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Institutional Review Board
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Assistance with Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Projects

SoTL Projects require the same IRB approval process that any other project would require.  Thus, the other links under "Submission Assistance and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions" on the homepage apply. 

Most, but not all, SoTL Projects qualify for either exempt or expedited review (see Determining if a Project is Exempt, Expedited, or Requiring Full Board Review for assistance in making this determination).  However, because many SoTL projects utilize the instructors' own students as participants and given the inherent power differential present in the teacher-student relationship, the potential for coercion is great in this type of research, regardless of the level of review.  Students may feel pressured to participate in such projects because they are worried about the impact of not participating on their grade, wish to help out an instructor who they like, etc.

Some strategies for decreasing the potential for coercion are to (when possible):
    -have someone, unaffiliated with the class or the data analyses, collect the data so that whether or not a student participated will be unknown to the instructor.
    -make it clear to students that data will not be analyzed until after the semester is completed and grades have been submitted.
    -offer and alternative assignment for those students who do not wish to participate in the study (this is required if students receive either class credit or extra credit for their participation).

For assistance with or questions about a SoTL project, please contact the IRB Chair. 

This page was last updated by Ryan Martin, September 10, 2008