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Curtin University
Curtin Learning Institute

Innovation and Scholarship of Learning and Teaching

What is iSoLT

Innovation and Scholarship of Learning and Teaching (iSoLT) means the development and implementation of innovative approaches to learning and teaching (teaching, delivery and teaching related duties) at the University, and systematic evidence-based scholarly enquiry into learning and teaching.

Boyer describes two levels of scholarship:

Base Line Level

  • Being familiar with the latest ideas in your subject
  • Being aware of ideas on teaching that subject
  • Evaluating and reflecting on your students' learning

Advanced Level

  • Contributing to the development of the pedagogy of the subject
  • Researching the learning and teaching of the discipline
  • Disseminating outcomes

(Boyer, Ernest. 1990)

Career Development

The recognition and reward of scholarship of learning and teaching provides the opportunity for career pathways for teaching academics, and teaching and research academics at Curtin. It is possible to plan a career path that is partly or mainly based on scholarship and research in higher education. The University document, Teaching Excellence at Curtin (Criteria and Standards), provides information on how to develop a profile in scholarship, and on possible supporting sources of evidence.

Pathway Academic Level

iSoTL local level

iSoTL institutional level

iSoTL national & international  

A and B

C and D

D and E

iSoLT Activities

iSoLT inquiry
Conduct literature searches for a potential iSoLT project
Write a research proposal for a iSoLT project
Write a iSoLT grant application
Write a literature review for a iSoLT project
Collect data for a iSoLT project
Apply for ethics approval for a iSoLT project
Design and implement innovations as part of a iSoLT project
Analyse data for a iSoLT project

iSoLT dissemination
Prepare and give presentations and workshops on the outcomes of iSoLT projects
Prepare a iSoLT publication (e.g. journal article, book chapter)

iSoLT leadership
Peer reviewing a iSOLT publication (e.g. for a iSoLT journal/conference)
Edit a iSoLT journal, book or other publication
Be the Editor of a iSoLT journal or publication
Implement changes in learning and teaching based on iSoLT outcomes and evaluate the results
Assist others to implement and evaluate changes in their learning and teaching based on iSoLT outcomes
iSoLT mentoring for new academics

The following activities are not iSoLT activities:

  • Writing teaching award applications
  • Attendance at professional learning courses
  • Peer Review of Educational Practice (PREP)

The Curtin University Academic Professional and General Staff Agreement states that a teaching academic will demonstrate sustained performance in teaching, service and leadership and engage in innovation and scholarship of learning and teaching (iSoLT) commensurate with their level of appointment and experience.

A teaching academic will be allocated workload of:

  • Teaching Delivery and Teaching-related Duties within a range of 50 to 70% of available work hours, which will vary according to the mix of iSoLT and other academic duties.
  • iSoLT within a range of 10 to 30% of available work hours, and 
  • 20% of available work hours allocated to collegial, administrative and professional activities. 

The Head of School will determine the range of time allocated to iSoLT for a teaching academic based on iSoLT outputs, involvement in University projects or initiatives and an agreed plan of activities and planned outcomes in iSoLT.

Scholarship - The Larger Picture

Theory, pedagogy and practice of higher education

A major aim of scholarship and research in higher education is the development of theory, pedagogy (or andragogy) and practice of higher education.

Theory concerns the ideas we have about the nature of learning and teaching.
Pedagogy focuses on the way we think about and plan our teaching.
Practice concerns the way we carry out our teaching.

It can be argued that an understanding of theory, pedagogy and practice of education (ie teaching and learning) will help us determine how to design courses and units and how to teach them. It may also determine the kinds of knowledge that are given prominence in any discipline, and what it takes to produce knowledge.

Knowing about theory, pedagogy and practice helps you talk in an informed way about your teaching and learning (or your educational practice). Being able to do that sets you aside from un-informed opinion.

In doing this, there are questions of:

Ontology: in which we identify the assumptions we make about the nature of being and existence and about what things are, and how reality is seen.
Epistemology: which concerns the ways in which we understand or think about the world and how knowledge is constructed: “knowledge is not a property but a social construction, or a way of knowing from our experience of the world” (Hodgson, McConnell, and Dirkinck-Holmfeld, 2012)
Pedagogy: the ways in which we teach and the methods we use.

It can be argued that the ways in which we see, or live in the world (Ontology) are linked to the way we think about knowledge (epistemology) and how knowledge is made and given credence. This in turn may have influences on the way we go about teaching (pedagogy).

Taken together, examinations of theory, pedagogy and practice may provide a comprehensive understanding of what you do in your practice, and why you do it the way you do.

At Curtin, scholarship of this kind may take several forms.

Scholarship may be conducted into the way in which the university conducts its strategic educational initiatives informed by the theory, pedagogy and practice of higher education.

At the Faculty and discipline levels, scholarship may be conducted into the ways in which each Faculty imagines and manages its learning, teaching and assessment processes and practices.

Within the four Curtin Faculties, scholarship may be conducted into the main discipline areas of each Faculty, helping develop new understandings and knowledge about the theory, pedagogy and practice of each discipline, and illuminating the educational endeavors of each discipline. For example:

  • Humanities Faculty: scholarship into the theory, pedagogy and practice of design and art education; built environment education, media, culture and creative arts education, and so on.
  • Business Faculty: scholarship into the theory, pedagogy and practice of accountancy education; law education; management education, and so on.
  • Health Sciences Faculty: scholarship into the theory, pedagogy and practice of medical education; physiotherapy and exercise science education; psychology and speech pathology education, and so on.
  • Science and Engineering Faculty: scholarship into the theory, pedagogy and practice of chemistry education; computing education; civil engineering education, and so on.

References

Boyer, Ernest. (1990) Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. Princeton, NJ: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Curtin University Academic, Professional and General Staff Agreement, 2017 –  see section 21.3 http://ebastaff.curtin.edu.au

Hodgson, V., McConnell, D. and Dirkinck-Holmfeld, L. (2012) The theory, practice and pedagogy of networked learning, pp 291-305 In Dirkinck-Holmfeld, L., Hodgson, V. and McConnell, D. (2012)  “Exploring the theory, pedagogy and practice of networked learning” New York: Springer



Higher Education Conferences awards and grants

Teaching and higher education conferences across Australia and other parts of the world.

Higher Education Journals graduation hat

Key journals and considerations when choosing a journal in which to publish.

Resources resources

Scholarship of Learning and Teaching resources.