SoTL and Students’ Experiences of their Degree-Level Programs: An Empirical Investigation


In the global higher education sector, government accountability initiatives are increasingly focused on degree-level competencies that may be expected from university graduates. The purpose of this paper was to examine the extent to which SoTL reflects this increased interest in student learning across the degree program. Articles (N=136) published in three international SoTL journals, over the past three years, were systematically reviewed using a framework that concentrated on the extent to which they reflected a focus of (a) teaching-emphasis versus learning-emphasis and (b) unit-level (subject, course) versus degree-/program-level. Our analysis indicated that the majority of SoTL publications (47%) were focused at the level of a single unit with an emphasis on teaching practice; in contrast, only a small minority of SoTL publications (9%) were focused at the level of the overall degree with an emphasis on learning processes. Drawing on our review, we highlight SoTL publications that exemplify the inquiry into student learning at the level of the degree program and offer questions to guide future SoTL inquiries.