Weaving the threads: how SoTL can contribute to a culture that learns

Brown, Karin; Scherrer, Pia; Suter, Roman (26 October 2018). Weaving the threads: how SoTL can contribute to a culture that learns (Unpublished). In: 15th Annual Conference of the Interational Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL). Bergen. 24.-27. Oktober 2018.

In higher education contexts where research excites more recognition than teaching (see Deuscher Wissenschaftsrat, 2017), the time and effort required for faculty to publish SoTL research projects is often difficult to afford. Moreover, even when faculty publish about teaching in international journals, the impact on teaching and learning at their local institution may be limited (see Geertsema, 2015).

Our workshop considers how SoTL can contribute to developing a culture that learns within a higher education institution. We build on a definition of SoTL as the systematic inquiry into student learning (Hutchings & Shulman, 1999). In order to establish teaching as a "community property" (Shulman, 1993), this inquiry is shared with peers. Following Stensaker (2017), we view the development of local teaching expertise (Geertsema, 2015; Ashwin, Trigwell, Baume, & Kahn, 2004) as a form of cultural work within an institution.

We conceptualise SoTL artefacts as individual threads of teaching knowledge in a specific higher education institution. We suggest that these threads can develop into a body of collective local teaching expertise if woven in a deliberately planned and facilitated way: First, the threshold for doing SoTL needs to be lowered to include a wider range of systematic inquiry activities (see Huber & Hutchings, 2005). Second, outcomes of all such SoTL activities need to be captured as visible manifestation of culture (see Schein, 1990) in the form of artefacts. Third, the sharing of these artefacts must be promoted. And fourth, artefacts must be systematically reintroduced at the local institutional level.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


09 Interdisciplinary Units > Centre for University Continuing Education

UniBE Contributor:

Suter, Roman


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 370 Education




Roman Suter

Date Deposited:

29 Oct 2018 12:14

Last Modified:

24 Mar 2021 10:54



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