Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Green, C; Eady, M; McCarthy, M; McKeon, J; Akenson, A; Supple, B; Cronin, J.
International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL)
Beyond the Conference: Singing Our SSONG
Calgary, Canada
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields
The ISSOTL 2016 conference, “Telling the Story of Teaching and Learning", presented an exciting opportunity to meet with international colleagues from diverse backgrounds and situations to commune on our common interest with the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). As with every ISSOTL conference, the enthusiasm for teaching and learning was palpable. Rich discussions took place, networks were formed, and promises to keep in touch were made. Unfortunately, previous conference experiences have taught us that these good intentions would be difficult to uphold once the perfect milieu of the ‘conference bubble’ was broken and the reality of ‘real life’ set in once more. Eight colleagues from across a number of continents therefore committed to creating a SSONG - a Small Significant Online Network Group. This was inspired by a conference workshop with Gary Poole, Roselynn Verwoord and Isabeau Iqbal and builds on the notion of ‘small significant networks’ described by Verwoord and Poole (2016) and Roxå and Mårtensson (2009, 2012). We were interested in maintaining the relationships that had been built in Los Angeles in terms of tracking and investigating our development as agents of SoTL. Our self-study was framed by the following research question: How can a small significant online network group (SSONG) advance SoTL? We utilised reflective journaling as a way for each of us to document our experiences related to the ISSOTL conference and SoTL in general. To maintain momentum, we also connected every six weeks via video conference using Adobe Connect© to share those reflections with each other and consider how we could be implementing SoTL in our own contexts. This developed into what we affectionately called our orchestra, singing together our SSONG! Engaging in this venture has raised questions for us related to the complicated nature of connecting internationally in this way, including issues related to diverse time zones, competing work schedules, and technological difficulties. Nevertheless, we have committed to each other, spurring one another on to ‘reach new heights’ in our exploration and implementation of SoTL. As our journey unfolds, we are seeing the emergence of the power of our SSONG in creating a small significant network of scholars who share similar interests in SoTL. We have continued to build on the in-person relationships that we had created at ISSOTL 2016, and the SSONG is empowering us to confidently share and contribute to our discussions about SoTL. Our initial findings suggest that combining technological tools with the human side of teaching and learning is enhancing our exploration and implementation of SoTL through our global connections. This reflective self-study looks at the process involved, challenges faced, and benefits that have arisen from creating our own international choir, singing SSONGs about SoTL. It highlights the perspectives of each member to reveal what the SSONG means to them. This study will suit the “Adventures and Insights in SoTL” thread of the ISSOTL 2017 conference, “Reaching New Heights".