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Scholarship of Teaching & Learning

This guide was adapted with permission from a Dalhousie University Centre for Learning and Teaching site. It is a collection of resources related to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) in general.

More information

This guide includes publications (books, journals, articles) and other resources (podcasts, associations, websites) related to the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). To learn about the MSVU Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC) - services, resources, events, workshops, and more - visit the TLC Intranet Page or email  To learn about the MSVU Research Office - processes, resources, supports, and grants -  visit the Research Office webpage or email

Contact & Communication

Teaching and Learning Centre

McCain Room 209

Phone: 902-457-6511


What is SoTL?

SoTL is the systematic inquiry by faculty to understand and/or improve their students learning and teaching practices, and the dissemination of the findings to contribute to the knowledge and practices of other faculty.  SoTL is informed by relevant research on teaching and learning and faculty member's disciplinary and research expertise. - adapted from the SoTL Guide of the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning (University of Calgary) and the Sheridan College SoTL guide.

SoTL: Key characteristics

Video: Center for Engaged Learning at Elon University

Defining SoTL

How is SoTL different from educational research? Both fields are concerned with how students learn and how their learning can be improved. The key difference between SoTL and other research in higher education is who performs the research. In SoTL, the researcher is the instructor, and the classroom is the site of inquiry. In other educational research, the researcher is someone other than the instructor.

How is SoTL different from assessment of teaching? The main differences are in the purpose and the intended audience. Both SoTL and teaching assessment are concerned with determining the effectiveness of teaching practices. The assessment of teaching can be for the purpose of institutional reporting, departmental evaluation and development of teaching practices, and/or career advancement. The audience for assessment of teaching projects tends to be internal - the institution, department, or individual instructor. The purpose of SoTL is to increase knowledge of teaching and learning, and improve student learning. The audience for SoTL can be internal to the institution but it typically is the wider scholarship community (public) that the findings are shared with. SoTL research is intended for dissemination to interested readers who can learn from and build upon previous SoTL research. 

How is SoTL disseminated? SoTL research findings can be shared informally or formally in a variety of ways including workshops (departmental, institutional, guest speaker), conference presentations and proceedings, website and blog posts, podcast, journal publications, and book publications.

- adapted from N. Chick, M. MacMillan, C. Bradley (2017)


Taxonomy of SoTL questions

Video: Center for Engaged Learning at Elon University

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