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Scholarly activity is an integral part of quality teaching.

Asking questions about your own teaching - what worked, what didn't, what surprised you and what you want to understand more clearly are elements of reflective practice, and the beginning of scholarly activity. This page guides you to resources, and helps you begin to consider how you will meet your scholarly activity objective for each year.

A scholarly approach to your teaching and learning is important to improve your teaching, and to address pain points that bother you as you teach. Your journey to scholarship begins with you - and your ability to reflect on your practice, and draw out the questions you would like to explore.

This page gives you some easy ways to start and provides links to supporting resources and activity.

Reflective practice

Reflective practice focuses on asking questions about:

  • your teaching
  • your students' responses to your learning activities/teaching
  • the student outcomes you see
  • new resources or technologies that you choose.

The core of reflective practice is asking: what happened?  so what? what next?

You can find help to develop your capacity to reflect productively on your teaching through a number of recordings and resources in our professional learning channel.

Choose a focus

Through reflecting and then talking with others you will identify areas of interest to read further about, observe carefully and to begin to review.

Read what others have written about the area, and talk with your colleagues about their thoughts.

Listening to others talk about what they have explored will start your planning. The focus you choose does not have to be complex - it might be as simple as 'how do students respond to the questions I ask?'

Step 1

What happened? (Descriptive)

Observe student responses in your classes, and monitor your discussion board. Pose some questions intentionally to see what happens.

Step 2

So what? (Reflective)

Reflect on your observations:

  • How did they respond?
  • What does this mean for your next class? or other classes?
  • What did you learn about your teaching? your discussion board questions?
  • Did students respond with good answers or with more questions?
  • What is a good question?
Step 3

Now what? (Implementation)

Finally, what will you do with the information you now have about your use of questions?  how will you develop your teaching from this activity? what else do you need to know?

Working through steps such as these help you achieve your scholarly activity- and lead to deeper understanding of teaching.

You may choose a different focus each teaching session, or continue building your understanding over a number of sessions.

Moving towards Scholarship in Teaching and Learning

Your scholarship objective in EDRS is a way to focus on key learning and teaching issues you wish to tackle. First, use the Kern et al. (2015) diagram to assess where your scholarship is currently and then use this template and the accompanying examples to develop a simple scholarly activity plan and, as a result, set your scholarship objective(s).

HERDSA modules

For further individual development, you may choose to enrol in the HERDSA modules.

HERDSA (Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia) has developed a series of modules to build capacity in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL).

According to HERDSA, the aim is:

"to introduce you to the nature, purpose and process of scholarship of teaching and learning, and act as a capacity building resource to assist you to develop and refine your SoTL knowledge and skills".

The five self-paced modules include:

  1. Learning to speak SoTL
  2. Conceptualising a SoTL project
  3. Designing and conducting a SoTL project
  4. Writing up SoTL findings
  5. Disseminating SoTL findings

Individual members of HERDSA are able to access these via the "My Dashboard" on the HERDSA website.

For non-members, Charles Sturt has purchased an Institutional licence which allows you to access the modules. To gain access to the modules, please email Deborah Scheele:

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