1. Tips for Incorporating Research into Teaching
  2. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)
    1. Online Resources
    2. Books

Tips for Incorporating Research into Teaching

Carleton University prides itself on being a great research-intensive institution that also provides an engaging and excellent learning environment for students. Often we view teaching and research as two separate practices. This does not need to be the case; your research can be directly incorporated into your teaching.

What is research-led teaching? From the University of Auckland Commentary newsletter, “Research-led teaching reflects and makes use of the instructor’s disciplinary research to benefit student learning and outcomes.”

Find out how Carleton professor Jim Davies incorporates research into his teaching by watching his TEDxOttawa talk.

At the undergraduate level, your research is most easily integrated into the curriculum.

Below are some tips for incorporating research into teaching:

  • Include results and your ideas of your research into your course(s)
  • Build assessments that include students developing research skills (i.e., literature reviews, critically reading articles, publishing to a publicly accessible site)
  • Have students use the research tools of their discipline. This could include software, conducting experiments, using research equipment and primary sources
  • Be inclusive and involve undergraduate students in research seminars, guest speakers and symposia.
  • Deploy students to do research. Give credit for original and/or industrious research
  • Take the time to uncover which studies were lead by students. Students respond well to studies done by other students
  • Make use of internships or real-world opportunities. Independent laboratory exercises or independent special projects will help foster research creativity if students are encouraged to explore the problem from multiple angles and not simply endeavour to get the “right” answer
  • Manage expectations. Ask students how long they think it took to do a study. They might be surprised by the answer of years!
  • Educate on evidence based and inferential strength. Even if students do not become researchers, they will become better citizens
  • Conduct a class project where data is collated from various groups and analyzed together

When designing your lessons, lectures and activities, Carleton biology professor Mark Forbes notes that students at all levels often respond positively to lectures that highlight recent research that is relevant to course material. Even the choice of textbook or readings is fundamentally important to incorporating research into your teaching. Grab hold of those texts or readings that focus on the “how” (strength of particular approaches) and the “why” (societal or other relevance) when addressing problems.

Whatever your strategy for incorporating more research into teaching, it is important to remember that research is not research (in fact it is not anything) until it is effectively communicated – through your teaching, your are helping to communicate and share research.

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

The scholarship of teaching and learning has been defined in many ways. In their article, Exploring the Scholarship of Teaching (2000), Kerber and Cranton define it as “ongoing learning about teaching and the demonstration of such knowledge.”

The scholarship of teaching and learning involves exploring teaching and learning in your own context in a similar manner to how you would approach research in your field of specialization. It often involves reflecting on your own practice, seeking out resources to enhance what you are doing, implementing these enhancements, assessing the outcomes, and disseminating this knowledge to others.

Online Resources

The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CJSoTL)
CJSoTL is a peer reviewed, trans-disciplinary, open-access electronic journal created by the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE). It accepts submissions (in French or English) from academic professionals working to understand and enhance learning through systematic scholarly inquiry; articles relevant to the Canadian context that shed new light on the teaching and learning interests of post-secondary education in Canada, including quantitative and/or qualitative research reports and essays examining issues in the scholarship of teaching and learning.

International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL)
This society’s goal is to foster inquiry and disseminate findings about what improves and articulates post-secondary learning and teaching. On this website you can find a tutorial about the scholarship of teaching and learning, links to other relevant organizations, and avenues for publishing your scholarship of teaching and learning work. The ISSOTL also produces a monthly newsletter.

Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
An independent policy and research center with a primary mission “to do and perform all things necessary to encourage, uphold, and dignify the profession of the teacher and the cause of higher education.” This organization is home to the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL), and offers various resources on the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE)
A Canadian association of academics interested in the improvement of teaching and learning in higher education. The society sponsors an annual conference, electronic bulletin board, and a national teaching and learning awards program.

Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education (CSSHE)
The purpose of the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education (CSSHE) to promote scholarship related to postsecondary education through publications and scholarly conferences. This society hosts an annual conference, publishes the Canadian Journal of Higher Education and The Professional File, a newsletter that describes and analyzes current issues in higher education policy and practice.

Books

McKinney, K. (2007). Enhancing learning through the scholarship of teaching and learning: The challenges and joys of juggling. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

This is a very useful book to help you get started on scholarship of teaching and learning projects. It addresses topics ranging from what is the scholarship of teaching and learning, why do it, getting started, project design, ethical issues, and disseminating the results of your project. This book is available in the EDC’s library.

Perry, R.P. & Smart, J.C. (2007). The scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education: An evidence-based perspective. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

This book brings together pre-eminent scholars from Australia, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and the USA to critically assess teaching and learning issues that cut across most disciplines. In addressing long-standing and newly emerging issues, the researchers examine the scientific evidence on what constitutes effective teaching in college classrooms, on the psychometric integrity of measures of teaching effectiveness, and on the use of such measures for tenure, promotion, and salary decisions. This book is available as an electronic resource from the MacOdrum library.

Becker, W. E., & Andrews, M. L. (Eds.) (2004). The scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education: Contributions of research universities. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

This book provides examples of a few of the many ways in which full-time, tenured, or tenure track faculty members at research universities advance teaching and learning of undergraduates by applying their research skills in their classrooms, laboratories, and individualized work with students. This book is available from the MacOdrum library, call number: LB2326.3 .S37 2004

Cambridge, B.L. (Ed.). (2004). Campus progress: Supporting the scholarship of teaching and learning. Washington, DC: American Association for Higher Education.

This book offers an introduction to scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching and learning, and will interest anyone who is concerned about student learning and the kind of inquiry that helps promote that learning. This book is available from the MacOdrum library, call number: LB1028.C265 2004

Huber, M. T. (2004). Balancing acts: The scholarship of teaching and learning in academic careers. Washington, DC: American Association for Higher Education and Carnegie Foundation.

How can faculty integrate the scholarship of teaching and learning into their academic careers? The book addresses this question through the experience of four scholars who have been innovators in their own classrooms, leaders of education initiatives in their institutions and disciplines, and pioneers in the scholarship of teaching and learning. This book is available from the MacOdrum library, call number: LB2331 .H86 2004

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