E1. Paper Session - Klokkeklang Level 0
What constitutes scholarship of teaching & learning (SoTL)? As a research area SoTL seems to hinge on an idea of ‘scholarship,’ an illusive notion at least since Boyer (1990) proposed it as a 4-pronged conceptualisation which included teaching. Boyer wished to expand views of what ‘the professoriate’ does, especially to “move beyond the tired old ‘teaching versus research’ debate” (p.14). Yet, not only has ‘scholarship’ remained recalcitrant to definition within SoTL, the debate did not necessarily move beyond that ‘tired’ dichotomy (cf. Potter & Kustra 2011, who proposed more rigorous definitions).
To Palmer (2007), good teaching is forming community engaged in ongoing ‘conversation about things that matter’: What ‘matters’ for developing our own (mine, others’) capacity to teach? How does forming community around this relate to ideas about scholarship in SoTL?
The purpose of this paper is to contribute to transcending the dichotomy by bracketing attempts at definition. Attempts at articulating a sense of SoTL and its boundaries, including through discussing definitions, refines awareness and is important. Rather than on reaching agreement, importance is placed on wondering/wandering about (some of the periphery of) what ‘scholarship’ is/can be. Seeing the author and readers as teachers as well as researchers and more, it traces some of life on the boundary of the term ‘scholarship’.
I present two empirical (auto-ethnographic) examples. One is my reading of the Review Guidelines for this conference for its notion of scholarship. Another comes from an Academic Development course where participants are invited to enquire into conditions for their teaching through listening forth from each other a challenging teaching experience, and through getting acquainted with tension in their bodies. By explicitly focusing attention on experiential knowledges rather than published work, this course contrasts with other courses participants also take.
This paper wishes to ‘trouble’ easy assumptions about the knowability of ‘scholarship.’ Any boundary is subject to continuous (re-)construction, and the contested status of the term (not only through competing definitions/requirements but deeper) reveals its fluidity and permeability. Further, pushing at the question of what scholarship ‘is,’ and ultimately, asking about its deeper purpose (inspired by Walter Benjamin), may contribute to additional ways of working in SoTL to those presently imaginable.
‘Scholarship’ needs not exclude experiential approaches to understanding. To practice this, interested participants will be invited to engage in two simple activities of observing movement of the body and of the mind.
As SoTL scholars, many of us have a fluency with the language and conventions of the field. However, many scholars engaging in SoTL can be confronted with a whole new way of doing research (Miller-Young, Yeo, & Manarin, 2018; Simmons et al., 2013). The epistemological and ontological challenge of becoming a SoTL scholar is both supported and challenged by the SoTL Commons (Huber & Hutchings, 2005; 2006; Manarin & Abrahamson, 2016). In light of this, our research-intensive university offers strategic, institutionally supported SoTL programs to enrich the impact of quality SoTL. As people who support SoTL scholarship, it behooves us to spend some time getting to know and understand the perspective of the people we work with (Hansman, 2001; Merriam, 2001). Through our work, we are involved in coordinating and facilitating a scholarly foundation for systematic approaches to engage SoTL scholars with their movement from scholarly teaching to the rigour of scholarship. This presentation is a product of our reflective and empirical analyses of how we support this transition to scholarship and continue to develop our practices to meet the needs of emergent SoTL scholars.
Our programs for supporting SoTL scholars are not a one size fits all approach. While the programs offer a common framework for participants, they also include individualized mentorship. Our experiences have revealed that in order to best support participants’ needs, we need to 1) acknowledge and support their transition within a new disciplinary field; and 2) provide structured, individualized feedback to foster specific, personalized development and growth for their transition to methodologically rigorous SoTL. We do this by focusing on the often troublesome shift to research that might not match/mix with disciplinary approaches, through one-on-one meetings with researchers, and building connections and networks that support their teaching and learning goals. In this presentation, we will share our specific strategies and invite participants to discuss what has worked in their contexts.
E2. Paper Session - Gjendine Level 0
The aim of working in partnership with students is to bring together different perspectives and to challenge traditional hierarchies and hegemonic practices within higher education. The Students as Partners (SaP) movement is founded on the belief that teaching and learning is enhanced when faculty and students are open to sharing power and to new ways of working and learning together (Healey, Flint, & Harrington, 2016). Fundamentally, SaP tries to develop what Brew (2006, p.xiii) calls “inclusive scholarly knowledge-building communities”. Whilst there is growing evidence of partnerships, for example, in SoTL research, curriculum development, and quality enhancement, students are largely absent from one key, powerful arena of academia: publishing. The exclusion of students from publishing denies them full participation in scholarly knowledge-building communities. If we want genuinely to move toward universities as egalitarian learning communities (Matthews, Cook-Sather & Healey, 2018), then we should be aiming to challenge the status quo by bringing students into academic publishing in an authentic way whilst redefining traditional academic publishing conventions.
Recognising the inherent issues of ownership and power relations within the traditional capitalist academic publication process, we reflect on the complexities of adopting a new approach to publishing through student-staff partnerships, including authoring, reviewing and editing. For the last two years, we have been involved in leading the International Journal for Students as Partners (IJSaP) – an open access journal about partnership which is developed and managed through partnership between academics and students. As staff and student co-editors we reflect on the complexities and benefits of our experiences of working in partnership to launch, develop and run an academic journal about teaching and learning in higher education. We critically reflect on the review process and the experience of working with new authors and reviewers from the perspective of the co-editors, considering both the positives and the challenges of partnership in this context. These reflections are situated within the ‘culture of learners’ conference theme, offering an example of how a culture of learners including students and staff may grow within the realms of academic publishing.
We aim to contextualise and define our understanding of ‘students as partners’ and the potential role of students in academic publishing (Healey & Healey, 2018), reflecting on the experiences of the co-editors in establishing and running the journal. Participants at the session will have the opportunity to reflect on how they might include students in publishing in specific context.
The paper adheres to the conference theme “A culture for learning.” We present a model of digital assessment in fully online study programs at Vestfold Higher Vocational College (VHVC). The goal is to design online electro programs that are in alignment with White paper 16, 2016-2017 “Quality Culture in Higher Education”. Our long-term goal is to contribute to a culture of quality in assessment in vocational colleges in Norway. These students are motivated adults with a professional certificate, who work full time, have a family life and study part time. They expect a flexible education, which strengthens them in their daily work. They participate in discussions of assessment criteria before each assignment, which then is subject to formative assessment from both peers and teacher. While writing they are supported by an automatic feedback function. They collect their work in an e-portfolio, which is finally subject to summative assessment (Meer & Chapman, 2015). The model makes use of student active learning, such as student blog, learning groups and peer assessment, thus promoting self-regulated learning (Steiner, 2016; Hyun, Ediger & Lee, 2017). It includes use of learning analytics to boost the students and provide data for quality improvement for teacher and school leaders. Changing the way we assess students will also have consequences for the way we organize our studies. According to Baillie, Bowden & Meyer (2013) we need to move from a content focused towards a capability focused curriculum in order for students to develop a critically, problem solving ability (knowledge capability). One strategy is to involve students in authentic tasks and to let them assess themselves in addition to being assessed by others. Such learning oriented assessment is at the core of what has been referred to as sustainable assessment in some recent studies (Beck, Skinner & Schwabrow, 2013; Adesemowo, Oyedele, & Oyedele, 2017). Creating a culture for learning requires an active involvement, and informed actions, of both students, teachers, institutional leaders and external partners (Felton, 2015). It also requires that experiences and results be communicated to a wider audience. Quality in learning is both a collaborative and personal endeavor where dialogue, reflection, negotiation of meaning, and collaborative knowledge building are important aspects (Wenger, 1998; Sorensen, & Murchú (2006). So far, the model has been tested at VHVC, and we present some preliminary findings based on feedback from students, teachers and other stakeholders.
This case study will discuss a student-led experiential learning course that focussed on producing a podcast series dedicated to transformative learning in higher education. The three-credit course was initiated by two student leaders (station managers at the university Radio Station) in collaboration with a faculty advisor/collaborator in the English Department. We used the ten design principles of authentic learning (cf. Herrington, Oliver, and Reeves, 2003) in order to build a podcast series that took as its central premise the following questions: where are there moments in the teaching and learning experience where students build their souls as they build their CVs? In other words, what are the conditions for transformative learning where students cross important thresholds (cf. Meyer & Land, 2003) to reflect on their learning experience as collaborators with their professors and with one another? And finally, how do we create conditions for students to team-teach courses with professors in order to enhance self regulation in undergraduate learning (cf. Heikkilä & Lonka, 2007)? This case study demonstrates how combining curricular and co-curricular design through a scholarly and theoretical approach to podcast production created innovative pedagogies. The three co-instructors (two undergraduate students and one faculty member) researched assessment and alignment, built the course as a competency-driven experience, and took an interdisciplinary and experiential-learning approach to a field uniquely suited to this model of learning. The case study will discuss the context and rationale for the work, situate the course within the wider framework of students as partners in undergraduate education as well as self-assessment and self regulation students as partners. We will reflect on the barriers, challenges, and the potentially transformative effect of authentic learning environments on students and educators. Finally, we will offer recommendations to students, faculty, and educational developers who might be interested in integrating this model into their own practices.
E3. Paper Session - Småtroll Level 0
This paper will outline an interdisciplinary project investigating the reasons why students do not engage in defined initiatives designed to enhance learning and graduate outcomes. Employability non-engagement data (ENED) is an innovative, institution-wide project at a research-intensive university combining input from academics, professional development staff and students. It takes an original, data-driven approach to the examination of student non-engagement in optional teaching and learning activities, principally a year-long work placement and study year abroad.
The benefits of work-integrated learning – combining academic studies with a period of time in a professional work environment – have been well-documented. Benefits include building disciplinary knowledge, enhancing skills development, such as teamwork, self-management and problem-solving and often translates into improved academic performance. Less well-documented are the benefits of engaging in a period of study overseas, away from the home institution, although skills development (cultural awareness, adaptability, curiosity, team-working) are highlighted. A limited body of research also indicates that the ability of students to engage in these initiatives may not be equitable and subject to barriers including social background, ethnicity or gender or other qualitative reasons.
In this study we explore the following three questions: i) what are the barriers, challenges and/or reasons which may prevent undergraduate students from engaging in optional learning and teaching initiatives (i.e. work placement year, study year abroad); ii) are there any associations between particular characteristics of ‘non-engaged’ students (e.g. socio-economic background, entry tariff, gender and domicile), and iii) does non-engagement affect attainment and graduate outcomes?
Our methodology involves statistical interrogation of institution-wide data spanning over 5 years to investigate entry characteristics (socio-economic background, entry quality, gender and ethnicity) and how they map against students’ participation (or not) in defined initiatives and how these influence attainment and employment outcomes.
We will explain how inferences gained from such a large scale dataset are informing a qualitative investigation of student and alumni views through focus groups and surveys, to provide a rich and detailed understanding of the reasons for non-uptake of these extra-curricular activities. The findings from this project will be used to inform the development of more inclusive and accessible learning and teaching practices in these areas.
Studies into academic attainment across different demographic groups of students in UK higher education settings have suggested that ethnic minority groups are under-represented. Gorard et al. maintain that “inequalities in HE (higher education) participation are evident throughout the life-course and include differences in terms of ethnicity” (2006, p. 22). Research by Richardson and Woodley not only focusses on attainment differences amongst institutions but also differences in attainment in relation to demographics. Subsequent research revealed data-sets which support the notion that students from ethnic minority groups are less likely to obtain good degrees than white students (Broecke & Nicholls, 2007; Richardson, 2008; Fielding et. al, 2008; Richardson, 2012).
In 2015, a High Achievers Recognition Scheme (HARS) was introduced into the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences at Birmingham City University (BCU) to celebrate and develop students’ aspirations and achievements. Research by Frumkin et. al explored the drivers of attainment in ethnic minority adult learners (2013); some of the outcomes from this research were considered in constructing the HARS offer. BCU has a socially and culturally diverse population. The heterogeneous population has a high proportion of black and ethnic minority students (over 48%) and high numbers of ‘commuter students’ (around 70%). HARS sought to build an inclusive learning culture that recognised and promoted professional aspiration, confidence and capability. Introducing an academic ‘distance-travelled’ metric, alongside the standard end-of-year average scores acted as a counterweight to any in-built socio-economic or educational inequalities as a result of students’ highly variable prior educational experiences and/or cultural capital.
This paper outlines the impact of this Scheme for the population it serves, with a particular focus on those students with protected characteristics under UK law. The paper will briefly set out the structure and scope of HARS, before presenting an analysis of quantitative demographic data associated with the student population accessing the scheme. The underlying premise of the work was that if the selection process was effective at off-setting prior educational inequalities, then the mix of HARS students should be a good match for the diversity within the Faculty as a whole, and results acquired will tackle this premise as part of the presentation.
Participants will also be afforded the chance to consider how inclusive teaching and learning approaches with high-achieving students from highly diverse backgrounds are to be made core to our practices.
E4. Paper Session - Bekkelokken Level 0
Given the release of the Australian Higher Educations Standards Framework (based on Higher Education award in 2011, section 5 of Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011), higher education institutions are under increasing pressure to meet the demands for embedding employability across all faculties. This push for Workplace Integrating Learning (WIL) in higher education is requiring these institutions to reflect upon current policies and practice. Universities across the country are determining how to best connect student learning to meaningful work experiences beyond the classroom. When a group of people with a wide range of knowledge, experience and passion come together to discuss new policies and procedures, SoTL advocates have an opportunity to share how SOTL can flourish in WIL experiences. Using the lens of Boyer (1990), we can encourage a scholarship of discovery, integration, application and teaching through the opportunities provided by WIL. Fulfilling the requirements of WIL across the institution presents a challenge to generate and sustain meaningful teaching and learning relationships that have a lasting impact, within and across the university, as well as into our communities and with industry stakeholders.
This presentation will introduce our learnings and preliminary findings around the creation and administration of an online test of industry-aligned critical thinking (CT) skills. Since the late 20th century, there has been a proliferation of publication around the nature and praxis of CT at the post-secondary level. The explicit goal of developing student CT skills is captured in many higher-education courses. Knowing that SoTL endeavours to demonstrate student learning, we were driven to investigate the extent to which students develop sufficient CT skills before entering the workforce in light of previous reviews of the state of CT skills development in higher-education (e.g. Arum & Roska, 2011; Huber & Kuncel, 2016).
In Australia, companies hiring STEM graduates have had increased desire for applicants with demonstrable CT skills (Prinsley & Baranyai, 2015; Desai, Berger, & Higgs, 2016). Published works have focused on student conceptualisation of CT with only limited research of industry conceptualisation.
This work starts to bridge the gap between employer expectations around CT and undergraduate student experience. We demonstrate an approach for an inclusive learning culture between employers and students that benefits the latter through increased CT skills. It also builds on the discussions generated at ISSOTL Conference 2017 by Lewis and Stam’s paper on student conceptualisation of CT (Lewis & Stam, 2017), as well as Kapoor’s presentation on practices for the teaching of CT (Kapoor, 2017).
Adopting a generalist approach to CT, companies hiring graduates from an Australian pharmaceutical sciences course were surveyed to determine their conceptualisation, and expectations of CT at work. Subsequently, an assessment tool utilising these companies’ understanding of CT was developed.
We developed this tool through consultation with company partners, culminating in a series of CT vignettes that reflect the workplace reality our graduates will be entering into. Accordingly, this assessment tool differs substantially from most commercially available CT tests in that it exhibits enhanced ecological validity leading to greater student engagement. An online version was administered to our cohorts of pharmaceutical science students over 3 year-levels (n = 98) during early 2018.
Preliminary results show that this tool exhibits a good degree of statistical validity and assessment reliability within our context. Additionally, early extension results indicate that this tool may be useful in the allied field of pharmacy. This prompts us to ask: what other fields could benefit from this approach to assessing CT?
In times of insecurity and constant change, the learning culture, as an important predictor of learning, is influenced by various motivational and organizational factors (Sonntag et al., 2004, p. 107).
A learning culture, as part of the organizational culture, can create a framework for beneficial learning conditions and promote competence development (Tracey et al., 1995, p. 241-242). A learning culture also implies values, rules, attitudes and expectations according to learning. Regarding the organizational conditions, a learning culture exists when the organizational conditions are arranged to foster learning and when favorable learning and training possibilities are available to learners (Schaper et al., 2006, p. 177). The work of Hilkenmeier and Schaper (2015) shows important factors of a beneficial learning culture like encouraged proactivity and coworker support. They developed a Learning Culture Inventory (LCI) as a measure of an organization's learning culture that could also predict the participation and performance in formal and informal learning activities (p. 307-317).
For capturing the different elements of a learning culture and its influences on the learning and training behavior, a multifaceted construct was built including the Learning Culture Inventory (LCI) with a focus on perceived organizational values and beliefs about the importance of learning. A survey was conducted with registered nurses (N = 307), because of the distinct clinical context, that is mainly characterized by constant changes. Construct validity was tested and confirmed with an exploratory data technique and multiple regression analysis tested different relations between the constructs. The findings show that the support of the colleagues and the supervisor as well as the arrangement of learning possibilities act as main operators of the learning culture. Moreover, supervisor support and learning offerings have a strong effect on the transfer behavior and encouraged proactivity is a significant predictor of the formal learning.
The work tries to create a deeper insight into the possibilities of supporting learning by building a beneficial learning culture. The findings can also be transferred to the field of higher education related to the arrangement of internships and courses with a high practical relevance. Within the collaboration between the different players in higher and professional education, the fostering of the different elements of the learning culture can help to improve student learning.
Concluding, the work invites critical dialogue and evaluation from conference participants in order to discuss the requirements for and outcomes of connecting student learning to work experiences.
E5. Panel Session - Peer Gynt Level 2
This panel presentation focuses on a two-year SoTL initiative involving 40 faculty in five, cross-disciplinary Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) who teach studio and non-studio courses in art and design and general education. Through a macro analysis of the FLCs community-building process and a micro analysis of their research approaches, the panel considers the relationship between learning culture and research process. The micro analysis is based on two case studies: Crit the Crit (using studio observations and interviews to explore how critique as a signature pedagogy is practiced across studio disciplines); and The Transfer of Learning (using course assignments from both studio and general education to explore the potential for transfer of learning).
The panel is informed by the recent literature about inclusive learning cultures (Chick, 2018; Poole, 2013) as well as literature about the unique aspects of cross-disciplinarity within SoTL (Boose & Hutchings, 2016; Wilner, 2014). The panel suggests that the ongoing debate over the legitimacy of one form of disciplinary research over the other (Bloch-Shulman, et al., 2016; Chick, 2013) becomes less polarized when cross-disciplinary inquiry opens up possibilities for collaboration. Bloch-Shulman, et al. (2016) argue that “if SoTL is to engage faculty across the disciplinary spectrum, it must embrace all kinds of research, including focused, controlled studies that yield statistical analyses and projects that tell significant stories about student learning and that emphasize interpretation, process, creativity and theory” (p. 6). The panel describes how the FLCs reached a “consensus around research viability and purpose” across disciplines leading to the development of common tools and approaches (Poole, 2012). However, this was not an inevitable outcome.
At first it appeared that the five FLCs were operating on two separate tracks – one focused on community building and the other on cross-disciplinary SoTL research. The FLCs examined the relationship between community-building and SoTL and questioned whether their work constituted valid research (Manarin & Abrahamson, 2016). Ultimately, the FLCs realized that without their commitment to building and sustaining a learning community they could not have developed the tools and processes to investigate their research topic across disciplines. The FLCs commitment to community building reflects the “inclusive learning culture” conference theme and shapes the panel’s framing question. Given the argument that a learning culture is socially constructed in a particular context (Chick, 2018), what is the relationship between the FLC’s inclusive learning culture and their particular research process?
The inclusive culture both contributed to, and was shaped by, collaborative meaning making within and across the FLCs. The FLCs’ organic research approach evolved as faculty wrestled with ways to examine teaching across diverse studio and non-studio disciplines. Faculty first defined, described and categorized particular teaching and learning processes in their disciplines such as transfer and critique and then developed common terminologies, typologies, and visual approaches for documentation and analysis. The following two case studies describe how participants developed research tools and methodologies that best captured the iterative teaching and learning processes—critique and the transfer of learning--they were studying. The case studies will also describe an on-going project to create, with administrative support, interactive data-bases and catalogues for future public sharing.
The Crit the Crit FLC members sought to understand and rethink how critique, as a signature pedagogy in art and design education (Scagnetti, 2017; Motley, 2017; Sims and Shreve, 2012), is practiced across art and design disciplines within their institution. The research investigated faculty considerations of quality that inform the crit, the pedagogical approach in different fields such as printmaking, sculpture, communications design, interior design and architecture, and the various methods used to perform critiques within these fields. To do this, faculty examined the diversity of pedagogical approaches and methods used in studio-based critique through a non-participatory observational study and a series of semi-structured interviews. This investigation was facilitated by a visual tool purposely created by the group. The tool was designed to translate the critique event into a visual structure in order to portray the DNA of a critique typology and foster comparable classifications. The results of this approach produced an anatomy of critique techniques and methods in the form of an analytical matrix and a planned, illustrated catalogue of practices to be shared across the institution.
The Transfer of Learning FLC explored teaching for the transfer of learning, both horizontally and vertically, across the disciplines of art, design, humanities, and sciences (Robertson, L. & Taczak, 2017). In its first year the FLC turned inward, exploring the potential for transfer of learning through an analysis of the student work and course materials (based on the different disciplinary content, vocabulary, culture, and media used to support the transfer of learning). FLC faculty realized that communicating through the thicket of disciplinary difference required time and an open-ended process.
In its second year the FLC turned outward, organizing a series of ten Transfer Sessions that invited small groups of faculty from across the curriculum required of art and design majors to meet and discuss learning transfer. The sessions combined faculty outreach designed to expand institutional understanding of learning transfer with a process of collecting valuable curricular data from participating faculty. This collegial process not only led to faculty learning but also generated new knowledge in the form of common definitions, ways of seeing, and ways of analyzing teaching for the transfer of learning across disciplines. With these common understandings and tools, the FLC faculty created concentric circles of inquiry as they expanded beyond their own classrooms and studios.
After the panel presentation, participants will form small groups to: 1) provide feedback on the visual methodologies used by panelists and make suggestions for improvement; and 2) participate in one of two exercises: a) Use of the critique typology tool – review the definitions for types of feedback in critique and then categorize frequently used statements in critiques into one of the given typologies and discuss positive and negative feedback models; or b) Investigate transfer of learning in a studio or non-studio area through close examination of an assignment (presented visually) and consider the connections to their teaching.
E6. Paper Session - Bøygen Level 2
Curricular and pedagogical practices in higher education are constrained by global and neoliberal definitions of time. These are notion that leave little room for “being ‘lazy’ and slowing down” (Shahjahan, 2014; Walker, 2009) in our pedagogical practices. In an effort to better understand the complexity of incorporating notions of “being ‘lazy’ and slowing down” in pedagogical practices and their impact on student engagement and learning outcomes, a case study was developed around an evening graduate teacher education course to engage with this concept. The concept and impact of “being ‘lazy’ and slowing down” is accessed in the case study through teacher reflection (through notes from throughout the semester), interviews from the students on their engagement and interaction in the various pedagogical activities, and self/instructor evaluation of student learning (via course assignments and student reflections provided through the interviews).
To emphasize the practical pedagogical application of this case study, the presentation will provide participants with an experiential engagement with the “being ‘lazy’ and slowing down” in-class pedagogical activities at the heart of our case study. This joint presentation – led by the professor who taught the seminar and one of the graduate students who was enrolled in the course – will provide first a brief background, rationale, and findings (based on student interviews and results from the course assessments) from our case study. It will then introduce participants to the in-class pedagogical activities in order to assess (through a pre-and post-test given to conference participants over the course of the 20 minute presentation) the ways in which these practices attempt to foster participant engagement and meet participant learning outcomes.
Through this presentation strategy, we aim not only to present the key aspects of our case study, but also to address two strands from the conference theme: a culture for learning (by sharing our findings and engaging participants in our pedagogical practices) and a culture of learners (sharing a key philosophical approach – “being ‘lazy’ and slowing down” – inherently designed to support learners and the learning environment). Moreover, we will share what the study suggests about the impact of mind-body-spirit inspired pedagogical activities to stimulate and engage tired bodies and to lead them toward specific learning outcomes. Our focus is on the implications these findings hold for Graduate Teacher Education and other professional programs which tend to hold classes in the evenings after long workdays.
The quality of learning and teaching is under increasing government scrutiny, with ranking and performance funding growing in Australia and internationally (Marginson & van der Wende, 2007). Codified as teaching quality indicators, rankings in Australia are based on quantified outcomes from student experience and graduate outcomes surveys, such as those reported through the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching website. The Teaching Excellence Framework in the UK is a poignant example of future directions for the Australian higher education sector with the Australian government demanding accountability for student outcomes and aligning funding to demonstrations of outstanding teaching (Birmingham, 2017).
As part of this performance funding, the professionalization of university teaching is also in focus, with many Australian universities revising their academic promotions frameworks to displace the normed ‘teaching-research’ dichotomy with teaching-focused roles (Papadopoulos, 2017). Simultaneously, a growing number of universities in Australia and internationally are looking for formal accreditation and recognition of teaching through such organisations as the Higher Education Academy (O’Keeffe, 2017).
Using discourse analysis, Bernstein’s theory of classification and framing of educational knowledge is applied to the shifting rhetoric of an Australian University’s strategic plans and goals, academic performance frameworks, and policy documentation since the University was founded in 1991. The findings are used to conceptualise the classification and framing of teaching quality within institutional culture. The findings are juxtaposed against the student experience data reported for the University on the QILT website to explore the impact on innovation and identity at the individual academic level.
The evidence from this research will provide substance for considerations of reclassifying and reframing teaching quality in planning and policy documentation in the University setting. Understanding the classification and framing of teaching quality in one case will provide a means to investigate the widespread use of similar classification and framing across the sector. This will provide a critical lens to understand the value of promotions frameworks, standards, and accreditation programs in generating and sustaining innovation and creativity in teaching and learning.
The research reflects a need to understand teaching quality measures of success in a marketised, globalised, and corporatized higher education sector. It is crucial that individual institutions reflect on their purpose and engage in a critical analysis of how they generate and sustain meaningful teaching and learning within the current national and international agendas of teaching excellence and quality.
E7. Workshop Session - Troldtog Level 3
This workshop addresses the theme of building a sustained culture for learning. It demonstrates how an institutional curriculum design process has contributed to a shared understanding of our educational purpose, in the wider context of higher education curricula lacking a strong theoretical basis (Barnett and Coate, 2005). As in other systems, UK curriculum design is splintered, with lecturers often writing modules independently of the programme, sometimes without a surefooted educational philosophy. In the UK, quality assurance regimes oversee a paper trail constituting ‘the curriculum’, often relying on traditions, rules and institutional interpretations of these in the process of design, and holding onto a few well-worn mantras like ‘constructive alignment’ and ‘learning outcomes’.
Recently, several UK universities have embarked on institutional processes to implement enhancement-focused curriculum design. Following this trend, we were tasked with devising a curriculum framework which captured the distinctive features of our modern, applied university, as well as its future direction. We were determined to engage the community in a participatory process. But an institution-wide, consultative process involving research is not for the faint-hearted. In this workshop we adopt the same interactive and consultative approach as our large-scale institutional endeavour, sharing the process, warts and all. Mirroring our process, we will invite participants to:
- Play a card game to identify their curriculum philosophy;
- Contribute to a 'curriculum wall';
- Plot their existing curriculum using a kiviat chart;
- Discuss the curriculum principles we propose;
- Generate and thematically analyse cards that articulate their own ideas about curriculum.
Weaving through the workshop, we will share insights, drawing on mixed data from nine curriculum cafes with 182 staff and a curriculum ‘wall’ eliciting 900 student comments. The theoretical dimensions of our framework draws on ‘powerful knowledge’ (Wheelahan, 2010; Harland and Wald, 2018), and expresses ways to ensure that students complete their journey to self-authorship (Baxter-Magolda, 2014). The six dimensions of the framework integrate theory and data: they are: critical, creative and applied; inspiring research and inquiry; intellectually stimulating for life; authentic and engaging assessment; outward facing; fostering social and personal growth. ‘Personal knowing' is at the heart of the framework, integrating all dimensions (Polanyi, 1958). Participants will be challenged to consider what this might mean for teachers and students, what such a curriculum might look like, and wider contextual factors that might both enable and inhibit its development.
E8. Workshop Session - Bekken Level 3
SoTL is a field that strives to be interdisciplinary and even transdisciplinary (Poole, 2013) in that the field of knowledge integrates or transcends the contributions that can be made from any one discipline. This requires its practitioners to be open to learning and to valuing other disciplinary perspectives. Embracing multiple disciplinary lenses in SoTL will enrich our approaches to inquiry, and expand our ability to develop knowledge that addresses the inherent complexities of teaching and learning in higher education. However, our disciplines dictate which research questions, methods, and forms of evidence we consider to be legitimate (Becher and Trowler, 2001). Thus, when communicating or collaborating within our own disciplines, we follow tacit assumptions about what must be explained or identified at the beginning of a study. In some disciplines, a theoretical framework must be established, while in others, explication is more focused on tactical methods of the research.
To foster a culture that learns, the SoTL community would benefit from improving our ability to clearly articulate how disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives inform our work (Hubball and Clarke, 2010; Poole, 2013). Communicating across disciplines requires us to to identify our own discipline’s way of knowing and understanding the world, be aware of the strengths and weaknesses inherent to it, and be able to explain and defend them to others (Miller-Young and Yeo, 2015). Similarly, SoTL scholars must learn enough about other’s disciplinary ways of approaching research, to respect them and to be able to learn from them (Chick, 2013). This includes scholars from seemingly similar fields such as education, who may have difficulty initially distinguishing SoTL from their own (Miller-Young et al., 2018). Becoming more explicit about one’s own disciplinary assumptions then allows and strengthens translation to the broader, multi-disciplinary “big tent” of SoTL.
To illustrate these ideas, the three workshop facilitators, each from different disciplines, will present some of the literature on disciplinary approaches and faculty experiences in SoTL, and share some of their own difficulties identifying and understanding others’ disciplinary assumptions when discussing SoTL. Case studies of exemplar SoTL studies will be discussed. Finally, workshop participants will have the opportunity to spend time in think-pair-share format, to identify and reflect on the characteristics and assumptions of their own discipline, how it has shaped their SoTL work, how they can help others better understand their work, and to identify new possibilities for future work.
E9. Paper Session - Nina Level 3
The scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) is relevant for adult learners situated in the broader community. This paper describes how a community-based research project explored how to support the learning and implementation of a provincial-wide, early learning curriculum framework. We will illustrate how through the creation of a culture of learning, over forty-five practitioners were engaged and supported through a multi-leveled pedagogical leadership approach to create a sustainable learning community. Based upon the principles of good SoTL practice (Felten, 2013), this project was grounded in context (pedagogical leadership and early learning literature), focused on a co-inquiry approach and was conducted in partnership with participants and the broader community.
A variety of pedagogical supports were developed to provide support and meaningful resources to participants. A strong focus of the learning community was to develop pedagogical leadership skills in order to facilitate the implementation of the curriculum framework in practice. Many administrators in programs with young children noted how they executed their administrative roles as managers. Very few administrators practiced as pedagogical leaders; to guide and lead the curriculum and co-inquiry practice most suitable for young children. Therefore, this model was created around two foundational pieces; learning communities and pedagogical leadership development.
Program administrators were invited to participate in monthly learning community sessions with a pedagogical leader, who shared key concepts from the curriculum framework. The learning community provided a semi-structured approach, where each concept in the framework was delivered systematically. After discussion and dialogue, the administrators, in collaboration with a partner, would determine how the concept would be taken up in practice in their programs. These selected pedagogical partners then worked individually with each administrator as they put tenets of the framework into action.
The learning community quickly became the center for sharing of concepts, identity, and leadership as they related to practice. The pedagogical leader and partners provided a range of individualized strategies including instruction, modeling, observation and reflective practice based on the administrators' needs. Pedagogical supports will be presented, including aspects of building relationships and learning culture, mentoring, coaching and how the use of technology supported distance learning. Project outcomes and learning from participants will be shared as well as recommendations for community-based SoTL practice.
Specific types of learning communities (LCs) for instructors and professional administrators, sometimes called communities of practice (CoPs) or faculty learning communities (FLCs), have now been in place in higher education for 40 years. Tools, methods, and recommendations for building these yearlong LCs have been developed and reported. The organizational, leadership, and facilitation skills important to developing, implementing, and sustaining FLCs have been described by the paper presenter.
One important component of these LCs has been an evidenced-based approach to identify, design, and disseminate SoTL projects. These are usually individual projects selected by members of the LC with development supported by the LC members during literature review and planning in the first term followed by engagement, data collection, analysis, and dissemination during the second term. Interdisciplinary LCs can also provide examination and discussion of different perspectives of SoTL rigor. Early-career faculty participating in a cohort-based FLC (in this case, all members of the FLC are early-career faculty) are able to produce and present SoTL projects that are blind-refereed conference presentations in just over one year. The developmental approaches and leadership used to foster SoTL in FLCs has been described by the paper presenter. Evidence of the impact that FLCs and CoPs have contributed to an individual participant’s interest and development of SoTL has been measured in the U. S. and, on a smaller scale, in Hong Kong.
FLCs and CoPs have been change agents with respect to learning culture in higher education, sometimes moving institutions in the direction of becoming learning organizations). These changes involve building community to enhance collegiality, risk-taking, and group support. The changes can be multidisciplinary and inter-professional because colleagues from different disciplines and professional schools participate or because colleagues within a division or professional school interact, for example in a medical school. The changes involve interpersonal impact because of the community and trust built during the year.
People follow those they know and trust.
This study focuses on how academics interact in a disciplinary, education focused formal workgroup. The purpose is to longitudinally explore the every-day lived experience of collegiality and its role in shaping and sustaining an academic culture that learns.
Three workgroups of 7-12 members within a research-intensive department were studied over more than one year through participatory observation (Bergold & Thomas, 2012). Each group dealt with issues of education in relation to their subjects in a context where their everyday practices and routines were disrupted (Vollmer, 2013), due to financial constraints and departmental educational re-structuring.
Traditionally, higher education is governed through collegiality, signified ideally by a high degree of expertise, specialisation, equality, and consensus-based decisions (Sahlin & Eriksson-Zetterquist, 2016). This style of governance is commonly viewed as slow and conservative. What happens, then, with collegiality when the context demands change?
Previous research has established the importance of local workgroups in influencing academics’ ways of thinking and practising teaching and learning (Hounsell & Anderson, 2009; Jawitz, 2009; Roxå & Mårtensson, 2015; Trowler, 2009; Trowler & Cooper, 2002). This study adds to that literature by exploring how workgroups deal with disruptions in authentic situations. Thereby we can deepen our understanding of collegiality as a foundation for a learning culture, and ultimately as a basis for scholarship of teaching and learning.
The researchers over two semesters observed and made notes of regular work-group meetings around educational issues, always chaired by one member, with a formal agenda and minutes. Over time participants in each workgroup were invited to react to and help interpret the observed episodes. Results reveal an intricate interplay between change and stability as the workgroups deal both with the disruptive reform and with everyday educational matters. Collegiality unfolds as a lived experience in a dynamic dual gestalt with similarities and differences across the groups. We assume that this dynamic is recognisable in other disciplinary contexts as well. The results together illuminate potentially critical and easily overlooked aspects of collegiality, and therefore potential for SoTL-embedment. At the conference colleagues are invited to discuss these results and their generalisability.
E10. Paper Session - Bukken Level 3
Librarians and teaching faculty at the Haskayne School of Business developed an early intervention to enhance information literacy skills of business students. First-year undergraduate students in a mandatory introduction to business skills course are becoming acculturated to the university environment and to business as a professional and academic discipline. We have found early introduction and continued expectation of a higher level of information literacy skills has resulted in students who, in later years of study, are better able to access and assess the quality of the information they need to complete research papers. While Raish & Rimland (2016) discuss the importance of academic librarians in assisting students in acquiring critical information literacy and research skills, there is little research on how best to deliver the message to the new age learner. Over a number of years, librarians have been heavily involved in the creation and delivery of a one-shot session for the course. Early versions of the session were typically lecture-based. In some aspects, this approach was successful, however there were still a number of roadblocks to student learning and comprehension. It was not unusual for students to struggle with finding or accessing the information they needed for the significant research project in this course. This paper chronicles the implementation and evolution of a lesson study project by the instructors and librarians involved in the course. Cerbin & Kopp (2006, p.250-251) describe lesson study research as a small team that works together to “design, teach, study, and refine a single class lesson”. In order to investigate how students learn, the emphasis is placed on making learning visible. For this project, investigators used a flipped classroom approach to encourage active learning (see Arnold-Garza, 2014). To flip the lesson, key concepts from the lecture content were presented online prior to class time; this allowed the class time to be used to integrate learning into practical application activities. During the class, a librarian acted as a guide, leading students through the learning process. Data collection points were set-up throughout the process to make learning visible. In the first delivery of this lesson, the investigators learned that students struggled with a visualization aid. In response, the investigators altered the lesson, providing a more direct approach. Students in the second iteration recorded a higher level of satisfaction with the lesson. This paper will take attendees on a journey through our lesson study project.
Although many academic librarians teach regularly – in classrooms, in consultations, at the reference desk – library scholarship and practice has only recently begun to meaningfully engage with SoTL. This paper will bring together scholarship on library pedagogy (specifically, critical information literacy) and SoTL by outlining and reflecting on the role of library instruction in general education history courses at a mid-size private university in the United States.
The history librarian worked with teaching faculty to revise the structure of the general education history courses using the Decoding the Disciplines framework. In considering how to revise the library instruction within these courses, the librarian turned to the SoTL in history – specifically Stephane Levesque’s work on procedural knowledge, Sam Wineburg’s notion of historical thinking, and Lendol Calder’s method of uncoverage – in conjunction with scholarship around critical information literacy. The library instruction that emerged from the confluence of these myriad strands of thought focuses on helping students think historically about the library; this approach not only reinforces what students are learning to do in these general education history courses – namely, the development of a critical, empathetic approach to the past – but also helps them become more savvy and effective researchers.
Both of these goals, which undoubtedly have to be developed over the course of more than just a semester, can ultimately have lasting impact, as students will be called on to evaluate uses of the past in popular discourse (as in, for example, the debate around Civil War monuments in the United States) and will need to conduct different forms of research and critically assess sources throughout their lives. Moreover, thinking historically about the library locates the library within broader social formations and power relations, and in so doing, promotes inclusivity in library research. This project exists at the intersection of "What is?" and "Visions of the possible" in Pat Hutchings's taxonomy of SoTL research, given the newness of critical information literacy and librarianship's engagement with SoTL.
SoTL can create an interprofessional space in which librarians and teaching faculty can collaborate and rethink how library research can be taught to foster historical thinking and a critical sense of the information ecosystem. The primary outcome of this presentation is to spark conversation between teaching faculty and librarians, both at the conference and once participants return to their home institutions.
In 2015 an unusual Call for Participation made its way through the field of academic librarianship. Like many others, this CFP made mention of an upcoming book, but potential participants were not asked to submit abstracts or chapter drafts. Instead, they were asked to apply to be a part of a learning community. Thirty librarians were accepted, and spent a significant part of the next year exploring autoethnography, a rigorous, reflexive qualitative research method. Fifteen members of that group ultimately produced the narratives that became the book The Self as Subject, published in 2017.
While the reactions to this project have naturally focused on autoethnography, an argument can be made that the approach of using a learning community to build scholarly capacity is just as interesting, and could have even broader impact. This paper will explore this potential by sharing practical lessons and workflows, and by highlighting the importance of social and collaborative learning experiences in building research capacity.
While there may be some who believe that research and inquiry are the sole purview of those who occupy positions in the academy where that work is the primary focus, it is no longer hard to find those who believe that inquiry that informs practice will not be useful if it is conducted entirely separately from the practice environment. The challenges here are twofold. First, practicing teachers and professionals may need help learning about research methods and how to apply them rigorously and effectively. However, this is only the first step. The theories and methods that support inquiry are developed in community, over time, and must be understood in that social context. Practicing teachers, like practicing librarians, have uneven and varied experiences with formal research methods. Those who are drawn to inquiry bring a variety of practices and assumptions about research and knowledge with them, and are frequently not provided with space to reflect on or evaluate those assumptions as a part of their professional training. Using a formal learning community can help practitioners build capacity in both of these areas, leading to research that both informs and challenges us as teachers and scholars.
E11. Paper Session - Room 304 Level 3
Literature on the assessment of teaching has historically focused on problematizing student evaluations of teaching (SET) even though SET is one of many possible pathways for assessing teaching. Research suggests that, as a primary evaluation mechanism, SETs are biased and suffer validity and reliability issues (e.g., Wright & Jenkins-Guarneri, 2012) undermining their use to enhance teaching and learning (Uttl, White & Gonzalez, 2017). This has led universities that use SET exclusively for formative or summative teacher assessment to remain stuck with faulty policies and procedures. The underlying question is what does satisfactory and outstanding work on teaching and learning look like and how can we identify and promote it so that it influences higher education in productive ways?
To address the question of how institutions can best promote teaching, we propose a system-based model (SBM) grounded in well-understood theoretical frameworks. The SBM highlights characteristics that mark: (1) all stakeholder perspectives (Reynolds & Saunders, 1987; Trowler, 2014, Xu, 2012), (2) pedagogical competence (Olsson & Roxå, 2013), (3) the role of teaching portfolios (Zubizarreta, 1999), (4) students as partners in assessment work (Healey, Flint & Harrington, 2016), and (5) theories of change in higher education (Kezar, 2014; Bamber et al., 2009). It is further informed by two contrasting case studies.
The first example characterises a scientific management theory of change in which leaders establish their own vision of quality to drive changes in performance (Kezar 2014). This approach is known to be problematic in the context of higher education where academic freedom is sacred and tensions can exist between central administration and departments (Westerheijden & Kohoutec, 2014). The second example characterizes a more dynamic social/cultural approach where policy or theory is introduced, observed over time, and then adjusted (Bamber et al., 2009; Kezar, 2014). In this approach, opportunities are created to strengthen formative and summative approaches inherent in a teaching assessment system thereby promoting fruitful discussions on good teaching.
Our goal is to unpack both examples, how they have each affected the notion of policy uptake over a 30-year period, and to illustrate how SET has been taken up differently in each case. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss their own context for the assessment of teaching with colleagues and to offer their critique of our case studies, thereby providing collective feedback on how to re-conceptualize the assessment of teaching towards a culture for learning.
In 2013, our university initiated a pilot project to develop a course evaluation and analysis system yielding student feedback that could be used for course development, and enable faculty members to share their experience.
The system, termed Systematic Course Analysis (SCA) process, consists of at least three different steps in a cyclic process including evaluation, analysis, and course development before the course is offered again. In addition, teachers can choose to include student involvement in the analysis step, as well as participate in professional development through workshops and courses in teaching and learning.
For the evaluation step in the process, the pilot project developed the Learning Experience Questionnaire (LEQ). It was developed for the purpose of investigating the students’ learning environment based on findings from educational research and consists of 22 statements to be answered on a 7-step Likert scale, as well as 4 open questions.
In the analysis step, one of the main ideas was to facilitate pedagogical discussions and experience exchange between faculty at a course analysis meeting. To such a meeting, each faculty member brings a set of questionnaire data to enable e.g. comparisons between classroom practice, course design, and course assessment. Through discussions during the meeting, experience is shared and development areas for both faculty and courses can be identified. In 2017, the president of the university decided on new regulations concerning course evaluation and analysis highlighting collegial experience exchange as an important required element.
As a part of the project, the questionnaire was implemented into the university’s IT infrastructure to simplify the data acquisition process. The system automatically sends out reminders to students to fill out the questionnaire, as well as compiling statistical data once the questionnaire is closed. The IT implementation was later extended to offer a course analysis tool in which focus is turned to course development.
In this paper we present statistical data showing the penetration of the SCA process at the university. We visit departments where the process is used to varying degrees, and through interviews we investigate which steps in the process that are utilized at those departments. We present teachers’ experience with the questionnaire, the collegial analysis meetings, with including students in the course analysis and course development steps, as well as their wishes for new features in the process. We also interview members of faculty at departments where the SCA process is not used.
The Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) is a comprehensive teacher development program designed to enhance the teaching effectiveness of both new and experienced educators, strengthen teacher capacity and delivery skills, foster institutional dialogue and collaboration on teaching and learning, cultivate student-centered teaching and learning practices as well as active learning strategies. The ISW was chosen as one of the central components of a faculty development program, which would be best suited for faculty at T.A. Marryshow Community College (T.A.M.C.C.) in St. Georges, Grenada. The ISW would be one component of a faculty development initiative that developed as part of a 5-year partnership with McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
A report released by Dawson et al. (2014), which focused on teachers within Ontario, Canada, found evidence that the ISW can influence participants to become less-teacher focused and more student-centered after completing the program. This study also found that teachers reported incorporating more active learning strategies into their teaching after having completed the ISW and that generally, teachers reported that their perspectives on teaching and their practice was fundamentally transformed by the ISW process.
As Dawson et al. (2014) observed; however, although the ISW has now been incorporated into faculty development programs at most Canadian universities (including McMaster), and has trained thousands of post-secondary instructors globally, research on its impact on teaching practice and on its sustainability over time has been limited. There has also been little evidence to support its impact on teaching effectiveness and student-centered instruction outside of North America.
In this presentation, we will explore the notion of creating and cultivating a culture of learning. Although this research largely focuses on the ISW and its impact on teaching and learning within the classroom, part of this work also examines the impact of the ISW on the teaching and learning culture at TAMCC. Drawing on work from Roxå and Mårtensson (2009), we will discuss our preliminary evidence from Instructors describing their conversations about teaching and learning that occur informally or ‘backstage’ and whether or not these conversations have been impacted by participation in the ISW.
In this session, participants will be invited to discuss their experience with the Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) and different models of evaluation for faculty development programs.