Friday, March 20, 2015

Why do we bother?

Eclipsed I sense a change in the air surrounding SoTL, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. It would be nice to think that this is a post-REF shift, when we finally have time to focus on something more productive, but I don't think it is. I sensed the change during the later phases of the REF frenzy and it's been around for a while. Of course, the future is not evenly distributed, and it's never going to be - culture is local not global and Departments differ widely in their teaching quality.

Over the next couple of months I'm booked for a couple of runs of my PedR workshop. (I'm on trend as ever - bookings being taken, just contact my agent.) So this recent musing by Graham Scott is of interest as background to the current situation where SoTL is a box that must be ticked. It turns out the answer is quite simple - we do SoTL for the same reason as anyone does any research.

...I am not primarily interested in the mechanisms by which we disseminate our teaching practice – we illustrate symposium presentations using digital media, we disseminate through social media, we blog and we submit papers to online journals for example. Instead my primary focus is a desire to better understand our motivations to share our practice. In so doing I hope to gain some insight into our experiences as professionals who are often be viewed as being at the intersection of two areas of academic practice, teaching and research, and at the boundary that exists between disciplinary areas...

Scott G. Why do we bother? Exploring biologists' motivations to share the details of their teaching practice. F1000Research 2015, 4: 46. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.6129.1

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