MRU Institute for SoTL

Literacy research profiled

Institute for SoTL funded research is making a splash in MRU News – researchers Jodi Nickle and Scott Hughes from the Department of Education were profiled about their Read Up! Program, partnering teacher candidates with grades 1 and 2 students who were having difficulty with reading. This research was funded through the Marshall Family Foundation.

Along with the important gains for the children in their reading, the SoTL results were that teacher candidates, “reported on their own learning including the importance of planning and preparedness, assessing, posing effective questions, encouraging strategy use, and responding to the learner’s needs.” This means that the impact is not only to the children and the teacher candidates, but has ripple effects to their future students as well.

“(Throughout the program) our students talked about the big ideas,” says Nickel. “’How do I assess? How do I choose the best strategies?’ In addition, building a relationship with the child helped them to teaching responsively: ‘I know this child now. I know what they’re going to like, and what they’re not going to like,’ and so they had to kind of play it by ear and be a responsive teacher, which I think is really important.”


See full article here:

Read Up! Program supports early literacy



2018 Banff SoTL Symposium – Now accepting proposals!

It’s spring… and time to plan your session!

Proposals due May 11, 2018

8th Annual Symposium on

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: 

Building SoTL Communities

November 8-10, 2018

Banff, Alberta


Hosted by the Institute for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at  Mount Royal University

Call for Proposals


Join us this Friday!

SoTL Speaker Series Event

Friday, April 6

12-1pm in EL 2462

Ada Jaarsma and Kenna Olsen

Experiments in Scholarly Teaching

Join us in an interactive exploration of scholarly teaching. We will traverse the humanities, from medieval literature to contemporary philosophy, and will share our discoveries about the value of collaborative experiments in SoTL. This talk will lay out the insights that emerged from a year-long SoTL mentorship project, but more interestingly, perhaps, it will open up new questions about the nature and import of scholarly teaching.


Last meeting of the SoTL Journal Club for this semester

SoTL Reading Group
This is the last meeting of the SoTL journal club for Winter 2018!
Karen Manarin will present a paper by Trent Maurer and Cassidy Keim: “Teaching about prejudice with a Bogardus Social Distance Scale activity: Replication and extension”

Here’s a finely-crafted link to the paper:

Karen also suggests having a look at April McGrath’s paper on null hypothesis significance testing as related/background/support reading:


When: Wed., Mar 28,  11am-noon
Where: EL2462


Next meeting of the SoTL Journal Club

Come one, come all!
Michelle Yeo will be presenting the next paper: “Crossing the Threshold in Introductory Women’s and Gender Studies Courses: An Assessment of Student Learning” by Holly Hassel and Christie Launius:

Please note that “interlopers” (people who aren’t presenting this term, and may have time only to read the abstract) ARE absolutely encouraged to attend!


Wed Mar 14,  11:30 am- 12:30 pm
Where: in the RLLC, EL2462


Next meeting of the SoTL Journal Club

Come one, come all!
Erik Christiansen and Chris Thomas will be presenting the next paper “Tracking the scholarship of teaching and learning” by Malcolm Tight:

Please note that “interlopers” (people who aren’t presenting this term, and may have time only to read the abstract) ARE absolutely encouraged to attend!

9-10 am

Wed Feb 28, 2018

EL2462 in the RLLC


Publishing in the SoTL Big Tent

Last week we had a lively discussion in our SoTL Reading group about who gets published in SoTL journals, what kind of work meets a quality threshold of “good enough”, and where that invisible line should be drawn. The conversation turned to questions of inclusion, exclusion, and rigour in SoTL studies. We worried about perceptions of rigour by academics in other disciplines (or our perceptions of those perceptions). This makes me think about some of the unique elements of SoTL, which leads to an interesting environment in terms of publishing our work in peer-reviewed journals.

SoTL is a relatively “new” discipline

While connected to educational research, SoTL thinks of itself as distinct and fairly new in disciplinary terms. Boyer’s model dividing research into four categories, including the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning was published in 1990.  It is a discipline still feeling its way in some respects, and new journals continue to emerge and develop. I don’t want to overstate this, and doubtless someone will argue with me that it is not as new as all that, but in the university environment, we’re the new kid in town, which comes with certain challenges. We don’t have hundreds of years of disciplinary history to lean on, which lends a certain gravitas to disciplines that have been around since say, Plato.

SoTL scholars are usually trained academics from other disciplines

By definition, SoTL is undertaken by academics typically trained in other disciplines, from STEM to the humanities to the professions, and so on. Some SoTL researchers, like myself, come from the field of education, but we are in the minority. Indeed, to my surprise, I’ve had to struggle with how SoTL is distinct from my home discipline. For others, SoTL is a bigger disciplinary leap. We learn that some SoTL reviewers and journals may expect social science conventions in submissions, while others are more forgiving. If you publish within your own discipline’s educational journals, it is likely that disciplinary conventions will be applied to your writing. This can be a confusing state of affairs for new SoTL scholars.

Many journals actively attempt to encourage new scholars

We heard in our discussion from Miriam Carey, one of the editors of The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, how the journal actively takes an inclusive and developmental approach to submissions. In an academic world where the currency of “rigour” and “standards” often translates to high rejection rates, the cost to a developmental approach may be concerns about lack of rigour.

Gary Poole, co-editor of Teaching & Learning Inquiry, in his opening keynote to ISSOTL 2017, spoke about the importance of reviewers remaining constructive in the process. I believe that we gain more than we give up with such approaches, and it is important to recognize new SoTL scholars take considerable risk in moving into the arena. Janice Miller-Young, Karen Manarin, and I have written about the challenges to disciplinary knowledges and identity new scholars often experience here.

I think this is an important discussion.  I don’t have a lot of patience with the notion that SoTL is somehow a “light” discipline, but I do think we need to continue asking questions about inclusion and quality as we develop deeper disciplinary roots over time.

— Michelle Yeo



Next meeting of the SoTL journal club

Come one, come all!
Miriam Carey will be presenting the next paper:

Designing & evaluating students’ transformative learning by Nina B. Namaste

Please note that “interlopers” (people who aren’t presenting this term, and may have time only to read the abstract) ARE absolutely encouraged to attend!


Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:00 am


SoTL Reading Group for 2018 Schedule of events

Hi – here’s a message from Jon Mee about this year’s SoTL Reading Group
Here’s our schedule of meetings for the Winter 2018 semester (all in EL2462, which is the Flexible Learning Lab in the ADC):
Jan 8th, 11:30am (Presenter: Jon Mee) – light lunch provided
Jan 26th, 2pm (Presenter: Ana Colina) – coffee/tea and snacks provided
Feb 14th, 10:00am (Presenter: Miriam Carey) – coffee/tea and snacks provided
Feb 28th, 9:00am (Presenters: Chris Thomas and Erik Christiansen) – coffee/tea and snacks provided
March 14th, 11:30am (Presenter: Michelle Yeo) – coffee/tea and snacks provided
March 28th, 11:00am (Presenter: Karen Manarin) – coffee/tea and snacks provided
I’m up first, and I’ll be presenting the following paper:
I hope you can make it on January 8th (RSVP to, and have a great holiday!