Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

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The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL or SoTL) is often defined as systematic inquiry into student learning which advances the practice of teaching by making inquiry findings public[1].

SOTL necessarily builds on many past traditions in higher education, including classroom and program assessment, action research[2][3][4], the reflective practice movement, peer review of teaching, traditional educational research, and faculty development efforts to enhance teaching and learning.

As such, SOTL encompasses aspects of professional development or faculty development, such as how teachers can not only improve their expertise in their fields, but also develop their pedagogical expertise, i.e., how to better teach novice students in the field or enable their learning. It also encompasses the study and implementation of more modern teaching methods, such as active learning, cooperative learning, problem based learning, and others. SOTL scholars come from various backgrounds, such as those in educational psychology and other education related fields, as well as specialists in various disciplines who are interested in improving teaching and learning in their respective fields. Some scholars are educational researchers or consultants affiliated with teaching and learning centers at universities.

Inquiry methods in SOTL include reflection and analysis, interviews and focus groups, questionnaires and surveys, content analysis of text, secondary analysis of existing data, quasi-experiments (comparison of two sections of the same course), observational research, and case studies, among others. As with all scholarly study, evidence depends not only upon the methods chosen but the relevant disciplinary standards. Dissemination for impact among scholarly teachers may be local within the academic department, college or university, or may be in published, peer-reviewed form. A few journals exclusively publish SOTL outputs, and numerous disciplinary publications disseminate such inquiry outputs (e.g., J. Chem. Educ., J. Natural Resour. Life Sci. Educ., Research in the Teaching of English, College English, J. Economic Education), as well as a number of core SoTL journals and newsletters.[5]

Signature pedagogies[edit]

Signature pedagogies are ways of learning in specific disciplines[6][7]. Examples of signature pedagogies include medical residents making rounds in hospitals or pre-service teachers doing a classroom-based practicum as part of their teacher training. The notion of signature pedagogies has expanded in recent years, as scholars have examined their use in e-learning[8][9], for example. Some scholars contend that SoTL itself is a signature pedagogy of higher education[10].

Professional societies[edit]

The International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (ISSOTL)] was founded in 2004 by a committee of 67 scholars from several countries and serves faculty members, staff, and students who care about teaching and learning as serious intellectual work. ISSOTL has held annual conferences since 2004, attended by scholars from about a dozen nations. The conferences sites include Bloomington, Indiana USA (2004); Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (2005); Washington, DC, USA (2006); Sydney, Australia (2007); Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (2008); Bloomington, Indiana, USA (2009); Liverpool, UK (2010); Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA (2011); Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (2012); Raleigh, North Carolina, USA (2013); Quebec City, Quebec, Canada (2014).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hutchings, P., & Shulman, L. S. (1999). The Scholarship of Teaching: New Elaborations, New Developments. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 31(5), 10-15. doi:10.1080/00091389909604218
  2. ^ Sappington, N., Baker, P. J., Gardner, D., & Pacha, J. (2010). A signature pedagogy for leadership education: Preparing principals through participatory action research. Planning and Changing, 41(3/4), 249-273.
  3. ^ Zambo, D. (2010). Action research as signature pedagogy in an education doctorate program: The reality and hope. Innovative Higher Education, 36(4), 261-271.
  4. ^ Jacobsen, D. M., Eaton, S. E., Brown, B., Simmons, M., & McDermott, M. (2018). Action research for graduate program improvements: A response to curriculum mapping and review. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 48(1), 82-98. Retrieved from
  5. ^[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Shulman, L. (2005). The signature pedagogies of the professions of law, medicine, engineering, and the clergy: Potential lessons for the education of teachers. Proceedings of the Math Science Partnerships (MSP) Workshop: "Teacher Education for Effective Teaching and Learning" Hosted by the National Research Council’s Center for Education. Retrieved from
  7. ^ Shulman, L. (2005). Signature pedagogies in the professions. Daedalus, 134(3), 52-59.
  8. ^ Eaton, S. E., Brown, B., Schroeder, M., Lock, J., & Jacobsen, M. (2017). Signature pedagogies for e-learning in higher education and beyond. Retrieved from
  9. ^ Brown, B., Eaton, S. E., & Schroeder, M. (2017). Signature pedagogies in online classes. In A. P. Preciado Babb, L. Yeworiew, & S. Sabbaghan (Eds.), Selected Proceedings of the IDEAS Conference 2017: Leading Educational Change Conference (pp. 66-74). Calgary, Canada: Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary. Retrieved from
  10. ^ Felten, P., & Chick, N. (2018). Is SoTL a signature pedagogy of educational development? To Improve the Academy, 37(1), 4-16. Retrieved from doi:10.1002/tia2.20077


  • Bass, R. 1999. "The scholarship of teaching: What is the problem?" Creative Thinking about Learning and Teaching 1(1). online - online
  • Huber, M.T., and P. Hutchings. 2005. "Surveying the scholarship of teaching and learning", Chap. 1, The Advancement of Learning: Building the Teaching Commons, (ISBN 0-7879-8115-X)
  • Hutchings, P. 2000. "Approaching the scholarship of teaching and learning" (Introduction to Opening Lines: Approaches to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning; ISBN 0-931050-68-5) online
  • Kreber, C. 2002. "Teaching excellence, teaching expertise, and the scholarship of teaching" Innovative Higher Educ. 27:5-23.
  • McKinney, K. 2004. "The scholarship of teaching and learning: Past lessons, current challenges, and future visions." To Improve the Academy 22:3-19.
  • Shulman, L.S. 1999. "Taking learning seriously" Change July/August 1999:11-17.
  • E.Boyer. 1990. "Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate". The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Online

External links[edit]