Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

As defined by CETL at KSU,The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) is systematic inquiry into student learning and/or one’s own teaching practices in higher education which is situated in context and involves methodologically sound application of appropriate research methods, peer review, and distribution as scholarly work.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we in higher education may be fielding an unprecedented amount of questions from the public about online teaching and learning efficacy. Three leading scholars in the SoTL community have put together a resource, linked here, that may assist you in thinking about your responses. 

In addition, if you are transitioning to a new modality in the fall, you may want to solicit additional formative feedback from your students. For more information and recommendation on gathering student feedback outside the course evaluation system, click here.

  • CETL supports faculty members conducting SoTL research in the following ways:
  • An online SoTL Scholars program that supports faculty as they complete a SoTL project over the course of one year.
  • An annual SoTL conference held at KSU.
  • A SoTL Listserv that updates the campus community on SoTL opportunities at KSU.
  • Faculty Learning Communities in which faculty investigate a particular teaching and learning issue for a full academic year.
  • SoTL Travel Funds to support faculty who are presenting their SoTL research or attending SoTL conferences.
  • A directory of journals that publish SoTL research focused on college/university teaching.
  • A directory of conferences that focus on college/university teaching.
  • Individual consultations with faculty (contact Hillary Steiner, CETL Associate Director for SoTL, to set up an online or face-to-face consultation, or click the link for more information about consultations)

CETL also offers web resources on the following topics for faculty engaging in SoTL:

  • As defined by CETL at KSU,The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) is systematic inquiry into student learning and/or one’s own teaching practices in higher education which is situated in context and involves methodologically sound application of appropriate research methods, peer review, and distribution as scholarly work.

    The following resources may be useful to help you get started with SoTL:

    • One-minute video introduction to SoTL. 

    CETL offers frequent workshops and webinars on getting started with SoTL. Please see our events page for more information. 

  • It can be challenging for faculty with a limited knowledge of the science of teaching and learning to situate their SoTL studies within a theoretical framework. Fortunately, there are several resources on the science of teaching and learning written for those outside of the discipline. Here are some places to start:


    • Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. C., & Norman, M. K. (2010). How learning works: 7 research-based principles for smart teaching (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
    • Brown, P. C. (2014). Make it stick: the science of successful learning. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
    • Eyler, J. (2018). How humans learn: the science and stories behind effective college teaching. Morgantown: West Virginia University Press.
    • Gurung, R. A. R., & Schwartz, B. M. (2012). Optimizing teaching and learning: practicing pedagogical research. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.

    E-Books and Websites:

    • Benassi, V. A., Overson, C. E., & Hakala, C. M. (2014). Applying science of learning in education: Infusing psychological science into the curriculum. Available at the Society for the Teaching of Psychology web site:
    • SoTL Annotations provides a crowdsourced annotated bibliography on dozens of teaching and learning topics
    • Improve with Metacognition offers information and commentary about using the principles of metacognition in the classroom.
    • explains and promotes retrieval practice as a key aspect of learning.
    • and offer descriptions of many common learning theories and thus can be a good place to start. Proceed with caution, however, as not all the theories described are well supported by research. Use these sites to learn more about the theories, then follow their suggested resources to read more.

    Journal Articles:

    • Bjork, R. A., Dunlosky, J., & Kornell, N. (2013). Self-regulated learning: Beliefs, techniques, and illusions. Annual Review of Psychology, 64, 417–444.
    • Dunlosky, J., Rawson, K. A., Marsh, E. J., Nathan, M. J., & Willingham, D. T. (2013). Improving students’ learning with effective learning techniques: Promising directions from cognitive and educational psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14(1), 4-58.
  • Dr. Ivan Jorrin Abellan's hopscotch model for planning your research design is especially useful for those who are new to educational research.

    Resources for different disciplinary approaches to SoTL:

    Resources for Methodologies in SoTL:

  • These sites list dozens of scales that measure different aspects of the student experience.

  • Below are some Frequently Asked Questions about IRBs and SoTL at KSU. Thank you to Dr. Christine Ziegler, Director and Chair of the Institutional Review Board, for assisting with the preparation of this page. To submit an IRB application,    visit For questions about the IRB process, please contact or call (470) 578-6407. They are here to help!

    • Do SoTL studies require IRB approval, or are they exempt from review?  Any research study that employs human subjects requires IRB approval. Studies that are “exempt” are not exempt from review, they are exempt from the annual continuing review required for either expedited or full board classifications. Whether a study qualifies for an exemption depends on the nature of the study, not where it originates.
    • If SoTL is the only research I’ll do with human subjects, must I complete the CITI training?  Yes. Anyone conducting research that employs human subjects has to complete CITI training.
    • Can I use individual student data from previous semesters in my study? Yes, but you must apply for IRB approval and you must seek individual students’ consent.
    • What about aggregate data? If I want to use aggregate data from a past semester (for example, a class’s average grade on a certain assignment), may I do so without consent from those students? What about aggregate demographic data (e.g., average age) from that same group? Yes, you may use aggregate data from past semesters without consent, but only if you seek IRB approval first, and it is in aggregate, rather than individual, form.
    • Can I request aggregate data from other instructors (for example, the course grades of students in multiple sections of a course over multiple semesters) to use in my study? Do I request this data from Institutional Research? Do I need IRB approval to do so? Yes, but it requires IRB approval. You would request this data from the Office of Institutional Research.
    • What if I’m not planning to publish or present my study? IRB oversight is not required as long it is for the purpose of assessment/evaluation and the information is not shared outside the department. For more information, see

    Other Resources on Ethics in SoTL:

  • Including students as partners in your SoTL research can provide benefits to everyone involved in the study. For more information on how to include students as partners, see the following resources:

  • The International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) is the largest society for faculty engaging in SoTL. They host an annual conference and post numerous resources to their website and Twitter accounts.

    At KSU, the SoTL Listserv and the annual Research on Teaching and Learning Summit are the best ways to stay connected to the latest SoTL developments on campus.

Contact: Hillary H. Steiner, Ph.D., Associate Director for SoTL