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We have launched our new SoTL Development Program!

Year One

This first year is an introduction to Scholarship of Teaching and Learning – set up as a faculty learning community, meeting monthly. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to develop a research question and proposal to apply into the second year with the support of a spring three-day intensive. Participation in the first year is required to apply into the second.

The group will meet once a month and will consider: 

  • What is Scholarship of Teaching and Learning?
  • What are characteristics and methodologies utilized?
  • What are the particular ethical dimensions of SoTL to consider?

Participants will have the opportunity to begin developing their own SoTL question, and delve into the related literature, in consultation with the facilitators. At the end of 2018-19, participants will be invited to apply to the second year of the program, which will support scholars in conducting a full inquiry.

Successful applicants will receive:

  • Monthly readings and discussion in a learning community format
  • One-on-one meetings twice during the year with facilitators
  • The opportunity to apply for Year Two – “Launching”
  • An optional weekend retreat to develop a research question in preparation for the Year Two application
  • Complimentary registration for the Banff SoTL Symposium

Maximum 12 Participants.

Year Two

Successful applicants will work with facilitators and with a cohort to refine and implement a SoTL research study through all phases, based on the research question developed in Year One. MRU SoTL Fellows will be supported with a research stipend and participate in two 3-day intensives as well as monthly meetings.

Year Three
LANDING – SoTL Mentors

SoTL Fellows will be invited to work with program facilitators to mentor Year One and Two cohorts.

Please contact Michelle Yeo (myeo@mtroyal.ca) with any questions.

Nexen Scholars Program 

The Nexen Scholars Program, brought together faculty from a range of academic disciplines committed to investigating and documenting significant issues and challenges in teaching and learning in higher education.  The centrall work of  Nexen Scholars was to develop course-based inquiry projects, conduct research that shed new light on a significant aspect of student learning, share evidence and findings publicly in an effort to influence practice in the field, and to help build a culture of teaching and learning scholarship at Mount Royal University.

Nexen Scholars were selected for a 16 month term, participated in an off-site residency ion February, and engaged in monthly collaborative activities during the time that they developed and conducted their inquiries.  The Nexen donation also supported Going Public Awards for scholars to present their work at conferences, as well as annual data analysis (May) and writing residencies (August) to assist scholars in furthering their work and preparing an article for publication.

A New SoTL Development Program will be announced shortly.  Please Watch for the announcement and call for applications coming in May 2018.

Publications Related to the Nexen Scholars Program

Miller-Young, J., & Yeo, M. Conceptualizing and communicating SoTL: A framework for the field. Teaching and Learning Inquiry, the ISSoTL Journal, 3(2), 37-53.

Miller-Young, J., Yeo, M., Manarin, K., Carey, M., & Zimmer, J. (in press). SoTL2: Inquiring into the impact of inquiry. New Directions for Teaching and Learning.

The program has also been featured in:

Hutchings, P., Huber, M. T., & Ciccone, A. (2011). The scholarship of teaching and learning reconsidered: Institutional integration and impact (Vol. 21). John Wiley & Sons.

Gurung, R. A., & Wilson, J. H. (2013). Doing the scholarship of teaching and learning: Measuring systematic changes to teaching and improvements in learning. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. Nexen Scholars and Their Projects

The following scholars and projects have been funded through the Nexen Scholars Program. For updates on the progress and impact of these projects, see the Nexen Scholars section of the I-SoTL blog.

2016 Projects

REAL (Real Experience And Learning) Labs: Designing Authentic Learning Experiences in Biochemistry, John Chik, Chemistry and Physics

What is the Impact of Web-Based Pre-Laboratory Preparation Modules on Learning in the Microbiology Laboratory?, Ana Colina, Biology

Screening Identities: Exploring How Film Studies Students Use Canadian Identities at/on the Border of Race, Nation and History, Lee Easton, English

How Students Experience Learning in Simulation from Both Active Participant and Observer Roles, Heather MacLean, Nursing and Midwifery

Studying Undergraduate Research in a Course on Language Acquisition, Teresa Merrells, Humanities

Using an Online Discussion Platform to Engage Students in General Education Courses about Communities and Societies, Semiyu Aderbigbe and Rita Yembilah, General Education

In 2016 we were also joined by scholars from MacEwan University (funded by MacEwan University):

Enhancing Motivation and Engagement in Economics Courses, Rafat Aalam and Shahidul Islam, Economics

Student Engagement with Feedback, Mark Arnison, Business

Problem Solving Strategies Used in Immersive Virtual Reality Learning Environments, Jeffrey Davis, Engineering

Effects of Computer vs. Handwritten Exams, Nancy McKeown, Environmental Earth Science

Preparing Students to Practice in an Imperfect World, Cheryl Webster Pollard, Nursing

2015 Projects

Exploring Arts-Based Approaches to Developing Leadership in Senior Nursing Students, Joanna Szabo, Nursing

Developing Student Noticing with the Use of Recorded Speech Samples in the ESL Classroom, Sheri Rhodes, International Education

2014 Projects

2013 Projects

2012 Projects
2012 Nexen Scholar Sally Haney designed a fourth-year journalism course where students worked as the editorial board of an online publication. Each student had a different role on the board and thus was required to develop a “student-authored learning plan” where they determined very specific goals and objectives based on their editorial role, their interests, what they wanted to learn in the course. It was also students’ responsibility to bring forward their own evidence of how they were meeting those goals. Students appreciated having say in developing their own objectives, being able to set goals and be accountable for their own learning, and also being in continual conversation with their instructor to assess their progress. 

Said Haney, “Personalized learning plans made visible, both to students and to me, a lot of the learning that was happening that I otherwise never would have seen...”

Sally Haney is now collaborating with three other Nexen Scholars to study MRU journalism students’ development of professional identity across all 4 years of their program.
Librarian Margy MacMillan’s project in the 2012 Nexen Scholars Program investigated how students read and connected to scholarly articles. In a class on reading articles within a research methods class, she collected the connections students noted while reading a part of an article. Using a phenomenographic approach, she saw that the connections illuminated how students were reading at different parts of the text – at times connecting only with the words and at times with the deeper meaning. The work suggested several ways that instructors can support students to read more deeply and integrate knowledge from readings more successfully.

You can read more about Margy’s findings here:
MacMillan, M. (2014). Student connections with academic texts: A phenomenographic study of reading. Teaching in Higher Education, 19(8), 943-954.

and an overview here:
Rhem, J. (2014), How Are They Reading? Could We Show Them a Better Way?. Ntl Teaching & Learning Forum, 24: 6–8. doi: 10.1002/ntlf.30011

Retrieved from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10...
2012 Nexen Scholar April McGrath knew that even though many of her students struggled with statistics, they did not come to her for help — so she decided to explore the effects of mandatory office hours on student performance. In this video, Dr. McGrath describes the teaching intervention focused on office hour attendance and how students in her introductory statistics course performed better when they completed a structured meeting with her followed by a learning reflection. This study provides supporting evidence for the influential role that student-instructor meetings can have on student learning.

Said McGrath, “I have a much better understanding of my students now. I know what concepts they struggle with, and how their attitude is affecting their study habits. And I can help them
work through those challenges.”

Her findings are published here:

McGrath, A. (2014) Just Checking In: The Effect of an Office Hour Meeting and Learning Reflection in an Introductory Statistics Course. Teaching of Psychology, 41(1), 83-87.

McGrath, April L. (2014). Content, Affective, and Behavioral Challenges to Learning: Students’ Experiences Learning Statistics. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 8(2).

Learning in the Liminal: Being, Becoming, Transitioning, Transforming, Bev Mathison, Child and Youth Studies

Making Sense of the Research Literacy Learning Experience: A Study of Journalism Students’ Connection to Practice in COMM 3737: Research Design and Methodology, Amanda Williams, Communication Studies

2011 Projects

Finch, D., Peacock, M., Lazdowski, D., & Hwang, M. (2015). Managing Emotions: A case study exploring the relationship between experiential learning, emotions, and student performance. The International Journal of Management Education, 13(1), 23-36.
Stephanie Zettel, a 2011 Nexen Scholar, was interested in how beginning nursing students in their first clinical practicum bridged the gap from theory to practice in learning to become professional registered nurses. In her study, students’ learning was assessed through various different means, one of which was guided by narrative feedback from the instructor, situated in the context of their clinical experience and directed toward specific course outcomes they must meet in order to progress in the program. Classroom assignments and evaluation interviews were other assessment strategies.

Exploring What Learning Strategies Students Identify as Supportive to Their Understanding, Joanne Bouma, School of Nursing

Doing the Right Thing? Encouraging Students' Critical Awareness of Race and Nation in an Introductory Film Studies Class, Kelly Hewson, English

Team-Based Learning in Financial Accounting: is it More Effective Than an Individual Approach? Valerie Kinnear, Accounting, Bissett School of Business

Understanding Why and How Students Apply Learning Strategies, Catharine Lindland, Student Learning Services

Developing Academic Writers in General Education, Glen Ryland, General Education

A Study in Studio Pedagogy, as it Relates to Voice Training for Classical Singers at the Undergraduate Level, Reid Spencer, Music Performance

2010 Projects

Dr. Nickel, 2010 Nexen Scholar at Mount Royal University, describes her Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) study, which aimed to discern the impact of formative assessment upon teacher candidates’ ability to write deep journal reflections. Teacher candidates in a first year education course were required to keep a reflective journal about their field experience observations. They also responded to prompts from their professor and a peer. While these prompts helped some to write more thoughtfully, the end of semester synthesis was an especially powerful tool for generating deep reflection. Jodi also talks about the value of “wondering” – wondering about one’s students’ learning and what could be done differently to improve student learning.

Her findings are published here:
Nickel, J. (2013). Formative Assessment and Syntheses in Reflection Journals. Transformative Dialogues: Teaching and Learning Journal, 6(3), 1-16.

Factors Impacting on EAL Nursing Students’ Journey to Becoming a Nurse, Liza Choi, School of Nursing

How Term Projects Help Students to Connect Theory with Practice, Israel Dunmade, Environmental Science

What Are the Barriers to Understanding Financial Concepts for First-Year Students in the Foundational Communication Course in the Public Relations Degree?, Jane Stoneman McNichol, Public Relations

What is it About the Clinical Practice Course Experiences That Generate Student Involvement in Patient Advocacy?, M. Helena Myllykoski, Nursing

Coffee House Questions, Heather Nelson, Humanities and General Education

Exploration of Students’ Experience of Learning the Disciplinary Thinking in a First Year Physics Course, M. Qasim Syed, Mathematics, Physics & Engineering

Transitioning to Practice: Exploring the Development of 4th Year Nursing Students Into Professionals, Joanna Szabo Hart, Nursing

Student Evidence of Change in Themselves as Learners When They Take a Course That is Intended to Enhance Their Learning Effectiveness, Lee Wertzler, Psychology

Learning to Communicate and Communicating to Learn in Teams: Student Perceptions of Teams in a Business Communication Course, Andrea Williams, Business Communication, Bissett School of Business

2009 Projects

Dr. Miriam Carey participated in the 2009 Nexen Scholars Program. She wanted to know how instructors could help students understand the connections between their studies and the world around them.

“Students tend to treat their courses as though they’re separate from each other and don’t apply to anything else. I want to show them how what they’re learning in one class can be applied to other classes, the workforce and their own lives.”

Miriam used non-traditional teaching methods, such as journaling, small group work and reflective papers to inspire integrative learning, analyzing the students’ journals to determine the efficacy of her methods. While her study confirmed her assumption that these non-traditional methods inspire deeper learning, she was surprised by the strength and self-awareness students displayed in their writing.

“One student described themselves as a sleeping giant, whose excitement for learning was re-awakened in this course. The suggestion is that more explicit cultivation of integration may help other sleeping giants — both students and faculty — to awaken.”

In this video, Miriam also talks about engaging in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) as an opportunity for change, and advises colleagues that once you engage in a SoTL research project, “your teaching will be changed”. 

Miriam published her study in the International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning:
Carey, M. (2012). "In the valley of the giants: cultivating intentionality and integration." International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning,6(1), 7.
Karen Manarin, PhD, created a 2009 Nexen project examining how students read in a required first-year writing class. In particular, she was interested in learning more about the reading strategies students choose when they encounter different types of texts. She discovered that students rely on the same repertoire of strategies regardless of efficacy. She also discovered that having students write about the strategies they chose seemed to encourage students to experiment with different reading strategies. An article describing this research was published in Pedagogy and reviewed in Faculty Focus and the Teaching Professor. 

This project changed Dr. Manarin's approach to teaching different courses. It also led to several other SoTL projects, including a collaborative book on critical reading in higher education.

“Becoming involved in the scholarship of teaching and learning has dramatically changed my teaching practice and my scholarship."

Her findings are published here:

Manarin, K. (2012). Reading value: Student choice in reading strategies. Pedagogy, 12(2), 281-297.

And reviewed here:

Weimer, M. (2012, July 25). An Exemplar of Pedagogical Scholarship Takes on Student Reading. [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/...

Weimer, M. (2012). Students and reading: an impressive analysis. Teaching Professor, 26(7), 4. Retrieved from http://www.magnapubs.com/newsletter/t...


How Students Learn to Use a Stereonet, Katherine Boggs, Earth Sciences

Learning Disciplinary Ways of Thinking and Practicing in Two Introductory Journalism Courses: Evidence From Online Discussion, Ron MacDonald, Communication Studies

Impact of an On-Line-Web-Based Financial Accounting Learning Tool on Student Success, Rik Smistad, Bissett School of Busines