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PD Day May 2019: Faculty of Applied & Technical Studies

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Selected Introductory Readings and Summaries/Definitions


1. Inquiry focused on student learning

2. Grounded in local and scholarly context

3. Methodologically sound

4. Conducted in partnership with students

5. Appropriately public (visible)

Notable quotation:

"Taken together, these five principles can be used as guideposts for developing and refining both individual SoTL inquiries and larger SoTL initiatives. A faculty member who is first dipping her toe into the SoTL waters can ask how each applies to her own question about student learning. More experienced colleagues can weigh the relative strengths and weakness of past or future inquiries by measuring each against the five principles." (124)


1. Focus on student learning

2. Reflect on one's own contribution to this learning

3. Make one's process publicly visible in some way

Notable Quotation:

"A teacher can be professionally competent by conscientious delivery of courses using traditional delivery methods and measures typical of higher education. That instruction becomes scholarship when the instructor reads widely on contemporary practices, evaluates understanding with a range of student performances, reflects on student learning to refine the course learning activities, and engages colleagues in public discussion of those conclusions and refinements." (3)


Research involves three elements:

1. Research question and an implicit or explicit philosophical stance/epistemology

2. Theoretical grounding or foundation (Learning theory)

3. Methodological rigour (Methodology)

From page 44:

SoTL Theory Methodology Chart

Notable Quotation:

"Our framework is not intended to be prescriptive or comprehensive, but to show the range of theory and methodology being used in SoTL work and to demonstrate that there is a relation between theory and methodology. We encourage researchers to not choose one without considering the other. In our experience, studies that have a methodology in compatible with a theoretical framework do not tend to be successful as one undermines the other. The result may be work that is not completed or published." (49-50)

Additional Resources

Explore journals specific to vocational and technical training fields to identify teaching practices in these fields. Articles may not be identified as SoTL research, but may qualify as examples

Also see this discussion about SoTL and trades education:

There are numerous resources relevant to SoTL available through the Library. Try using some of the following terminology as search terms:

  • Teaching methodology
  • Technical education - study and teaching
  • Pedagogy
  • Occupational training
  • Vocational pedagogy
  • Vocational education

When paired with the terminology of your discipline, you may be able to locate very specific or relevant readings. Some sample search terms:

  • Welding
  • Carpentry
  • Automotive repair
  • Automotive body repair
  • Agriculture

Start here:

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