John P Egan's FCP E-Portfolio

SoTL Research Presentation

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On Friday 02 December I presented my SoTL project proposal “ETEC565A: an examination of the transfer of learning from an online post- graduate educational technology applications course”.

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You can view the powerpoint slides (no audio) below:

A PDF version of the slides can be found here.

My SoTL presentation: ETEC565A: an examination of the transfer of learning from an online post- graduate educational technology applications course.


In this presentation I describe my proposed SoTL project: an exploratory, mixed methods study of the experiences of students who have completed ETEC565A. Data collection would be via an online survey and key informant interviews, which can be completed anonymously. The research question is: What are the perspectives of students who have completed ETEC565A, and its  impact on their practice as educators?

Peer Feedback*

Below is a summary of the feedback my peers gave me. There are two aspects of the context in which I presented that merit mentioning:

  • At this particular session, the Beijing cohort were invited to participate
  • Mine was the last presentation and, as a result, was a bit pressed time-wise

Unsurprisingly, therefore, the most common comment was “speaks too fast”. And, to be fair, I tend to speak rather rapidly.

As well, a number cited my use of Caffarella’s definition of “transfer of learning” (2002)—how well students in professional program apply what they learn during a learning experience, particularly in the medium to long term. Several also said they’d like to follow up with me about this literature. A number of persons—both orally and on their forms—pointed out that my research question is really two questions. Most of the forms had surface comments (examples: “great job”; “thanks”) or no qualitative feedback at all. Probably because of it being the last part of the day’s agenda. Although I’ve not seen anyone else’s comments

In terms of the presentation, I’ve indicated below where my mean scores were for each indicator in bold; my mode scores are underscored:

Presentation material was interesting 1          2          3          4          5

and varied

The presentation pace and timing                   1          2          3  3.5   4          5

The presentation was engaging                     1          2          3         4 4.1     5

I learned from this presentation                      1          2          3          4          5

I will be able to use some things from

this presentation in my teaching and learning 1          2          3    3.6 4          5

My overall rating of this presentation          1       2       3       4        5

All of this feedback has proven valuable.

Upon Reflection

I’ve learned a great deal from this process. First was the value in preparing the presentation itself. I’ve not had to “present” a research proposal since my graduate studies. Since the FCP has an interdisciplinary community working across various research paradigms, I had to use robust, precise, consumable language—or least endeavoured to do so. As well, sticking to six slides compelled me to be concise and disciplined. I also benefitted from what others did before me, in terms of presentations. Seeing others present their work and respond to feedback was instructive.

As well, there were numerous benefits of giving the presentation—beyond the benefits of getting others’ feedback in general. First, as most persons in the room were, more or less, focused on the same task, they were able to bring their current (or very recent) experiences to bear when consuming my presentation. Second, what quickly emerged was a discussion about what constitutes quality teaching: isn’t that the central question of most SoTL research? Finally, their questions were often clearly informed by the literature we have all been reading as part of the program: my being able to see those connections inspired me to re-read a few key readings.

I have subsequently completed two revisions of the primary data collection tool for my proposed study: the student survey (available in it’s current format here). I hope to circulate this to a few stakeholders by the end of March. After that  I need to finalize the interview schedule, then it’s BREB time.

Overall this process of developing a SoTL project has taken much longer than I anticipated. While I still think having done graduate work in adult education has been a distinct advantage in terms of consuming and critically appraising SoTL literature and SoTL research reports, developing SoTL research competencies of my own has not evolved precisely as I envisioned it. Which is not a bad thing.


Caffarella, Rosemary S. (2002). Planning Programs for Adult Learners: A Practical; Guide for Educators, Trainers, and Staff Developers (2nd edition). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 432 pages. $37.00


*I misunderstood how we were to process the feedback received: I reviewed all the forms, captured the main data, then shredded the documents. I do apologize.

Written by John P Egan

September 19th, 2011 at 10:32 am

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