July 16, 2009

A Robust Discipline-Based Pedagogical Journal

By: in Faculty Development, Teaching Professor Blog

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I’m sure it’s pretty clear by now that pedagogical literature is one of my main passions. I am totally convinced that reading good materials on teaching and learning helps faculty improve instructional practice at the same time it motivates the effort good teaching requires. I am equally convinced that most teachers don’t read as much of this literature as they should, although readers of this blog are probably exceptions. To advance the cause of scholarship on teaching and learning, as in to make more faculty aware of good resources, I read widely, across disciplines, around and between them. It makes my day when I discover something new, albeit with chagrin when I don’t discover it in as timely a manner as I should.

My latest discovery is a new journal that published its inaugural issue in 2007. It is a discipline-based pedagogical periodical, Advances in Engineering Education. Its mission is to disseminate “significant, proven innovations” in engineering education. If you don’t teach engineering, it’s not something I’d put high on your pedagogical reading list, although I will be highlighting several articles with broadly applicable content in upcoming issues of The Teaching Professor.

What’s exciting and interesting about this online publication is its commitment to publish articles that describe innovative educational practices. It’s not a research journal—engineering already has one of those, the Journal of Engineering Education, which in 2003 made a commitment to focus on research in engineering education. That’s fine. It has been and continues to be an especially robust pedagogical periodical. But I have long argued that increased interest in faculty doing pedagogical research as part of the scholarship of teaching movement should not rule out lessons learned through practice. There should be a place in the pedagogical literature for work that describes (with rigor) and assesses (appropriately) faculty efforts to implement new strategies and approaches in the classroom. All of us have lessons to learn from the wisdom of practice. It is encouraging to see a discipline that recognizes the need for this kind of literature and models the high standards that make this work credible scholarship and useful to faculty within the field and beyond.

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