Scholarship of Teaching & Learning

We offer support for instructors who are interested in writing and publishing research on their classroom and teaching experiences.

To get started with Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL), we recommend the following texts, available from our lending library:

  • Enhancing Learning through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: The Challenges and Joys of Juggling by Kathleen McKinney
  • Disciplinary Styles in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Exploring Common Ground edited by Mary Huber and Sherwyn Morreale
  • Optimizing Teaching and Learning: Practicing Pedagogical Research by Reagan Gurung

Steps to Starting a SoTL Project

The Problem or Question

What is the problem (or opportunity) you wish to address? Describe what you see in students' behavior that you wish to change. For example, aspects of content (e.g. test scores), process (e.g. ability to work in groups) or climate (e.g. morale) are all possibilities. Be as specific as possible in describing what you have seen. This will help you to explain what you want to do and help you to determine what you look for to see if you have met your project objectives.

Use this resource to help articulate the problem or question you want to address.

Learning Objectives

List the learning objectives that student will be able to achieve better after you implement your study. Put them in active statements such as: "After completing this course, students will be able to..." For assistance writing learning objectives, use the instructions for writing goals and objectives and the verbs guide. You can also complete an online teaching goals inventory to decide where to focus your students' learning. See the examples of course goals and learning objectives below for more ideas.

Use the resources below to help write your course goals and learning objectives:

Learning objectives definition sheet [PDF]
Instructions for writing goals and objectives [DOCX]
Verbs guide [PDF]
Examples of course goals and learning objectives [DOCX] 


What have others done at Suffolk to address the problem that you see in your classroom? You may not have much of an answer here, but you can search the literature to see what may have been done at other institutions. See the SoTL Journal Directory for more information on where to look for SoTL literature.

Proposed Solutions 

How will you plan to solve the problem or answer the question? Describe your intervention to change/improve the behavior you described in Item 1. Are you doing anything differently than what others have attempted? Why or why not? Why do you propose that your approach will succeed better than prior attempts or will work better with your students or course?

Use this resource to describe your intervention.


How will you determine the success and effectiveness of your solution and the impact of your project? Do you plan to determine pre- and post-results? How will you know that the behavior of your students has changed/improved? You should develop a plan to evaluate your project and report on the results.

Use this resource to evaluate your project.


How will your project progress? Indicate the dates of project initiation and completion for each step of your design, implementation, and assessment.

Use this resource to plan your timeline.

IRB Proposal

Because you will be working with human subjects (i.e. your students) during this project, you'll need to apply for IRB approval to collect data on your classroom project. Please note that you must be CITI-trained to conduct an IRB project. See Instructions for CITI courses [PDF] if you need help. A great document to help you get started is What You Need to Do to Submit an IRB Protocol for the First Time [DOCX].

All IRB-related materials can be found on the ORSP Research Compliance website (see links page):

  • The Investigator’s Toolbox includes information on how to submit to IRB net and all the forms you need
  • The E-College includes information about CITI training (see links page)
  • Information about IRBnet where you will submit your IRB materials.
  • Many SoTL projects are exempt. See the Human Subjects Research Application for Exemption [DOCX], which you will need to submit as part of your IRB application.

    Contact The Office of Research & Sponsored Programs at 617-725-4169 with any IRB questions.