An introduction to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL)

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) uses discovery, reflection, and evidence-based methods to research effective teaching and student learning. These findings are peer reviewed and publicly disseminated in an ongoing cycle of systematic inquiry into classroom practices.

Different research methods and arguments can be used to demonstrate student learning, though they vary in the strength of evidence they can provide. Deductive arguments and experimental methods generally provide stronger evidence of learning than inductive arguments and case studies, though combining methods can capitalize on the advantages of each. Any of these can be effective SoTL methods.

The tools and resources in this website are designed to clarify different research methods and provide a spectrum of choices for designing and implementing SoTL projects.

Getting Started

  • Explorations – Areas of interest for ongoing research
  • Published Works – Works which should provide guidance on what SoTL is and how to get started
  • Faculty research networks at UNCG – UNCG’s office of Research and Engagement maintains a list of current networks and coalitions for faculty who would like to connect with others of similar interests

  • Workshops – Upcoming events usually going into depth on particular topics related to SoTL
  • Consultation Requests – If you don’t see a workshop to meet your needs, request either smaller consultations, or full workshops revolving around topics you need.
  • Pedagogical Research – Learn more about the resources we have available to aid your research projects, as well as current research opportunities


Higher education journals typically publish work by higher education professionals including faculty and administrators. You will find a broader range of articles than just pedagogy, and typically more theoretical and policy-related work. Many have been around for a long time and are published by major publishing companies. Few of these are open access.

These journals focus more specifically on teaching (pedagogy) in higher education. Many, but not all, of these focus on discipline-based educational research (DBER) with implications for theory and knowledge-building in their discipline. You’ll find a range of articles on pedagogy from theoretical, empirical, instructional, to review.  Some of these are open access.

SoTL journals typically publish work by instructors in higher education from a variety of disciplines. The range of articles you see in this journal will vary from empirical pieces to reflective essays or perspectives on SoTL-specific ideas like “signature pedagogies.” Articles are intended for a multi-disciplinary, and often international, audience. Most of these are open access.

Bain, K. (2004).  What the best college teachers do. Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press.

Bishop-Clark, C., & Dietz-Uhler, B. (2012).  Engaging in the scholarship of teaching and learning: A guide to the process, and how to develop a project from start to finish. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Blumberg, P. (2013).  Assessing and improving your teaching: Strategies and rubrics for faculty growth and student learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Bowen, J. (2012). Teaching naked: How moving technoogy out of your college classroom will improve student learning.  San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Doyle, T. (2011). Learner-centered teaching:  Putting the research on learning into practice. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Hunt, L., & Chalmers, D. (Eds.) (2012). University teaching in focus:  A learning-centered approach.  New York:  Routledge.

Lieberg, C. (2008).  Teaching your first college class: A practical guide for new faculty and graduate student instructors.  Sterling, VA:  Stylus.

Nilson, L.B. (2010).  Teaching at its best:  A research-based resource for college instructors (3rd ed.).  San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Weimer, M. (2002). Learner-centered teaching:  Five key changes to practice. San Francisco, CA:  Jossey-Bass.

Bennett, S., Maton, K., & Kervin, L. (2008).  The “digital natives” debate:  A critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 775–786.

Chickering, A., & Gamson, Z., (1987).  Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education.  AAHE bulletin, 39, 3-7.

Freeman, S., Eddy, S. L., McDonough, M., Smith, M. K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M. P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(23), 8410–8415.

Hake, R. R. (1996). Interactive-engagement vs. traditional methods: A six-thousand student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics courses. American Journal of Physics, 66, 64-74.

McKeachie, W.J., Pintrich, P.R., Lin, Y.G., & Smith, D.A.F.(1987). Teaching and learning in the college classroom: A review of the research literature. Ann Arbor, MI: National Center for Research to Improve Post-secondary Teaching and Learning.

Njenga, J. M., & Fourie, L. C. H. (2010).  The myths about e-learning in higher education.  British Journal of Educational Technology, 41(2), 199-212.

Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer, D., & Bjork, R. (2008). Learning styles: Concepts and evidence. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 9(3), 105 – 119.

Ruhl, K. L., Hughes, C. A., & Schloss, P. J. (1987).  Using the pause procedure to enhance learning recall. Teacher Education & Special Education, 10, 14-18.

Sana, F., Weston, T., & Cepeda, N. J. (2013).  Laptop multitasking hinders classroom learning for both users and nearby peers. Computers and Education, 62, 24-31.

SOTL Conferences and events

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