By Teresa Ober and Francis Yannaco
The STP's 14th Annual Conference on Teaching (ACT) was a great success this October 15-17! The purpose of the conference is to disseminate current research in the area of SoTL (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning). As an interdisciplinary branch of psychology and education, SoTL connects researchers and scholars who aim to establish an understanding of the ways in which teaching can optimally achieve student learning. From Wilson-Doenges and Gurung (2013), we can conceptualize the three general types of SoTL research and their relevant methodological needs. These methods span reports on classes or courses, comparisons of courses and students, and syntheses of existing SoTL research. Luckily, Georjeanna Wilson-Doenges herself was there to explain the unique considerations necessary for better methodological rigor in our SoTL project, which we applied to receive mentoring for at the STP SoTL Workshop.
Surviving mostly on apples and water, we worked closely with our dear mentors Michelle Drouin and Georjeanna Wilson-Doenges to develop a strong theoretical model and sharpen our classroom technology use scale. The ‘writing retreat’ style of the workshop provided an exceptional opportunity to shut ourselves away and turn our ideas into a real product in the span of hours, not months. And while Michelle’s expertise in technology use was profoundly applicable to every question we had during theory and scale development, Georjeanna’s insights helped us workshop our scale and turn our notes into well-honed models to move forward with.
Above and beyond the personalized, minute-to-minute feedback and real teaching insights from our mentors, the STP’s ACT Conference itself oriented us at the center of the cutting-edge research coming out right now. We took inspiration from many of the poster presenters’ work that spoke to our ideas. As both conference attendee and workshop participants this year, we had an amazing time working with experts in the field on a project while situated in the middle of an academic conference. Speaking with and learning from other attendees allowed us to think about aspects and new angles of the research project that we might not otherwise have considered. The conference itself provides a great forum within which one present can present research among other graduate students and one-on-one with the teaching visionaries you’re citing in your own SoTL.
Much thanks to the GSTA and our GSTA mentor Patricia Brooks for pushing us to go down to Atlanta for this amazing experience, it was beautiful!
For anyone interested in finding out about upcoming STP conferences, be sure to check out the Society for the Teaching of Psychology website under Conferences (link: http://teachpsych.org/).
Wilson‐Doenges, G., & Gurung, R. A. R. (2013). Benchmarks for scholarly investigations of teaching and learning. Australian Journal of Psychology, 65(1), 63-70.