The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) is a formal, peer-reviewed communication in an appropriate media and venue that becomes part of the knowledge base of teaching and learning in higher education. Once you have created course learning objectives, the most useful activity is to find out what others have done to meet similar objectives. Consulting the literature these days includes not only reading peer-reviewed articles and books, but also searching the Web, attending disciplinary and multidisciplinary conference sessions on teaching, and participating in faculty learning communities and on listservs with other instructors
College instructors usually make their teaching decisions implicitly—and oftentimes in the midst of a live classroom situation. Although most professors make good professional decisions on course activities, methods, and assessment, if those decisions are not clarified, they cannot be evaluated and improved. As Richard Light and colleagues say, “You cannot save by analysis what you bungle by design” (Light, Wilett, & Singer, 1990, p. viii, italics in original).
Finding out what others have done, whether in your discipline or another, can save you from repeating mistakes. You can share what you have learned from your students and receive additional feedback through participation in both disciplinary and multidisciplinary conferences on teaching and learning. Associations such as the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), American Mathematical Society (AMA) , American Psychological Association (APA), and American Sociological Association (ASA) hold annual conferences with presentation tracks for teaching, as well as separate, focused teaching conferences. The Lilly Conferences on College and University Teaching, held in five regions of the United States, have been providing an interdisciplinary forum for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning since 1980. More than 650 participants attend the original conference in Oxford, Ohio, each year, and over 200 people attend each of the regional ones.