Conference Theme

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“Storytelling is the preferred sense-making currency of human relationships among internal and external stakeholders.” (Boje 1991)

Los Angeles, CA … Hollywood … Storytelling Capital.

We are “storytelling animal[s]” (Swift 1983) – stories have been with us across cultures, locations, and time. Through stories, we reflect and explore, we create and change interpretations and identities, we come to understand and know, we develop and communicate meanings, we create community and connections, we persuade and lead to action, we sense and we are … as individuals, as teachers and learners, and as a community of scholars.  

During the 2016 ISSOTL conference, we will explore how the stories we are constructing and telling define and support us, individually and as a community, and what forms of storytelling can sustain and enhance our work. We will consider stories of teaching and learning and stories of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). What are the stories we tell about and with SoTL? The stories told about and with its methods, its impact on teaching and learning at our institutions and beyond, and its collaborative structures? What are the various plots, settings, themes, characters, conflicts, and metaphors? How does SoTL storytelling affect the stories we tell about our professional lives – as educators, as researchers or scholars, as human beings?  Who is telling these stories, and to whom – and who is listening? How can we craft SoTL stories to pursue larger goals? What are effective storytelling tools? How do we and our students use stories in our teaching and learning and how do we assess their effectiveness?

To tell and explore such stories, we invite contributions on

  • scholarly work on teaching and learning, 
  • strategies and structures that facilitate, support, and promote scholarly engagement with teaching and learning, 
  • collaborations across disciplines, institutions, or countries that explore scholarly approaches to teaching and learning, and 
  • the nature, purpose, history, development, recognition, and use of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

that address the conference theme and one or more of the topics/tracks below.

The Call for Proposals can be found under Submissions.

Track 1: Effective Teaching

Under this topic we will explore what we know about effective teaching and learning in our courses - what stories are we telling and hearing about effective teaching? How are we investigating and creating such stories in our own teaching? How are we using what kind of stories in teaching? How do we assess their effectiveness? Among others, we will also consider how our understanding of effective teaching is influenced by disciplinary perspectives and determined by specific course content and instructor background; how do we determine and who determines what effective teaching is; and how have our notions of effective teaching and learning changed; how do they depend on cultural and educational context.

Track 2: Student Learning

Our understanding of learning has changed significantly over the last decades - what stories are we telling and hearing about student learning? How are we investigating and creating such stories about student learning based on our own teaching? How do stories and storytelling affect learning? How do we asses their effectiveness? Here, we will also explore questions such as how we can disseminate such knowledge and apply it to our teaching. What are promising strategies? How can they be deployed in different fields? How do and can we learn about developments in learning theories and how are they translated into teaching strategies? What aspects are relevant for our students and our classes? What incentives can be provided for instructors to consider and integrate new approaches? 

Track 3: Public Discourse about Teaching and Learning

This topic allows us to ask how we, as key actors in the educational landscape can shape the topics and narratives that are being discussed in the public based on our individual experiences and scholarly work. How can we as individual instructors and faculty developers with different experiences and backgrounds meaningfully combine forces to have our voices heard? How can our scholarly work influence the educational decision making at all relevant levels? What are the levels of public discourse where we can meaningfully and effectively tell stories and provide input? Which stories are we telling in our SoTL communities, and which can and should we be telling publicly?

Track 4: Narrative of Course Design

In this track, we will explore the narratives of our courses and their impact on our teaching and student learning. How are we investigating and creating stories about course design within the context of our own teaching? Do we share such stories with our colleagues and what effect does that have on our teaching, course, and curricular development? We will examine how thinking of our courses in terms of stories helps us design and assess our courses. Among others, we will consider the stories we tell about content and structure, the plot of our course from start to end, the genre in which we teach, the way we create suspense and engagement. We also invite inquiries into the stories we tell ourselves as instructors about our teaching and their effect on our teaching style and development as instructors.

Track 5: Learning to Tell Stories 

Here, we will investigate approaches to and outcomes of teaching students to communicate what they have learnt in and beyond the classroom, both as a pedagogical tool and as a means of public engagement. How can we systematically assess and share such pedagogical strategies? Under this topic, we can address questions such as how does learning to tell stories about the course content influence how we are teaching and how (much) students are learning? Considering "real-world" audiences, how does that influence students' perception of the topic and their self-image as scholars and citizens?

Track 6: Student Stories 

This topic allows us to examine what stories our students bring to class and how we can incorporate such stories into our teaching and into student learning. What can student stories teach us about the course subject matter and learning in class? How and what can students learn from each other's stories? Under what circumstances are student stories effective teaching tools? How do we know? What are successful ways to share student stories in and beyond our classes? How can we investigate and assess the role of student stories in our classes? What do we know about their importance?

Track 7: International Stories 

What are common stories that we tell and that emerge about our teaching across cultures, educational systems, and countries? How can we compare and share our stories? How can we merge our stories and influence scholarly work in different locations? What can we learn from each other's stories? Do stories play the same role in different locations? Can stories help us understand each other's pedagogical approaches and challenges, role as instructor, and identity as scholar?

We particularly welcome contributions that frame their contributions and use the perspective of storytelling, stories, and related concepts.


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