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Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

This guide provides an introduction to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), and links to key books, journals, databases, and professional associations.

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) is a synthesis of teaching, learning, and research in higher education that brings a scholarly lens to what happens in the learning environment. The goal for SoTL research is to understand or improve student learning and the teaching practices that affect student learning. In SoTL the researcher is the instructor and the classroom is the site of inquiry. - adapted from the SoTL Guide of the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning (University of Calgary), the Sheridan College SoTL guide, and the Dalhousie University SoTL Resource Guide

SoTL is inquiry focused on student learning. It looks at disciplinary knowledge and skills, and the cultivation of attitudes or habits connected to learning. It is grounded in the disciplinary, institutional, environmental, or cultural context in which learning is taking place (Felton, 2013). 

According to Hutchings (2000), SoTL research can ask four kinds of questions: 

  1. What works? What evidence can be found for the effectiveness of different teaching approaches, tools or interventions?
  2. What does it look like? Can the features of a particular approach, student experience, or learning dynamic be described in detail? 
  3. What could be? What goals for teaching and learning have yet to be met in the university classroom?
  4. What's underneath? What conceptual frameworks shape our thought about teaching practice?

A typical research question in SoTL (Chick, 2016) will look at: 

  • Population (ex. undergraduate students, graduate students, adult learners, first generation learners, learners with English as an additional language)
  • Discipline (ex. Engineering, English, Statistics, Psychology) 
  • Intervention (ex. flipped classrooms, gamification, inquiry based learning, multiple choice tests, case studies, simulations)
  • Method (ex. quantitative, qualitative, longitudinal)
  • Results of the intervention (ex. effects, benefits, differences, comparisons, impacts)

Support for SoTL at Ryerson

If you are looking for a place to start your research in SoTL, the following offices provide support: 

The Learning & Teaching Office (LTO)

The LTO is the leader in learning and teaching at Ryerson. As the primary support for the teaching community at Ryerson, the LTO fosters a culture of excellence and innovation in teaching, working to continually enhance student learning across the university. The LTO provides one-on-one support, workshops, training programs, and grants and funding opportunities for SoTL research.

The Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation (OVPRI)

The Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation (OVPRI) is Ryerson's central research administration office, providing resources and services to support researchers and their Scholarly, Research, and Creative (SRC) interests. The OVPRI can support you in finding grants and funding, applying for research ethics, and maximizing your research impact.

Creative Commons License

This guide has been created by the Ryerson University Library and Archives and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0 License unless otherwise marked.

Creative Commons Attribution License