SoTL and your Practice

How can those with SoTL experience mentor colleagues who are new to SoTL?

One of the aspects colleagues who are new to SoTL particularly colleagues coming straight from a research only background can struggle with is how different the approach to SoTL is versus “pure” educational research.

SoTL is first and foremost concerned with evaluating and exploring our own practice. The impact our teaching (or teaching support) has on learners or colleagues. Framing this within the wider context of our different disciplines.

It would be difficult for instance to bring a new colleague into a well established project, as the colleague has not been involved in the process of developing, rationalising, researching the pedagogies of the teaching situation that is interrogated for impact.

They have no relationship to this practice yet. And therefore their involvement could falsify the data and change the project. It would necessitate redesign of the project, new ethics application, and if it is a longitudinal project potentially falsify the data as new complex variables are introduced.

On the other hand, in SoTL projects, PI is not as important as collaboration. Collaboration within a team or across teams can create better, stronger data and more valuable insights, than projects run solo might have.

Suggestions for Supporting new to SoTL Colleagues:

  • Supporting colleagues in developing their own SoTL projects
    • Helping identify areas that need exploring
    • Supporting in developing research questions
  • Encouraging them to think how to use SoTL for career development (particularly important for LTS colleagues).
  • Helping with ethics applications
  • Sharing best resources to find literature
  • And of course inviting colleagues to our network and sharing our ADD CPD series

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