Types of Dissemination

Image is a banner showing a typewriter, notepad, book on top of a wooden table top. The superimposed words say: What's your story?

If you had researcher training you probably have been taught about dissemination plans and strategies. In principle this is similar to thinking about your scholarship and SoTL dissemination. I usually suggest to think about the overall narrative–begin with your key interests. When exploring issues around learning, teaching, and assessment, what are the topics you keep going back to? What interests you? What have been the aspects of your own teaching practice that you wanted to have a closer look at? Don’t forget to check if or how these are aligned with institutional and wider HE contexts. Are these maybe the beginnings of a longer journey or elements of a bigger story?

There is a brilliant dissemination strategy template*, see the pdf linked below. Keep in mind if you click the link below the quotation the URL does not have a security protocol (hence uploading the pdf here). The project description:

In late 2009, the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) funded a special project to determine to what extent the promoted dissemination strategies had led to the effective dissemination and consolidation of outcomes of completed ALTC Grants Scheme projects in the period 2006 to 2009. The project, named D-Cubed: A Review of Dissemination Strategies used by Projects Funded by the ALTC Grants Scheme was led by Deanne Gannaway (The University of Queensland) and Tilly Hinton (University of the Sunshine Coast), and supported by Project Officer, Kaitlin Moore, and Research Officer, Bianca Berry

Source: The University of Queensland, Australia
An image of an open book with a pen laying in the centre of it. The superimposed word reads: Scholarship

Sometimes we talk about dissemination in terms of complexity in our scholarship. For colleagues who are just beginning to dip their proverbial toes into the realm of publishing about learning, teaching and assessment, moving from a scholarly approach to their practice (e.i.: practice informed by literature and others’ research) to scholarship might be the least scary move. Scholarship can be a blog post (you are always welcome to contribute to our UofGSoTL blog), a podcast, video, conference presentation, to a journal article. The focus in these is usually on sharing ‘how’ you have done something. What was your reasoning behind implementing a specific teaching method, what literature has informed this? There are different types of journal articles in SoTL publications that lend themselves to scholarship, such as idea papers, provocations, literature reviews about a topic, reflections on your practice.

Image of a blackboard a shadowy lecturer write in whit chalk. The superimposed word reads: Sotl

Levelling up–so to speak–would be gathering data about your own practice. This can be very localised, such as your own classroom–from significantly changing one session, to course redesign, to introducing a teaching method to a whole year group. Now you are in the realms of SoTL–but only if you publish, disseminate. So don’t forget your ethics applications, before you set out and gather data.

However, this is not where SoTL stops, there is much potential for collaborations. SoTL can be discipline agnostic. Say colleagues in engineering and colleagues in museums studies introduce flipped classroom. This would make an interested project sharing and comparing experiences and perceptions of students. Cross-institutional and international collaborations are possible as well.


* Thank you Dr Michael McEwan for pointing it out!