Conclusion

Doug Hamilton
Professor
School of Education and Technology
Royal Roads University

This book was produced to illuminate faculty, student, and staff perspectives on and experiences with the Royal Roads University Learning and Teaching Model. Our intention was to enable this model to come alive by illustrating its application in various and diverse learning and teaching contexts.

For some of the authors, this writing represents their first opportunity to share their own reflections on their teaching practice with a broader audience. The personal benefits of the process of what the scholarship of teaching and learning literature calls “going public” are well documented. These include an increased understanding of students’ learning experiences, greater self-awareness of one’s approach to teaching, increased excitement about teaching, enhanced professionalism, and strengthened research expertise (Hamilton, 2014; McKinney, 2007; Savoury, Burnett, & Goodburn, 2007; Weimer, 2006; and Cox, Huber, & Hutchings, 2004). From our perspective, however, the greatest benefit comes from the collective opportunity to engage with other faculty across the university, collaborate in new inquiry, exchange perspectives, grow our institution-wide professional learning community, generate excitement about the work we do together, and build on new knowledge from a cross-disciplinary and a cross-institutional vantage point (Hamilton, 2014; Weimer, 2006; Huber & Hutchings, 2005; Harris & Agger-Gupta, 2014). Hamilton (2014) noted that the organizational structures and dominant dispositions of most higher educational institutions lead to a rather “closed door” purview towards both learning and teaching that is difficult to avoid and overcome. Our desire to continue opening this door via various initiatives was one of the key drivers behind the production and distribution of this current collection of case studies. Providing institutional support structures for both knowledge sharing and knowledge creation, like the aim of producing this volume, are essential if scholarly inquiry is to be viewed as an important vehicle for enhancing professional expertise and transforming cultures of learning and teaching (Hamilton, 2014; McKinney, 2007; Weimer, 2006).

Given this focus, it seems highly appropriate to be seeking ways to build, develop, and sustain a professional learning community that promotes knowledge sharing and knowledge creation among faculty and staff. Sharing case studies is one strategy that has been identified previously as an important step forward in developing a viable support structure for promoting pedagogical inquiry and scholarly work, and building relationships related to learning and teaching in higher education (Hamilton, 2014; Hamilton, Marquez, and Agger-Gupta, this volume; McKinney, 2007; Savoury, Burnett, & Goodburn, 2007). As observed by Huber and Hutchings (2005), promoting ongoing and sustained collaborative discussion across the university requires ongoing institutional support if the university desires to take advantage of the collective capacity to inquire more deeply into the learning and teaching process, and to enhance further opportunities to innovate beyond the individual classroom. Huber and Hutchings (2005, p. 5) advance this notion by arguing for the development of a “teaching commons”—a conceptual space for faculty and staff to engage in ongoing dialogue, exploration, knowledge exchange, debate, and critique that deepens pedagogical knowledge and provides a springboard for the adaption of further innovative practices.

We view the development of the RRU Learning and Teaching Model (LTM) and the respective sharing of practices via these case studies as cornerstones in the development of our own conceptual teaching commons. The collection of case studies was never intended to be static, but rather, ever evolving and expanding—just like our views about the model itself. This perspective opens the door for us to continue exploring the next iteration of our Learning and Teaching Model and to bring new faculty into the discussion. In our review of the Institutional Educational Frameworks described in chapter one, we noted that there are examples of universities that have been extremely committed to the task of continuously revisiting, revising and, even, re-generating their own institutional models of learning and teaching. Although the processes of doing so remain rather unexplored from a scholarly perspective, the efforts to integrate this kind of intention into the fabric of the institution’s pedagogical culture is both noteworthy and laudable. We look to these institutions for our own inspiration to keep our institutional model alive and evolving. As a result, there are already discussions amongst both faculty and administrators of what the next iteration of the model might look like and how we can engage our broad learning community in the model’s continuous evolution.

References

Cox, R., Huber, M. T., & Hutchings, P. (2004). Survey of CASTL scholars. Stanford, CA: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Hamilton, D. N. (2014). Building a culture of pedagogical inquiry: Institutional support strategies for developing the scholarship of teaching and learning. Advances in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 1(1), 7-31. Retrieved from http://tlc.unisim.edu.sg/research/AdvSoTL/pdf/doug_hamliltion.pdf

Harris, B., & Agger-Gupta, N. (2015). The long and winding road: Leadership and learning principles that transform. Integral Leadership Review (January-February). Retrieved from http://integralleadershipreview.com/12569-115-long-winding-road-leadership-learning-principles-transform/

Huber, M. T., & Hutchings, P. (2005). The advancement of learning: Building the teaching commons. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

McKinney, K. (2007). Enhancing learning through the scholarship of teaching and learning: The challenges and joys of juggling. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Royal Roads University. (2013). Learning and teaching model. Retrieved from http://www.royalroads.ca/about/learning-and-teaching-model

Savoury, P., Burnett, Nelson Burnett, A. & Goodburn, A. (2007). Inquiry into the college classroom: A journey toward scholarly teaching. Bolton, MA: Anker.

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Engaging Students in Life-Changing Learning by Royal Roads University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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