SoTL: a new acronym for assessing your own practice. Ruth Rodgers Teaching & Learning Specialist Durham College/UOIT Ruth.Rodgers@dc-uoit.ca. Whaddya mean “scholarship”?. Spend one minute brainstorming all the words or images that come to mind when you think about the words
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SoTL:a new acronym for assessing your own practice Ruth Rodgers Teaching & Learning Specialist Durham College/UOIT Ruth.Rodgers@dc-uoit.ca
Whaddya mean “scholarship”? • Spend one minute brainstorming all the words or images that come to mind when you think about the words “professional” and “scholarly” Compare your answers to those of several people near you.
So, how does this relate to you? • Postsecondary education is becoming a necessity for more and more jobs in our society • We are taking in students with a wider range of abilities than ever before • Demographics predict a drop in enrollment in future, but funding will continue to be dependent on retention/graduation • Therefore, we need to increase our ability to help more students learn successfully • We have to take our profession as educators seriously!
How can we do this? • We can start with CATs! • Classroom Assessment Tools Based on the work of Angelo and Cross (1993) “classroom assessment is an approach designed to help teachers find out what students are learning in the classroom and how well they are learning it. This approach is learner-centered, teacher-directed, mutually beneficial, formative, context specific, ongoing, and firmly rooted in good practice” (p.4)
Species of CATs • Formative feedback exercises designed to provide practice and feedback on how well they are mastering the material (for students), and feedback on the effectiveness of teaching (for teachers) • Mini quizzes, case studies, application exercises, minute papers etc. • Take up immediately for individual student feedback, then collect to analyze mastery across the class • Keep notes on success of various teaching approaches over the years
Everyone should have CATs! • The use of CATs helps students and teachers • Analysis of CAT (and summative evaluation) results can inform immediate and future lesson, course, and program planning • Individual faculty, subject and program teams can be deliberate about assessing areas of difficulty, and developing learning tools, supports, objects to assist learning
Do we have CATs in our CAAT?(sorry, couldn’t resist) • Take a minute to reflect on what CATs you are currently using, or could use in your courses and programs • Compare your thoughts to those of several people near you • What new CATs could you begin using? Or, how could you be more deliberate about analyzing the results of your CATs?
OK, so we do that…what’s next? • SoTL: the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning • The legacy of Ernest Boyer(former President, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching) “Faculty must assume primary responsibility for giving scholarship a richer, more vital meaning.” • (Boyer, 1990)
What is SoTL? • Boyer’s Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate (1990) attempted to reduce the polarity between research and teaching in the academy • He sought to reveal the falsity of the belief that “to be a scholar is to be a researcher, and publication is the primary yardstick by which scholarly productivity is measured.”
Boyer delineated four areas of scholarship: • Scholarship of discovery • Scholarship of integration • Scholarship of application • Scholarship of teaching
Scholarship of Discovery • The pursuit of knowledge • Research and investigation in all disciplines • Central to academic life; highly valued in university settings • Usually documented by publication in peer-reviewed, scholarly journals
Scholarship of Integration • Connects knowledge and discovery into larger patterns and contexts • Creates new perspectives • May transcend disciplinary boundaries • May connect technology, research, and teaching • Again, usually evidenced by journal publication
Scholarship of Application(sometimes called “scholarship of engagement”) • Reflects scholars’ engagement in problems of individuals, institutions, and society • Related to the concept of academic service to society • Results in practical solutions or products as well as publication • Colleges engaged at this level • Increasing with degree programming
Scholarship of Teaching/ Learning (SoTL) • Planning, assessing, modifying teaching • Applying high standards of evaluation to teaching and learning • Valuing excellence in teaching • College and university teachers have developed a body of knowledge about teaching postsecondary students, but…
…we suffer from “collective amnesia.” (Shulman, 2004) • We have not formalized this research • We have tended not to publish our results • University teachers have focused on subject research • College teachers have not participated actively in the academic community • We have not valued our own knowledge about this field of study!
What can we do to increase our involvement in SoTL? • Recognize that we have knowledge of value to offer by documenting our practice • Create Teaching Portfolios • Create Course Portfolios
Take advantage of in-house and system vehicles to share results • publications (print or online), presentations, mentoring, academic forums
Get involved in academic associations • Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) • Canadian Society for Studies in Higher Education (CSSHE) • Institute for the Advancement of Teaching in Higher Education (IATHE)
Conduct research into our teaching • request support in the form of seed grants, innovation funds, pd leaves, evaluation/tenure practices
What might we research? • Brainstorm a list of topics related to the TEACHING of your subject areas that would benefit from research
Publish in appropriate print and e-journals • Catalyst • The College Quarterly • Journal on Excellence in College Teaching • League for Innovations publications • National Teaching and Learning Forum • The Successful Professor • inventio (George Mason University, Virginia) • Higher Education Perspectives (OISE )
Reward and encourage excellence in teaching and research into teaching/ learning • Committee examining creation of College sector teaching award (parallel to 3M Teaching Fellows), sponsored by STLHE
How might we do this? • At this college/university? • As a professional community of practice? • Do college teachers need/want a professional association? • College educator Special Interest Group within the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education forming this year • How do the associations of university faculty support SoTL?
What’s next? • Continue the dialogue • with fellow faculty • with academic management • with union representatives • Plan to include SoTL in your own practice • Think of yourself as a professional educator!
Summary activity • Take 5 minutes to write down what YOU will do next related to this topic… • Integrate more CATs into your courses? • Analyze your results more deliberately? • Discuss learning supports with colleagues/program teams? • Apply for research funding? • Write a paper on teaching? • Start a revolution? (just kidding—sorta)
Want to know more about SoTL? • or for support in conducting your own SoTL… Ruth Rodgers, Teaching & Learning Specialist SW101, ext 2540 Ruth.Rodgers@dc-uoit.ca