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)