Applying SoTL in a nuclear engineering course – experiences from six iterations of course development
Conference contribution, 2018
The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) (Boyer, 1990) attempts to improve student learning and enhance educational quality through encouraging teachers to engage in the “systematic study of teaching and/or learning and the public sharing and review of such work through presentations, performance, or publications.” (McKinney, 2006, 39). Thus, SoTL includes the examination and reflection upon teachers teaching practice as well as the sharing of those experiences with others in order to gain feedback and enable them to learn from those experiences for their own teaching practice. Chalmers attempts to facilitate this process through a number of measures including a yearly pedagogic local conference and the provision of pedagogic support for teachers who attempt to develop their course(s). In this presentation we present a case study of SoTL as applied in a course development project to improve a graduate course in nuclear engineering. The course started in a traditional campus-based format and was stepwise converted over six iterations into a fully web-based format using a flipped classroom approach. The synchronous and asynchronous learning activities include among other things pre-recorded lectures, (webcasts), home assignments, on-line quizzes, online tutorials and wrap up sessions. The course development underwent several iterations of reflection and changes based on experiences from the previous course run. The teacher collected both formative and summative feedback, both in quantitative and qualitative form. This included, for example, feedback prompts and different forms of learning analytics collected through the learning management platform. Compared to the previous teaching format, the conversion to flipped courses resulted in increased student-teacher interactions, as well as enhanced understanding of the course concepts. In our presentation, we describe the different stages of the course, how feedback was generated, used for reflection and impacted the course development and teaching development. Further, we present how the experiences gained were disseminated through different channels. We rely thereby on our own experiences as part of the pedagogic support as well as reflections about the course development and SoTL approach of the teacher himself. The presentation contributes to other teachers’ practice through providing inspiration to others about how SoTL can be applied in practice, including a critical reflection about some of the pitfalls and issues that teachers engaging in SoTL can experience.
Boyer, E. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. Princeton, NJ: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
McKinney, K. (2006). Attitudinal and structural factors contributing to challenges in the work of the scholarship of teaching and learning. New Directions for Institutional Research, 129 (Summer), 37-50.
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning