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CIE Supported NWAFU Teachers for the 2nd Annual Conference of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Sponsored by Shanghai Jiao Tong University
From: CIE and College of Life Science      By: Li Shaojun, Wei Yahong &Xiao Liang      Date: 2017-07-12

CIE has established specific projects to finance educational and teaching researches run by CIE assigned teachers, aiming at improving their teaching competence with material and spiritual support. In addition, CIE keeps in close contact with the Center for Teaching and Learning Development of other “Project 985” universities, providing a platform for communication between teachers.

Receiving the notice of the 2nd Annual Conference of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) to be held in Shanghai Jiao Tong University on July 6th, CIE soon showed strong support by assigning three teachers (Wei Yahong, Li Shaojun and Xiao Liang) to attended the conference themed on “ Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: International Vision and Local Practice”.

SoTL has been drawing increasing attention due to its significance in teaching research and teaching development. Many world-renowned experts are invited as keynote speakers, including professor Joëlle Fanghanel (Vice President of West London University), Professor Jeffrey L. Bernstein from Eastern Michigan University and professor Dong Zhanhai from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Besides, numbers of editors of CSSCI journals in China are invited as hosts of parallel sessions. 

The opening ceremony was presided over by Vice President of Shanghai Jiao Tong University Xu Xuemin and addressed by Chairperson of the University Council Jiang Sixian. In his speech, Mr. Jiang emphasized the irreplaceable role of SoTL in higher education’s basic function fulfillment of talents cultivation. The exploration, integration and application in teaching were all identified as patterns of teaching scholarship. He called for the universities to well balance the teaching and research in constructing “double top” universities or institutes. To practice the concept of “Teaching=Research” is the fundamental guarantee for universities to realize their objectives of talent cultivation.

The conference consisted of three sessions, in which experts from China and overseas countries shared ideas of SoTL’s definitions and the development of its theories and application. In the morning session, professor Fanghanel made a report on the topic of Defining and applying the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL): Challenges and Opportunities, while Professor Bernstein’s report was The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Inquiry and Reflection, and Professor Dong Zhanhai’s report was Empirical Study of Teaching Design of Promoting College Physics’s in-depth Learning.  

The afternoon session was as excellent as the morning session. Topics covered were: Teaching Design and Exploration Oriented to Engineering Majors Competence Cultivation; Exploration of IT Applied to Classroom Teaching; Exploration of Evaluation Tactics; Learning-Outcome-Oriented Teaching Practice; and Exploration of Multiple Teaching Design. 
NWAFU teacher Xiao Liang is a winner of Teaching Competition of Shaanxi Province. He shared his feelings after the conference, “ I have been teaching sciences for nearly 20 years. I, along with most of my colleagues, hold the same belief that only doing experiments of natural sciences and publishing research papers are considered academy and will much outweigh the efforts in teaching as promotion evaluation criteria. However, the ideas I got from this conference completely changed my idea. Now, I realize and agree that teaching is sort of academic research, too.” Mr Li Shaojun showed his great interest in how to make the problems found in teaching learning research topics. He benefited much from the conference about the SoTL in terms of its history, concepts, research methods and application.

It is undeniable that the notions of “Teaching and academic research are two different realms, only the latter one is considered scholarship” has been widely accepted and practice in universities. The teaching was merely a job of passing on certain knowledge to the students. Its duo-function to promote teaching and learning and creation has long been neglected. However, to teach is not only a process of cultivating students, but of bringing teachers’ creativity, innovation and research into full play. Teachers’ knowledge accumulation, teaching methods application and presentation are all manifestations of scholarship of teaching. The truth is, to accelerate the communication and application of knowledge is an important element of scholarship, too. Therefore, the teaching in universities is a kind of scholarship.

Another NWAFU teacher Wei Yahong focused on the sessions of IT application in classroom teaching. For instance, the MOOC construction and application in Microbiology Experiment. She shared her feelings that, the integration of on-line learning and traditional teaching would be a definite trend in higher education. MOOC links well the two ways of teaching and learning and will greatly change the teaching in experiment class,which will definitely improve the students’ learning outcome. Besides, introducing the teaching mode of MOOC+Flipped Classroom into the higher education system of China allow the full play of the two teaching methods and education philosophy. Educational objectives in knowledge, competence and personality cultivation will be fulfilled at utmost.    

Center for Teaching and Learning Development of Shanghai Jiao Tong University is one of the first national demonstration centers for teachers and teaching development, aiming at promoting radical teaching philosophy and refined teaching culture, exploring laws of teaching and establishing communication platform. Last annual conference on SoTL was held by the center as a university-wide activity, which gained great popularity among fellow universities. The success soon brings the activity a national event this year. To grasp all the opportunities for improving CIE’s scholarship of teaching learning, stronger support will be given to CIE teachers.

NWAFU teachers at the annual conference
                                                                                       (Translated by: Yan Xianhui)

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