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TennTLC Teaching as Research

Teaching as Research: The SoTL Toolbox

A comprehensive online guide to answer your SoTL questions and help you construct a project.

What is TAR?  and SoTL ?

Teaching as Research is a broad term for the move to research our teaching and student learning. An earlier term, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) promotes teaching as a scholarly endeavor while drawing on the reciprocal relationship between teaching, learning, and research.

SoTL is similar to Action Research, Classroom-based Research, Teaching as Research, and Disciplinary-based Educational Research.  We use SoTL because it is a broad term commonly used in Higher Education.

Writing-GuyAs an academic activity, SoTL is dedicated to the study of teaching and learning in general, but particularly in higher education settings (Gurung, Ansburg, Alexander, Lawrence, & Johnson, 2008). SoTL can involve many components—from individual classroom research to comparative investigations of pedagogies to programmatic, institution-wide assessment of student learning.

A key component of SoTL is the dissemination of one’s results. In the premiere issue of the Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Shulman (2000) presents three reasons FCFWritingto pursue SoTL, which he labels professionalism, pragmatism and policy. The premise is that while higher education instructors are experts in their field, they are not all experts in teaching. While requiring them to pursue an education degree is not practical, learning from what others in their discipline are doing to advance teaching and learning, thereby increasing student outcomes, is practical and expected (Gurung et al., 2008). Publishing the research for the benefit of other scholars is part of the responsibility of being a scholar which Shulman defines as being able “to discover, to connect, to apply and to teach” (Shulman, 2000, p. 49).

SoTL contributes to institutional effectiveness and retention by improving teaching and learning as facilitated by faculty development and through reward structures that support good teaching (Hutchings, Huber, & Ciccone, 2011). Our Teaching Innovation Grant program is an example of such a structure.

View a preliminary list of SoTL journals for your discipline.

Access a bibliography of teaching-research articles published by your peers at UT..

Gurung, R. A. R., Ansburg, P. I., Alexander, P. A., Lawrence, N. K., & Johnson, D. E. (2008). The State of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology. Teaching of Psychology, 35(4), 249–261. doi:10.1080/00986280802374203

Hutchings, P., Huber, M. T., & Ciccone, A. (2011). The scholarship of teaching and learning reconsidered: Institutional integration. SanFrancisco, CA: Jossey Bass.

Shulman, L. S. (2000). From Minsk To Pinsk: Why A Scholarship Of Teaching And Learning? Journal of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (JoSoTL ), 1(1), 48–53.

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