Celebrate SoTL 2019

On October 24, the Institute for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISoTL) and the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT) hosted the second annual Celebrate SoTL event. This full-day event gave Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) practitioners, new faculty and students across UBC the opportunity to engage in dialogue around teaching and learning and to advance SoTL work.

Threshold concepts in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Andrea Webb, lecturer in the Faculty of Education, was the keynote speaker. Andrea spoke about the field of the scholarship of teaching and learning, some of the challenges and future directions of this growing field in higher education. She spoke specifically about threshold concepts, which are helpful for new SoTL scholars when they navigate this field of inquiry

She explained how “a concept is [a] threshold if it leads to a qualitatively different view of the subject matter, often challenging existing knowledge.” Andrea highlighted that threshold concepts have all or some of the following characteristics: they are troublesome, causing practitioners to question their ways of thinking about teaching and learning, and lead to new and sometimes contrasting understandings; liminal, as SoTL activities take place in a space where faculty could be novice in SoTL while maintaining an expert status in their own disciplinary fields; transformative, as they involve irreversible change; and bounded by contextual and personal factors.

Andrea invited participants to consider how threshold concepts can be used to develop and support educational leadership and SoTL at the University of British Columbia.

What is learning and what is worth measuring?

Deborah Butler, professor at the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Special Education; Pam Kalas, senior instructor in the Biology and Science One Programs; Patrick Dubois, PhD candidate at the Department of Psychology; and Bruce Moghtader, PhD candidate at the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Special Education, discussed their perspectives on learning and what is measurable.

Each presenter gave examples specific to their own teaching and learning context, and provided unique ways of understanding what educators can assess when it comes to learning. Many spoke about the challenges of knowing when students are, in fact, learning, and how ongoing reflection about the learning process is a big part of this.

The panel gave examples of strategies used in the classroom, such as peer assessments and group work, in order to try to make student thinking “visible”. They also spoke about theories and philosophies of learning that inform current pedagogical approaches.

The conversation was deeply engaging, as many audience members spoke to some of the issues they face when trying to assess student learning in their own classrooms.

ePoster Session

Participants had the opportunity to learn about the SoTL work faculty members at UBC are doing in the ePoster session. Here, presenters also had the opportunity to receive feedback from peers and to share project outcomes.

This session had 20 ePosters that showcased the breath of the work being done across campus in multiple faculties such as Arts, Science, Land and Food Systems, Applied Science, Pharmaceutical Science and more. Themes included technology in teaching, usage of office hours, blended classrooms, multimedia as learning tools, promotion of thinking processes, and open educational resources in the classroom.

Inclusivity in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Jackie Stewart, senior instructor, Department of Chemistry, and deputy academic director, CTLT; Lisa White, PhD student, Department of Educational Studies and Indigenous Education and SoTL specialist, ISoTL; and Hélène Frohard-Dourlent, educational strategist, Student Diversity Initiative, led an interactive workshop on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in SoTL.

This interactive workshop had people out of their seats for an activity that questioned their assumptions about inclusivity and diversity at UBC. The three presenters spoke about how to bring EDI into SoTL, and the importance of embedding EDI in all SoTL projects, not just those that deal specifically with diversity issues. The participants were invited to design their own SoTL project based on EDI principles, and to share their challenges as well as areas of opportunities for EDI work as a group.


Scholarship of Teaching and Learning funding opportunities at UBC:

Equity, diversity and inclusion in SoTL: