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2012 Pre-Conference Workshop

Pre-Conference Workshop

An Inquiry into Teaching and Learning: Starting and Strengthening a SoTL Project

Sunday, May 20, 2012, Noon - 5:40 p.m.


This workshop will offer you practical assistance in beginning or refining a scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) project. The workshop will be helpful to you whether you are exploring SoTL as an avenue of new work, ready to begin a SoTL project, or already have some knowledge and experience conducting SoTL work.  This workshop is designed for individuals and teams of SoTL investigators.

Upon completion of this workshop, you will be able to:

  1. Articulate or refine a research question for a SoTL project
  2. Know where to look for prior literature and relevant theory
  3. Select appropriate research methods for your SoTL question
  4. Identify possible solutions to SoTL ethical issues
  5. Locate publishing and conference venues for your SoTL work
  6. Draft a timeline for your SoTL project.



Noon - 12:45 p.m. Lunch, Welcome, and Overview of the Day

12:50 - 1:50 p.m. Anatomy of a Question: Refining the Compelling SoTL Question Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Political Science Eastern Michigan University

What are you curious about?  What would you like to know about your students' learning?  A successful SoTL project begins with a question that is compelling to both the SoTL community and the researcher.  In this session, we will work on defining research goals and framing researchable questions.  We will also discuss the types of evidence that will reveal that your goal has been achieved.

2 - 2:30 p.m. The SoTL Literature: Contextualizing and Publishing Your SoTL Work Christine Rener, Ph.D., Director Pew Faculty Teaching & Learning Center, Grand Valley State University &  Todd Stanislav, Ph.D. Director Faculty Center for Teaching & Learning Ferris State University  

A range of web-based and print journals support publication of SoTL work.  Prior to initiating your own investigation, an awareness of relevant SoTL work in your own discipline, closely related disciplines, as well as unexpected areas must be established. In this session, facilitators will provide and seek suggestions for both locating existing SoTL publications and choosing an appropriate venue for dissemination of your work.  

2:30 - 2:45 p.m. Break  

2:45 - 3:45 p.m. Evidence Speaks: Qualitative Methods of Data Collection and Analysis Sarah M. Ginsberg, Ed.D., CCC-SLP Program Coordinator, Speech-Language Pathology Associate Professor, Dept. of Special Education Eastern Michigan University  

This session will briefly review the history of action research in educational settings before we discuss the types of questions best answered through qualitative research.  We will talk about finding good matches between the research question and the types of qualitative data that can be collected.  Finally we will examine possible study designs for qualitative SoTL research that might be useful to you for your own research.  Participants will be able to plan a qualitative study for their own use by the end of the session.  

3:50 - 4:50 p.m. Ethical Considerations in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Howard N. Shapiro, Ph.D. Associate Vice President for Student Services and Undergraduate Affairs Professor, Mechanical Engineering Wayne State University  

While we focus efforts on defining or refining the questions that lie at the heart of our SoTL efforts, we must also pay close attention to the ethical questions that relate to our work.  In this session, we consider a range of ethical questions from methods of inquiry to humans subjects review boards, informed consent, and control groups.

4:50 - 5:20 p.m. The Devil is in the Details: Crafting an Action Plan and Timeline for Your SoTL Work   Peggy Liggit, Ph.D. Director, B.K. Nelson Faculty Development Center Eastern MIchigan University  

Participants will leave this session with a personalized plan for taking action on their SoTL project once returning back to their institution after this conference.  We will work together to contextualize and summarize the information from the previous presentations and create an individualized plan and timeline.  The timeline will include action steps for framing of the research question, collection of data, analysis of results, peer feedback, and modes of dissemination.  Model timelines and plans from other SoTL practitioners will also be examined.

5:20 - 5:40 p.m. Wrap-Up and Evaluation