Using technology to build engagement in a Global Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) community of practice

Deb Clarke, Lee Patridge, Lesley Petersen

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Higher Education scholarly societies exist specifically to enhance teaching and learning in the academy. Central to their missions are notions of collaboration, support, promotion of innovation and good practice, and encouragement of debate and publication. Presented as three case studies, this chapter describes the creation, facilitation and evaluation of a New Scholars’ Scholarship of Teaching and Learning SoTL program, designed by one such scholarly society. Members of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia executive adopted technology in various ways to transition new scholars into the broader SoTL global community. New scholars are defined here as academics, both early career and more experienced, who have yet to publish a manuscript in a peer reviewed scholarly journal relating to teaching and learning. Grounded in the community of practice literature (Lave and Wenger in Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1991), the use of the technology aimed to connect members across geographic boundaries, time zones and institutions. The technological platforms created a shared space in which the new scholars (legitimate peripheral participants) were introduced to the language and conventions of SoTL (shared repertoire) and to those tasks specifically related to the practice of SoTL (joint enterprise). The program, in its varying iterations was evaluated with ethical approval, by the facilitators using anonymous online surveys and individual telephone interviews with consenting participants. Participants’ feedback was overwhelmingly positive regarding the expert and collegial support and encouragement offered. Survey and interview data revealed participants valued the quality of the resources, the chance to engage with like-minded scholars, the opportunity to receive critique on works in progress, and the integration of technology that afforded the offering of the program, in its varying forms. This chapter further presents the challenges faced relating to ensuring participants in the communities of practice were engaged in activities that replicated SoTL practice, and sustained connections with globally dispersed members.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationImplementing communities of practice in higher education
Subtitle of host publicationDreamers and schemers
EditorsJacquie McDonald, Aileen Carter-Steele
Place of PublicationSingapore
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9789811028663
ISBN (Print)9789811028656
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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