International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

What is SoTL?

Submitted by Lauren Scharff on Sat, 05/05/2018 - 13:15

The scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) involves bringing a scholarly lens to teaching in higher education: to approach teaching practice with the same curiosity, inquiry and rigour that scholars bring to their research, and to publicly share the results of that inquiry. Generally, SoTL involves:

  • Asking meaningful questions about student learning and how it can be improved;
  • Conducting research into teaching and learning that is systematic, iterative, analytical, evidence-based, and uses appropriate research methods; and
  • Sharing the results of that inquiry to benefit colleagues and contribute to the growing body of knowledge around teaching and learning.


Advocacy and Outreach Boilerplate Project

Project Purpose: To create a collection of SoTL Boilerplates that are targeted to different audiences. These will ultimately be shared on the ISSoTL website for open use by those who are doing SoTL work. If you are interested in joining this effort or contributing a boilerplate that you have created, please contact one of the A&O committee co-chairs

What is a Boilerplate?  A boilerplate is journalism lingo for a short summary description of something, in this case, for SoTL. Boilerplates are placed at the end of a document, somewhat like a footnote. They provide basic, crucial information for readers who might not be familiar the entity associated with the contents of the rest of the document. They can also serve as a short, concise way to explain SoTL at the start of a presentation or face-to-face meeting. The SoTL description above is thorough, but is longer than a typical boilerplate statement.

Characteristics of an effective boilerplate are:

  • Concise
  • Brief description of the most salient characteristics
  • Tailored - Succinct amount of information aimed at a defined audience or clientele
  • “Evergreen” statement of purpose at the core, i.e. this part will work across all audiences, and then tweaks are made to tailor it
  • Jargon free
© 2020 International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) All rights reserved.