International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) Conference - Edmonton, Alberta - October 2008
Finally, a conference located close to
On the Journey to SoTL: Moving from Passive Learning to Scholarly Teaching with Student Groups – Ellen Lynch, University of Cincinnati
I was very impressed with how Ellen conducted her study about the impact of a problem based learning approach in her pre-service teacher education courses. Excellent data collection and analysis techniques through the use of student concept maps (pre and post course), surveys (pre and post), interviews and analysis of student assignments.
Community of Inquiry (CoI) Panel
This panel was hosted by Heather Kanuka from the
The Struggle for Connections by Sue Clegg from the
The a couple of key messages from Sue’s plenary session for me. One, the need to take a “big tent” approach to SoTL by allowing for multiple entry points for people to enter and participate in this research community (e.g. experimental studies, relationships, discourse analysis, personal reflection). Second, that lectures can be an effective way of engaging large groups of people. For this keynote – Sue read from a prepared a text but surprisingly I was “engaged’ throughout her talk and from my perspective, I took an excellent set of notes for comprehension.
In this session, David did an excellent job of summarizing the “lessons learned” from the Cambridge-MIT teaching/research partnership. He stressed how each institution is focused on developing four capacities in their students:
- deep conceptual understanding
- personal & interpersonal skills
- self-efficacy (confidence in one’s abilities)
- life-long learners
And, that their overall lesson was that course design really does matter. Other “lessons learned” included:
- The discovery that thoughtful student feedback serves as an impetus for change.
- Faculty are sensitive to what students say about them.
- Emphasizing learning objectives and assessment focused faculty on student learning rather than “covering” the content
- Faculty are receptive to assessment when it is framed as a mechanism for improvement
Scholarship of Teaching/Learning and Pedagogic Resonance by Keith Trigwell,
I think this was my favourite session – clear, to the point and in line with my own thinking. Keith suggests that pedagogic resonance is the relationship between teacher knowledge and student learning. The notion of student learning aligning with teacher intentions – being on the same wavelength. What students experience in the act of teaching that contributes to their learning.
Student Engagement Special Interest Group
Kudos to Chris Garrett from
Students are engaged when they are involved in their academic studies, persist despite challenges and obstacles, and take visible delight in accomplishing tasks related to their studies.
As “take aways”, I created a Google Group and Elluminate space to continue the dialogue and
Transforming Strategies: The Indigenous Struggle for Higher Education by Professor Graham Smith from
Graham is the CEO and Vice Chancellor of a
- Knowledge belongs to all
- All the knowledge goes into the group pool
- Focus on collective wisdom
- All the children belong to all of the parents
- No separation between teaching and learning (ako)
From Collaboratory to Commons: Mobilizing Knowledge for Exemplary Teaching by Tom Carey, Higher Education Quality Council of
The focus of Tom’s session was on State wide course redesign projects. A couple points of interest were the idea that often we need to redesign the way that we admit students to courses – not just courses themselves. And, how he is using MIT’s Collaborative Knowledge Networks model to mobilize the knowledge from this projects. This framework includes innovation, learning and interest (i.e. linux creators, maintainers, users). Interesting how the course redesign teams are using Google Groups to document their redesign processes. Here is an example of the Developmental Math Teams space.
Science Education within the Virtual World of Second Life by Tony Cider & Megan Squire,
I have to admit that I’m still not a big fan of Virtual Worlds but Tony did emphasize that these environment should be used to focus on the process of student creation and building rather than on playing games or simply using material that has been created by others. I also like the suggestion by someone in the audience that higher education institutions should foster an Emergent Technology Community of Practice to critically examine new and emerging technologies and how they can be used to support student learning.
Phew, I’m already looking forward to next year’s conference at