The ISSOTL annual conference presents 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 in 2016. 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.
To prevent this from being perpetuated in this instance, seven colleagues from three different countries embarked on a design-based research project that would enable them to maintain the relationships and fruitful discussions they had initiated at ISSOTL16. They established a Small, Significant Online Network Group (SSONG), inspired by a conference workshop (Poole, Verwoord, & Iqbal, 2016) and the work of Roxå and Mårtensson (2009, 2012) on small significant networks. The group met regularly online using Adobe Connect© as a synchronous platform, and engaged in significant conversations around SoTL that were private, trustful, and intellectually intriguing.
This paper will discuss how the SSONG was formed and its alignment with the notion of small, significant networks, as well as the benefits and challenges experienced by its members. Four key principles of the SSONG that have emerged through reflection will also be discussed in detail, enabling readers to consider how they could adapt the concept of SSONG for their own purposes.