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Jennifer Robinson
ISSOTL President and 2009 ISSOTL Conference Chair

Last modified: Monday, October 19, 2009

Educators from around the world convene on IU Bloomington campus

International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning holds sixth annual conference Oct. 22-25

Oct. 19, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Six hundred college and university educators from 15 countries will converge on Indiana University Bloomington this week to share research and insights on what makes for effective teaching and learning.

The International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) will have its annual conference Oct. 22-25 (Thursday-Sunday) on the IU Bloomington campus -- the same campus where the society had its launch five years ago.


Participants look at a display during the 2008 ISSOTL conference.

Print-Quality Photo

Scholars from Canada, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Bulgaria, Turkey, Egypt and Ethiopia, as well as from hundreds of campuses throughout the U.S., will be in attendance to focus on how to enhance the understanding of student learning and guide teaching practices.

The 2009 conference, "Solid Foundations, Emerging Knowledge, and Shared Futures in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning," features workshops by leaders in the field, distinguished international plenary speakers, panel presentations, individual paper and poster presentations and roundtable discussions.

"The slate of offerings is really strong and diverse, with sessions on teaching creativity, Japanese-style lesson study, learning in the STEM disciplines, preparing graduate students to teach, instructional technologies, and many more," said IU Department of Communications and Culture faculty member Jennifer Meta Robinson, ISSOTL president and 2009 ISSOTL conference chair.

The opening keynote speaker is Voldemar Tomusk (5:30 p.m., Thursday), director for policy and evaluation of Open Society Institute's Higher Education Support Program (HESP), based in London, U.K., speaking on "Learning Together and the Politics of Knowledge: Mis- and Disconnections in Europe and Beyond."

Plenary speakers include:

  • Richard Baraniuk, the Victor E. Cameron Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering/Connexions, Rice University, "Open Access Education and the Textbook of the Future," Friday, 9-10 a.m.
  • Tai L. Peseta, lecturer, Teaching and Learning Unit and Faculty of Economics and Commerce, The University of Melbourne, Australia, "For Whom Do We Write? The Place and Practices of Writing in Developing the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning," Saturday, 9-10 a.m.
  • Craig E. Nelson, professor emeritus of biology, Indiana University, "Why SOTL? Why Now?" Sunday, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

The keynote and three plenary sessions held in Alumni Hall in the Indiana Memorial Union are open gratis to IU Bloomington faculty, staff and students who check in with their Indiana University ID at the conference registration desk in the IMU East Lounge.

"The real appeal of ISSOTL is that it networks a broad range of faculty to share their own formal discussions about what matters and what works in learning and teaching," said Robinson. "It's not about externally-derived standards or homogenous expectations and outputs like some of the worst fears about assessment. Instead, ISSOTL is about disciplinary experts engaging the real work of teaching subject matter, acknowledging that work as worthy of intellectual inquiry and investment.

"It's about formalizing what may start as a hunch about what makes a good class, and considering it in a scholarly manner that will be meaningful to others," she continued. "It's about sharing our insights and discoveries so that the horizon of what is possible in higher education moves forward -- for individual students, in individual classrooms, in departments and fields, in institutions and across nations."

International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (ISSOTL)

The International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning was founded in 2004 by a committee of 67 scholars from several countries.

It was organized to recognize and encourage scholarly work on teaching and learning in each discipline, within other scholarly societies and across educational levels; to promote cross-disciplinary conversation to create synergy and prompt new lines of inquiry; to facilitate the collaboration of scholars in different countries and the flow of new findings and applications across national boundaries; to encourage the integration of discovery, learning and public engagement; and to advocate for support, review, recognition and appropriate uses of the scholarship of teaching and learning. For more information about ISSOTL, see To learn more about the conference, visit And for questions, contact