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March 13 , 2009

Optimizing Teaching and Learning

Practicing Pedagogical Research


The scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) is one of the most dynamic areas of research in the field of higher education today in which faculty continuously evaluate the quality of their teaching and its affect on student learning. Faculty are being held accountable for the effectiveness of their teaching and in turn they are starting to engage in SoTL-related intellectual exchanges not only in their research agendas but also in the ways in which they teach their students in the classroom. At the heart of this new movement, there is a simple idea: take a close look at how you teach and how your students learn, use the same methodology that you would use for formal investigations (be it in the humanities or sciences), and hold your research to the same standards most notably peer review.

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Optimizing Teaching and Learning will serve as a guide for anyone who is interested in improving their teaching, the learning of their students, and at the same time contribute to the scholarship of teaching and learning. It bridges the gap between the research and practice of SoTL, with explicit instructions on how to design, conduct, analyze, and write-up pedagogical research, including samples of actual questionnaires and other materials (e.g., focus group questions) that will jumpstart investigations into teaching and learning. It also explores the advantages and disadvantages of various pedagogical practices and present applications of SoTL using case studies from a variety of disciplines. This book will serve as an invaluable resource for both seasoned faculty and new faculty who are just beginning to assess their teaching methods and learn how to think beyond the content.

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