The scholarship of teaching and learning: what works, and why

Jessica Riddell, University Affairs, Apr 06, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

One acronym, which I kept reading in two senses:

  • SoTL - State of the Literature
  • SoTL - Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

They amount to the same thing in this article. And it was interesting to reflect on the state of the literature in the scholarship of teaching and learning. Here's what one author found (quoted):

  • SoTL is a diverse and dynamic field - faculty members from across the disciplines are using their own methodological expertise to explore complex issues in higher education.
  • SoTL is uneven. SoTL is a topic where, depending on the audience, you are either preaching to the converted or a lone voice in the wilderness.
  • Disciplinary experts have the right, perhaps even the responsibility, to engage in careful and nuanced thinking about teaching and learning.

Maybe so. But it also underlines to me the lack of an actual science of teaching and learning. After all, we wouldn't expect to see a professor of English literature giving us their own perspective on electrical engineering. (p.s. don't expect to see the promise of the title anywhere fulfilled in this article).

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