Tuesday, October 21, 2014

UNC Charlotte faculty members are actively engaged in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, the disciplinary, cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary study of teaching practice and student learning.

The Division for Academic Affairs has supported Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) through a grants program since 2009. Since its inception, the program has funded 32 faculty research projects across disciplines and colleges.

The SoTL grants program has been very successful, said Garvey Pyke, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, “Twenty-four projects funded during its first three years have resulted in 24 publications and 30 presentations at external professional conferences.”

The Center for Teaching and Learning supports the University’s SoTL efforts. SoTL scholars seek to engage in a rigorous and systematic inquiry process in order to critique, improve, enhance and develop multiple perspectives that can help inform the teaching and learning process and enrich higher education in the 21st century. 

Wenwu Tang, assistant professor of geography and interim executive director of the Center for Applied Geographic Information Science, along with colleague Eric Delmelle, assistant professor in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, recently received an SoTL grant. 

According to Tang, the SOTL grant supported the development of a Locationally Aware Mobile Geographic Information System (LOAM GIS) that serves a very important role in enhancing the GIS curriculum.

The LOAM GIS, based on an open-source mobile computing platform, has been used successfully in a suite of GIS courses (Web GIS, Introduction to GIS).

“With support from LOAM GIS, students have a quicker and better understanding about fundamental concepts and methods in GIS. The in-situ learning experience that students gained have greatly facilitated GIS teaching and motivated students for GIS-based spatial problem solving,” said Tang.

Outcomes from the LOAM-GIS are of great help for seeking external grants, such as those from the National Science Foundation, as an innovative education component, he added.

Nick Senske, assistant professor of architecture, was a team member on a project funded by an SoTL grant. “Developing Online Content for Foundation Design Instruction” was part of the SoTL Showcase earlier this year.

“The digital animations we produced with our SOTL grant are already helping us teach design studio more effectively, even as we develop our research into published articles and applications for further funding,” Senske stated.

Requests for grant proposals for the 2015 Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Showcase are being accepted at the SoTL website. Proposals are due by 3 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 6.

Photo: Wenwu Tang and students working with the LOAM GIS.