Have you heard about Indiana University’s Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Program? The SoTL program is an area of focus within the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL); it acknowledges that teaching is a scholarly activity and is thus worth researching. SoTL follows the same steps as many other forms of research: creating a research question, developing your study protocol, collecting data, analyzing the data, establishing conclusions, and presenting/publishing your scholarship.
There are so many reasons that becoming involved with SoTL can help with graduate student professional development:
- Develop research skills and evidence-based best teaching practices: The CITL has many SoTL events where you can learn the best practices for your discipline and classroom. Attending SoTL events will give you some new ideas to try in the classroom and/or new classroom components to pay attention to moving forward. Many SoTL events also include discussions about research skills: developing good research questions, project design, and collecting and analyzing data. Whether you plan to do a SoTL or non-SoTL research project in graduate school, or would like to establish some ideas for future research, learning about SoTL will provide some foundational steps to get ready.
- Experience conducting a SoTL project: Once you learn about what SoTL entails, you may want to conduct a research project of your own. Studying a component of your classroom can help you better understand your student learning; you can also share what you learn with others. If you’re not an Instructor of Record, you can still conduct a SoTL Project! Many Associate Instructors and graduate students pair with faculty members to establish a SoTL project.
- Collaborate with other instructors within and across disciplines: The CITL’s SoTL Program provides many opportunities for you to meet and collaborate in multidisciplinary settings and with instructors of all ranks. Check out our IUB SoTL database to learn about projects happening on our campus in a range of departments!
Are you a graduate student who is wondering how you can become involved with SoTL? We regularly have SoTL events. Some are specifically for graduate students, like our monthly journal club series. Come to our next SoTL event, “SoTL Work: A Showcase by and for Graduate Students,” where IUB graduate students will present their SoTL work, followed by a time for general Q&A’s. If you’re looking for a more sustained way to become involved with the SoTL Program, consider applying to a Graduate Student Learning Community (GSLC). We’ll be having a Fall 2019 – Spring 2020 GSLC about getting started with SoTL. We will meet biweekly to discuss how to develop a SoTL project and steps for putting the project into motion. Our applications will be live shortly. If you have lingering questions, contact Shannon Sipes, the SoTL Program Director.
Do you have a colleague and/or student who you think would be interested in SoTL? Share this blog post with them and encourage them to come to our upcoming SoTL events.