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