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2013-2014 Jeffrey Phillips

Jeffrey Phillips, Physics

Name, Location, and Date of the Event
International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (ISSOTL) Conference, October 2- 5, 2013 in Raleigh, NC

Nature/Type of the Event
ISSOTL is a multidisciplinary, international community of scholars that convenes to share evidence-based insights and theoretical frameworks that enhance our understanding of student learning and ultimately guide teaching practices throughout post-secondary education.

Relevance of the Event for Applicant's Teaching and LMU Community, the Applicant's Involvement in the Event, and Expected Learning or Outcome
For several years, I have been collaborating with other faculty across campus on a project that aims to improve students’ problem-solving skills as well as finding ways to measure those skills in a STEM context. We are currently supported by an NSF award and are eager to share our results and methodology with other faculty. Along with Kathy Clemmer and Jeremy McCallum I am scheduled to present a poster of our results as well as a lead a 90-minute workshop on the instructional and research methodology of our project. We are optimistic that the interdisciplinary nature of our project will be well-received at a professional society such as ISSOTL. Receiving feedback from a wide range of faculty will also help us improve our project, and therefor aid our students. Along with disseminating our results, attending a multi-disciplinary conference such as this one can give us new ideas on teaching and assessment.

Travel Report
ISSOTL is a multidisciplinary, international community of scholars that convenes to share evidence-based insights and theoretical frameworks that enhance our understanding of student learning and ultimately guide teaching practices throughout post-secondary education. This particular conference brought approximately 600 faculty from across the disciplines and the world to Raleigh, North Carolina to share their teaching experiences and research.

Some of the conference’s strengths and weaknesses stem from the fact that it does attract such a diverse group. In principle, this diversity increases the chance to learn ideas that may be well-known in other disciplines, but unknown in one’s own, and certainly some of that did happen in the informal discussions at meals and receptions. Most of those discussions were superficial since most faculty are inevitably from a discipline other than your own. (This was especially true for me as the STEM disciplines seemed to be underrepresented at ISSOTL.) Also, many of the people attending seemed to be new to SoTL, or at least ISSOTL, which meant that their interests lie more with teaching methodology than research.

Along with Kathy Clemmer, Jeremy McCallum and Thomas Zachariah, I presented a poster and led a 90-minute workshop related to our current NSF-funded project (Problem-solving Examples with Narration for Students). The abstracts for both can be found in the online conference program and our electronic materials can be downloaded from the PENS project website. We had a reasonable number of faculty attend the workshop and visit our poster (essentially the STEM faculty in attendance). The positive aspect to the smaller numbers was that we were able to make connections that could lead to future collaborations.

The ISSOTL conferences are a great place for a multidisciplinary team to go when they want to engage more in SoTL as each team member can find what interests him or her. However, if an individual faculty member has a disciplinary-specific SoTL (or Discipline-Based Education Research, DBER) conference in his or her field, it would probably be a better venue for furthering his/her interests.

Poster and Workshop