Introducing the Scholarship Of Technology Enhanced Learning (SOTEL)


The following is an updated excerpt from a paper originally presented at the Edmedia 2018 conference (Cochrane & Narayan, 2018, pp. 594-595).

While SOTL – the Scholarship Of Teaching and Learning is a relatively well-known concept in higher education, it’s extension to critically engage with technology enhanced learning is less well known or defined. The Scholarship Of Technology Enhanced Learning (SOTEL) updates Boyer’s SOTL model to incorporate a critical integration of learning technologies and teaching praxis, informed by new learning theories.

Research and practice are often seen as separate activities within higher education, however in defining the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) Boyer (1990) argued for higher education teaching and learning to be informed by research as reflective practice, reconceptualising the notion of scholarship.

The time has come to move beyond the tired old teaching versus research debate and give the familiar and honorable term scholarship a broader and more capacious meaning, one that brings legitimacy to the full scope of academic work. (Boyer, 1990, p.16) 

Boyer’s conception of research as reflective practice has been updated for the social and collaborative domains by the likes of Haigh (2010) who argues that SOTL can provide an effective frame for improving practice, Garnett and Ecclesfield (2011) who argue for a collaborative scholarship model, Greenhow and Gleason (2014) who argue for updating SOTL to include social scholarship, and Haynes (2016) who introduces SOTEL. Haynes defines SOTEL as “a new sub-branch of Boyer’s model of scholarship… which seeks to create dialogue between the findings of educational research and actual teaching in technology-enhanced learning contexts” (Haynes, 2016, p. 1).

Boyer (1990) argued for the value of research based upon reflective teaching practice, and defined four types of academic research: the scholarship of discovery (SOD) – building new knowledge through traditional research, the scholarship of integration (SOI) – interpreting the use of knowledge across disciplines, the scholarship of application (SOA) – aiding society and professions in addressing problems, and the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) – studying teaching models and practices to achieve optimal learning. Wickens (2006) added a fifth dimension of scholarship, the scholarship of technology enhanced learning (SOTEL). However, Garnett and Ecclesfield (2011) and Greenhow and Gleason (2014) argue for a more integrated and collaborative model of scholarship enabled by social media rather than Boyer’s conception of four distinct types of academic research. We agree with a more integrated approach to a model of scholarship, and argue that the age of digital publishing and mobile social media has impacted scholarship across all four types of academic research as defined by Boyer such that SOTEL should not just be added as a fifth dimension, but describe an integrated model of technology enhanced academic scholarship. In an updated social scholarship model (SOTEL):

  • Discovery becomes a participatory process providing democratised access to expertise and enhanced reputation, utilising social research networks such as: Researchgate, Mendeley,, ScoopIt, and LinkedIn.
  • Integration conceptualises knowledge as accessible and co-constructed across disciplinary boundaries, resonating with connectivism, utilising social media tools such as: Google Drive, Dropbox, Wordpress, and Evernote.
  • Application of research refocuses upon more participatory community building with a global reach, brokering active participation within international research networks utilising social media tools such as: Community Forums, Twitter, Skype and Zoom.
  • Teaching refocuses upon diverse, active, co-created learning experiences, utilising user-generated content sharing social media tools such as: Google Maps, Google Local Guides, Vimeo, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.

The concept of SOTEL underpins the formation and development of several of our activities, including:


Boyer, E. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. Princeton, NJ: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Cochrane, Thomas, & Narayan, Vickel. (2018, 25-29 June, 2018). The scholarship of technology enhanced learning: Reimagining sotl for the social network age. Paper presented at the EdMedia: World Conference on Educational Media and Technology 2018, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Garnett, Fred, & Ecclesfield, Nigel. (2011). Towards a framework for co-creating open scholarship. In D. Hawkridge, K. Ng & S. Verjans (Eds.), Proceedings of alt-c 2011 – thriving in a colder and more challenging climate: The 18th international conference of the association for learning technology (pp. 199-216). University of Leeds, UK: ALT Association for Learning Technology.

Greenhow, Christine, & Gleason, Benjamin. (2014). Social scholarship: Reconsidering scholarly practices in the age of social media. British Journal of Educational Technology, 45(3), 392-402. doi: 10.1111/bjet.12150

Haigh, Neil. (2010). The scholarship of teaching & learning: A practical introduction and critique. Ako Aotearoa, National Office, Wellington, New Zealand: Ako Aotearoa.

Haynes, Daniel. (2016). Introducing sotel. International Journal for the Scholarship of Technology Enhanced Learning, 1(1), 1-2.

Wickens, Renate. (2006). Sotel: Toward a scholarship of technology enhanced learning. Canadian Journal of University Continuing Education 32(2), 21-41.

-Thom Cochrane

Education in 2030


Whilst at the recent Blackboard Teaching and Learning Conference in Sydney, I attended the Education Leaders Forum, which included an interesting and challenging workshop on possible future scenarios for Higher Education.

This workshop was presented by Maria Spies of HolonIQ, and I am careful not to discuss anything here that is not publicly available on their website. Of course these are only possible futures, but I was impressed by the degree to which these scenarios were data and research-informed and were essentially extrapolations of recent trends.

The full report on this webpage shows each of the five scenarios with respect to sliding scales of change relating to the following aspects of influence and impact:

  1. Balance of Power (eg Government vs Market, Local vs Global, Institution vs Individual, etc)
  2. Economics of Education (eg Government Investment vs Private Spend, Elite vs Mass Access, Public Benefit vs Private Good, etc)
  3. Learning model (eg Theoretical vs Practical, On-campus vs online, Instructor-led vs Self-paced, etc)
  4. Role of Technology (eg Following vs Leading, Computational Power vs Intelligence Power, Digital Borders vs Borderless Data, etc)

The five possible scenarios have been labelled and described as follows:

  1. Education-as-Usual – in most advanced educational areas, government-funded institutions remain the most credible and trusted vehicles for gaining education, jobs and prosperity. Research and technology evolve in the traditional way, with a combination of public-private research partnerships;
  2. Regional Rising – regional partnerships and consortia develop to enhance the educational opportunities that are contextualised for local/regional expectations. Local talent hubs develop to strengthen the prosperity of regional communities and economies (personal note – I can see this being a possible future scenario in which NZ helps to bolster the prosperity of Pacific nations);
  3. Global Giants – this is probably largely self-explanatory. Current global giants would include the likes of Amazon, Google, Apple, LinkedIn, etc, but of course over the next ten years there would undoubtedly be other giants emerging, in particular from Asia. These commercial enterprises will deliver their own (probably very employability-focussed) education delivery platforms;
  4. Peer to Peer – essentially this scenarios cuts institutions out of the picture and directly connects learners with educators. This scenario probably involves the use of technologies (such as Blockchain) to record and authenticate student achievement, and implies the further develop of micro-credentials;
  5. Robo Revolution – machine learning and artificial intelligence become more influential and controlling in the learning process, with virtual tutors providing instant feedback and individualised/focussed learning pathways for learners that lead more directly to the required outcomes.

What do you think are the possible futures for higher education in ten years time? Are there other scenarios that are significantly different to these, or perhaps a mix-and-match of all of these?

One thing is absolutely for sure – change is inevitable and very rapid, and the current business model for higher education will be under threat of change in the very near future. Think back to how technology has changed over the past ten years (the first iPhone was only released 12 years ago), despite our best efforts to analyse the current trends we still may struggle to accurately predict the next ten years.

-Mark Northover

Developing a pedagogy of manaaki


For those of you who have been engaged with the people of Ako Aronui, you will be aware of our guiding iho matua philosophy which is based on manaaki, mana aki, and mana ā kī.

My own advocation of manaaki came from my tacit understanding that manaaki was how hapu where measured, it indicated the state of the wellbeing of the people and the environment, and the acts of manaaki was indicative of the management of the sacred relationships between self, people, the environment protected by ātua (divine beings), and Spirit.

A pedagogy of manaaki is in-line with Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and Teachers as Cultural Workers (Freire, 1996, 2005). For me, a pedagogy of manaaki is about caring for the people, and the environment through providing and holding space for staff and students to become consciously aware of who they are (self) their relationship with peers and staff (people) and the environment, in particular the context of Aotearoa New Zealand.

In my personal blog I shared an in-class task called Hosting and Guesting where the lecturer took the position as host and the students as guest. However, as I have been mentoring staff I have been considering more and more, how do lecturers design a learning experience where the student becomes the host. How do we advocate and exemplify a culture of care to and with our students? This phenomenon of hosting and guesting within teaching is in fact the foundational reciprocity of ako. As our team have been working with staff in developing bicultural curriculum – that weaves mātauranga and tikanga Māori into their programmes (evidence of honouring the Treaty of Waitangi and TEC’s funding Priority #3), more and more the guesting-hosting relationship becomes more apparent where pedagogy of manaaki and cultivating a culture of care is advocating the growth of caring (aroha), just (tika), and mindful (pono) good human beings. Wherein designing curriculum, I am asking myself how can I design with staff learning environments that provide students the experience to realise the values and differences of being dependent to independent to interdependent.

Currently we are at the beginning of the journey with staff and as we progress it may be possible we can share some of the journey and strategies tested, and their success and failures.

So for now, you will have to watch this space …

-Piki Diamond

Te Wiki o te reo Māori


Tēna tātou katoa nau mai, uru mai ki te Wiki o te reo Māori, salutations everyone and welcome, enter into Māori Language Week: 9 – 15 o Mahuru/September.

Kia ora is a generic form of greeting people, places or things and is sometimes used for thank you, however what does it mean?

This is a description I share for a deeper understanding of a meaning.

Kia – to have or to be

Ora – life, well being, health

So, in saying kia ora, we are wishing the recipient, to have life or to be healthy.

There are two concepts hidden within the word ora.

O – of, from

– sun or day

A reminder that every living organism needs the sun to survive and that perhaps, we are solar beings in human form.

Which other cultures call their sun Rā? (or La)

There are many resources and events to celebrate te Wiki o te reo Māori, please share with your students, whānau and communities.

Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori website

Auckland Specific Events

Auckland Libraries Events

Te Reo Resources

Kia kaha – have strength, kōrero mai te reo – speak te reo!

-Herewini Easton

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori ki AUT


He roa te wā ka whakarangatiratia Te Wiki o te Reo Māori e AUT. Ka whārikihia poho kererutia e ngā ākonga me ngā kaimahi o AUT te kaupapa Pop-Up Māori activation nei, he whakakōrero reo te take, he waka e whakanuia te reo Māori ki AUT. I tēnei tau, kua whai waewae a Pop-Up Māori activation me te tautoko i Te Taurawhiri i te reo Māori me tō rātou kaupapa ‘Hikoia te kōrero’ ki te tihi o Maungakiekie.  Hei whakakinaki i a Pop-Up Māori activation, kua riro i a AUT tētahi kaupapa atu anō, arā ko Te Waiata Off 2019. Ko tōna orokohanga mai, he hiahia nō ngā kamupene o te pū o te tāone nei i Tāmaki Makau Rau, kia whakanuia Te Wiki o te reo Māori mā te kapa haka. Hei tā Te Waiata Off, he taonga te reo me te whai wāhi ki ngā wāhi mahi, me te whakamiha ki te hunga e whakanui ana i te reo ki te kāinga, ki te taha ngaio hoki. Nō mātou o AUT te maringanui e kawe nei te mauri o te kaupapa o Te Waiata Off 2019 he kaupapa e hāngai pū ki ngā wawata mō te reo ki AUT tonu, ki tua anō i tōna hapori. Hei te 10 o Mahuru, 5pm ki WG201 tū mai ai ngā kapa e whitu karawhiu ai, arā ko Air New Zealand rātou ko BNZ, ko Panuku Developments, ko Auckland Art Gallery, ko Vodafone, ko Watercare ko Auckland Council, ki AUT ki te matawhaura o Te Waiata Off 2019. Tautī mai, nohotahi mai ki te whakanui i Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori.

For many years now, Māori language week has been a big event on the AUT calendar.  AUT staff and students have taken pride in organising Pop-Up Māori activation, which is an interactive learning space where staff and students can engage in fun activities that enhance, encourage and celebrate te reo Māori at AUT. This year Pop-Up Māori activation takes to the streets supporting Māori Language Commission campaign ‘Hikoia te kōrero’ on the summit of Maungakiekie. In addition to Pop-Up Māori activation, this year AUT is hosting Te Waiata Off 2019. Te Waiata Off is a kaupapa conceived from the desire of different companies of the CBD to celebrate Te Wiki o te reo Māori through waiata. Te Waiata Off is a kaupapa that acknowledges the importance of te reo me ōna tikanga in our work environments, and to pay homage to all those, Māori and non-Māori alike, kuia and koroua who continue to support the growth of te reo Māori in our personal and professional lives. AUT are honoured to host Te Waiata Off 2019 as a kaupapa aligned not only to the reo aspirations of AUT, but also to those of the wider community to whom we serve and belong to. On Tuesday 10 September at 5pm at WG201, 7 groups from the CBD ascend onto AUT University for Te Waiata Off 2019 – Air New Zealand, BNZ, Panuku Developments, Auckland Art Gallery, Vodafone, Watercare and Auckland Council. Come and join us, be entertained and celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Māori.

-Dr Valance Smith

Students as Partners Symposium


What a privilege it was to join a large and diverse group of staff from across the university to listen to Professor Sally Varnham talk about her work leading the Australian Students as Partners project.

The project was prioritised and funded through a government fellowship in 2015/16 and firstly investigated the current situation that existed in Australia and then responded to the question, what does effective student engagement in decision making look like? Sally led us through the project and its findings with enthusiasm and encouraged us to reflect upon the application of the insights and findings for AUT.

Her diagrams and slides stepped us through the structures and processes she and her team have developed under the theme Stepup for Quality enhancement where she outlined the seven principles used as the basis for undertaking partnership development between tertiary providers and students for quality enhancement.

These cover authenticity, communication, strong student leadership, training and support, inclusivity recognising and valuing and national support and facilitation. A wonderful feature of the symposium was the participation of our students who worked so well in the workshop sessions and were so articulate in presenting the group responses.

The focus of the workshop was largely upon decision making and governance but the students as partners international movement is now wide reaching with students in many universities formally engaged in curriculum development, evaluation and review, staff evaluation and support mechanisms, student support and internships.

For your information there is a conversation happening in New Zealand at government level, as part of the Kōrero Mātauranga – let’s talk about Education strategy, related to Tertiary Student Voice and student representation and at AUT we are embarking on an exercise to further develop our representation roles and models.

Sally Varnham’s knowledge and experience, and her expression of values and attitudes were excellent catalysts for discussion and the symposium provided a very positive platform for moving forward in ensuring representation of the student voice at AUT.

-Professor Desna Jury

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Student Experience and Success

For students and staff interested in enhancing the student voice at AUT please contact Professor Desna Jury at

Office Hours

Office Hours


I was lucky enough to attend the HERDSA (Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia) Conference 2019. At this conference I learnt a great deal which I could not possibly capture in a single blog post. However, there was one thing that hit home during the questions following Professor Peter Felten’s keynote: “Relationships matter: Moving relationship-rich experiences from the periphery to the center of undergraduate education.” That was about office hours.

A fellow delegate mentioned a study which found that a large number of students do not know what an office hour was for. Additionally, several students were under the impression that office hours were for academics only and that students should not approach academic staff during this time.

In his keynote, Professor Felten encouraged us to reflect on the research which indicates that many students “do not routinely experience educationally meaningful relationships with peers and academic staff,” and consider how we can move to ensuring that “our institutions are places of relentless welcome, deep learning, and whanaungatanga for all students.” The impact of two words, one term, on student’s access to a valuable student support structure, and a way of building meaningful relationships with academic staff, truly shocked me. 

Easy solutions were readily found – altering to the term “student hours” rather than “office hours” was suggested to place an emphasis on the student and the relationship, not the location. But this little worm had firmly embedded itself into my head. As I am part of the team that runs the Ako Aronui: Pathway to HEA Fellowship, problems with office hours weren’t a new concern. Although our participants are familiar with the purpose of the concept, we very rarely have attendees to our virtual office hour.

So, when I opened my RSS feed reader later on the next week and found the article Two Tips to Increase Students’ Use of Office Hours by Jennie M. Carr, sitting near the top of the list, I knew I had to have a read.

Despite the title, I found three useful tips in the article:

  • offering a virtual office hour, by skype, zoom or similar, for students that might not be able to come to their office physically;
  • scheduling office hours when their students can attend;
  • and using an online scheduler for booking appointments.

As a result, we have just started exploring a few booking systems, including Qualtrics and Microsoft Bookings, to see what works well with Outlook and what is embeddable within Blackboard. Switching toward an appointment-based system should encourage productivity and allow for relationships to flourish – watch this space!

If you are thinking about giving this a go with your students, consider the Blackboard Booking System (found under Course Tools).

Emily Whitehead

AUT’s Learning Management System review

AUT’s Learning Management System review


It is more than a rumour that the university is currently undertaking a review of its Learning Management System – known to all and sundry as Blackboard.

AUT has used Blackboard as its LMS since 2003, providing an online space for lecturers to post learning material for students, and to also mediate online collaboration, discussion and assessment. Blackboard has provided the digital glue that also gives access to a number of other online platforms, including e-portfolio, video capture, feedback interfaces and the management of student assessment.

It must be said that the current provision of Blackboard has been almost faultless for the past five or so years – I think I only recall one ‘outage’ in that time, since ICT upgraded some of the internal hosting systems. The problem that calls for a review is not performance but design and user experience. The current underlying Blackboard software goes back to its earliest versions, from around 1997. For anyone still in education who remembers the last millennium, mobile devices were not invented and web design and navigation were in their infancy. A survey I conducted with AUT staff in early 2017 suggested (by some) that Blackboard was clunky, out of date and difficult to navigate. As a university, we have been long overdue for another serious look into how we provide students with an exceptional digital learning experience.

So what is this LMS review expected to provide?

It is not fundamentally an evaluation of Blackboard as a product. We know that the current experience of Blackboard (Bb Learn) is past its use-by date and will not survive far into the future. There is a new, very different offering called Bb Ultra, and one option is to simply upgrade to Ultra and stick with the Blackboard platform.

However, it is a shared view at executive levels of the university that since it is basically twenty years since the first LMS evaluation, we should be totally re-thinking what we want digital learning to provide. It is also widely acknowledged that as a university we have recently under-invested in technologies for learning, and it is time to provide some focus on this area. In an attempt to answer that curly question ‘What do we want a digital learning experience to be?’, working groups have been consulting with both staff and students to gather opinions, ideas, personal preferences and ideal worlds. A decision is expected sometime around April next year (2020) as to what our preferred direction will be.

Whatever the final decision, the rollout of the new LMS will be seen as an opportunity to not only update our user interface, but to provide a once-in-twenty-years chance to refocus our engagement with online and digital learning. Whichever LMS is selected there will be a strong focus on enhancing learning and teaching designs to get the best out of digital pedagogies. Our students expect it, and as 21st Century academics we should be providing nothing less.

Watch this space.

– Mark Northover

Defining Mixed Reality (‘MR/XR’) in Education

Defining Mixed Reality (‘MR/XR’) in Education


Senior Digital Innovation Advisor, Centre for Learning and Teaching & AppLab

Digital learning technologies, i.e. technological tools capable of assisting and supporting educational processes, have proven to enhance learning outcomes across educational sectors and contexts. One key characteristic is that they are continuously changing and evolving in unpredictable ways at an increasingly rapid rate, representing an ongoing challenge to educators and practitioners. Some of the current examples of recent digital learning technologies are the ‘immersive’ technologies and platforms, including augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and 3D visualisation. Up until recently, immersive digital ‘affordances’ (learning possibilities offered by technological tools) have commonly been addressed and considered in isolation in educational practice, probably due to their novelty and progressive evolution.

In the past ten to five years or so, this approach started to shift towards integrating immersive digital affordances around a particular context and/or setting, with the aim of creating a ‘continuum’ of digital experiences based on the combination of different technologies, tools, platforms and affordances. This notion of ‘digital continuum’ was initially proposed as such during the mid 1990s by Milgram and Kishino (1994), and is what is known today as ‘mixed reality’ or ‘mixed realities’ (MR) in educational practice – at least to most mainstream practitioners. The underlying notion is that a MR digital continuum goes from the ‘real environment’ (RE) end, where no digital immersion exists, all the way to the fully digitally immersive VR end, where digital immersion is at its full (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. The mixed reality digital continuum (adapted from Milgram & Kishino, 1994).

Many scholars and practitioners regard MR as the natural evolution of the previously isolated use and application of immersive technologies, like AR and VR, in educational practice. MR as a learning mode, instead, places attention on the combination of digital tools, affordances and platforms offering integrated learning experiences. One crucial aspect of MR learning experiences in education is that they can offer a variety of learning ‘points’ to accommodate a range of users’ characteristics, expectations, cognitive frameworks and needs.

Today, state-of-the-art MR literature currently expands the digital continuum view – rooted in Milgram and Kishino (1994), to now consider MR environments including a multi-variety of dimensions, technological tools and platforms, and embodied user engagement modes, creating interconnected learning ecosystems (see for example Mann et al., 2018; and Speicher, Hall & Nebeling, 2019). This new approach is called ‘XR’, at least by some given the ongoing naming debate. Here the ‘X’ means ‘’anything’ reality’, accounting for the existing technologies and denoting the imminently yet-to-come emerging digital affordances. In this view MR/XR multi-dimensional immersive environments are approached and understood as a dynamic ‘medium’, offering targeted and flexible user experiences leading to user-centric learning processes, as depicted in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Examples of a conceptual MR/XR ecosystem medium offering multiple learning points to users. Artwork from PhD student Ali Taheri (AppLab & Te Ara Poutama), who is exploring embodied interaction design in mixed reality medium.

The relevant point here is that MR/XR as an educational approach opens the door to conceptualise technology-enhanced learning from a completely different and transformative epistemological perspective. From focusing on individual and isolated use of immersive technologies as ‘learning tools’ that can enhance and augment learning experiences and outcomes in education, to now going beyond hardware and software and consider collaborative contexts (space), situations (time), emotions, haptics, embodiment, and culture as key components of an integrated and intertwined dynamic ‘whole’.

The challenge remains in knowing how to ground such epistemological take in contextual practice; and most importantly, without leaving behind the importance of considering non-technology mediated experiences fleshly lived in the real world as a key component of MR/XR. This last does not simply means engaging with the real environment (RE) in passive ways almost by default just because it is ‘out there’, but on the contrary, as an actively facilitated authentic learning strategy where experiences in the real environment and the real world are clearly defined and complemented by the digital. This being what I call the ‘real reality’ (RR) component of MR/XR learning ecosystems.

-Dr Claudio Aguayo


Aguayo, C. (2017). AR/VR/MR & RR in learning and teaching digital projects. In Paper presented at the THETA 2017 Conference: Connecting Minds. Creating The Future, 7-10 May, Auckland, New Zealand: THETA.

Liu, D., Dede, C., Huang, R., & Richards, J. (Eds.) (2017). Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Realities in Education. Springer.

Mann, S., Furness, T., Yuan, Y., Iorio, J., & Wang, Z. (2018). All reality: Virtual, augmented, mixed (x), mediated (x, y), and multimediated reality. arXiv preprint arXiv:1804.08386.

Milgram, P., & Kishino, F. (1994). A Taxonomy of Mixed Reality Visual Displays. IEICE Transactions on Information Systems , 77(12).

Speicher, M., Hall, B., and Nebeling, M. (2019). What is Mixed Reality?. In CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Proceedings (CHI 2019), May 4–9, 2019, Glasgow, Scotland, UK. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 15 pages. 10.1145/3290605.3300767