What is SoTL?
This is the first of a series of posts that will introduce and explore different methods of pedagogical research. Our goal is to encourage more art historians to approach their teaching practice as a topic for scholarly investigation. Over the next few months, members of AHPP’s Advisory Board and others will contribute their perspective and share expertise in different methodologies used in the scholarship of teaching and learning, art education, and museum education research.
AHTR’s 2015 survey found that many art historians are unfamiliar with the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). This relative new area of research originated in the 1990s, growing out of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the recognition, elegantly expressed in Ernest Boyer’s Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate (1990), that teaching is an essential part of scholarly activity. (Click here for more about the history of SoTL.)
In contrast to much educational research that is conducted at the K-12 level, SoTL focuses on teaching and learning in higher education. Also, because SoTL researchers come from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, they employ a broader range of research methodologies than those typical in the learning sciences. For many, this means adapting the methods used in one’s own discipline to examine the impact of their teaching on student learning in the classroom. Below are some resources that provide a good introduction to the history of SoTL, its practice, and suggestions for ways to connect with and share your research with others interested in teaching and learning. You might also contact your university’s teaching center to learn about local support for SoTL projects on campus.
A good place to start is this 12 minute video from a series on SoTL produced by the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) and Elon University’s Center for Engaged Learning in conjunction with the 2013 ISSOTL Conference in Raleigh, NC. The series provides a good general overview of SoTL practices, including examples of research projects and recommended readings for those wanting to learn more.
Other recommended sources include:
The SoTL Advocate, a blog maintained by the office of the Cross Chair in SoTL at Illinois State University–take a look at this recent post “Brushing Up on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning” for a bibliography for general “How-to” books for conducting SoTL research.
Teaching & Learning Inquiry (open access journal published by ISSOTL)
Know of another great SoTL resource and don’t see it here? Please add it in the comments below or get in touch (info@arthisotryPP.org) with your suggestions.