Beyond recommended readings: points of entry into SoTEL for disciplinary academics


  • Penny Wheeler Australian Catholic University



academic development, learning design, scholarship, educational technology


The recommended readings of many formal programs in higher education studies (for example, graduate certificates in teaching and learning) share a common core: Vygotsky, Rogers, Sadler, Schön, Knowles, Biggs and Tang, to mention a few. These readings are intended to ground educators in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL), although secondary sources are also helpful (Kandlbinder & Peseta, 2009, p. 24). Geertsma (2016) summarises the intention thus: by “engaging with the literature and reflectively relating it to their own practice teachers can build an expertise in teaching that complements their disciplinary expertise, which then can transform approaches to teaching” (p. 124).

What happens when these educator-students venture into a different literature, that of SoTEL (“scholarship of technology-enhanced learning”: Wickens, 2006), and are encouraged to locate readings to apply directly to their practice?

For the last seven years, educator-students in the later part of Australian Catholic University's Graduate Certificate in Higher Education (GCHE) have undertaken studies in technology-enabled learning. Their first assessment task is to find and summarise a published SoTEL case study of interest. The class shares these summaries through a Moodle database, allowing colleagues to browse and access relevant articles for their next assignment (creating a technology-enabled learning sequence for their teaching). Recently, the assignment has included an analysis of the case situation using the activity-centred analysis and design framework (Carvalho & Goodyear, 2014; Yeoman & Carvalho, 2019), so that colleagues can compare social configurations as well as tasks and technologies and settings across cases. The cumulative list of articles is shared with each new class to ensure no article is chosen twice.

This poster reviews 170 articles chosen by educator-students in the TEL subject to identify any clusters in areas of interest and understand what sources are valued by these students. A variety of visualisations depict how academics new to the field experience SoTEL. For example, although sector-leading generalist journals such as BJET and AJET are highlighted in the study materials and instructions, nearly 50% of the total articles selected were sourced from disciplinary journals (for example, the BMC [BioMed Central] Medical Education or Journal of Geography in Higher Education). More analysis is being undertaken, but it seems that institutional and wider concerns may influence selections. For example, from the semester timeline, it appears some teachers in the thick of the first pandemic year selected articles on affective elements (e.g. student perceptions and preferences: see Lai and Bower’s eight-part classification of constructs for evaluating learning technologies [2019, p. 33]). This year, with the pandemic well-entrenched, articles on teaching with simulations in health have been evident.

This assignment serves to not only introduce SoTEL, but also to connect technology with design and context for these educator-students. The area of interest identified for this assignment can become the ‘animating force’ (Fenton & Szala-Meneok, 2010, p. 12) of inquiry that an individual pursues for the rest of the GCHE.

Author Biography

Penny Wheeler, Australian Catholic University

Lecturer, Academic Development






ASCILITE Conference - Posters