My research interest is scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) in legal education and practical legal training. Here, I write about incorporating social media in a multi-dimensional model of SoTL,* for legal education.
SoTL is a problematic and non-exhaustively defined concept, you can read my discussion about this here. I’ve also identified at least 10 reasons why SoTL matters in #legaled. I’ve found that certain products of #legaled SoTL fly below the bibliometric radar, which denies them visibility and influence.
I think social media provides an alternative way to share #legaled scholarship, to develop visibility and influence, and to raise the status of SoTL. Trigwell et al’s multi-dimensional model of SoTL provides a way of conceptualising this:**
The multi-dimensional model is comprised of four dimensions: informed; communication; reflection; and conceptualisation of teaching. The dimensions frame qualitatively distinguishable activities, eg, the communication dimension ranges from “none”, through intra-institutional and extra-institutional communications (e.g. peer-to-peer presentations; conferences), to “authors work… for peer-reviewed journals”.
You probably already see how social media activities can engage with each of these dimensions. Social media can be a place for information exchange, a place for communication and collaboration, unhindered by temporal or spatial constraints. Social media is also a dynamic place in which to engage in reflective, and I would add reflexive, practice. The way you conceptualise teaching and learning (teacher focused? learner focused? variations?) can inform your approach to social media, or be problematised by social media.
In the context of getting workplace credit for SoTL work in #legaled, or attracting support or resources to proposed SoTL work, social media provides a way to improve your visibility and influence. Given many legal education journals are not ranked in the proprietary journal ranking databases, and many legal education articles tend to have low citation counts, it can be difficult to use conventional bibliometrics to persuade decision-makers to credit you, or provide you with supports. Some savvy use of social media and altmetrics might redress the balance (I’ve discussed one tactic here), and you can use the multi-dimensional model to help frame your pitch to the decision-makers.
That said, I think there are inherent benefits of using social media to engage with information, communication, reflection, and conceptualisation dimensions of SoTL in #legaled.
* The multi-dimensional model used here is adapted from Keith Trigwell et al, ‘Scholarship of teaching: a model’ (2000) 19(2) Higher Education Research and Development 155.
** Trigwell et al present the model in tabular or matrix format, which is useful for coding or analysing individuals’ engagement with SoTL. I’ve used a concept map to free up ways of approaching the model.