Toolkit CPC

Collegial Teaching and Learning  Course in STEM Education

Background and objective

A key activity in bioCEED’s work to build and sustain a collegial teaching culture is our collegial project course Collegial Teaching and Learning – in STEM Education, mostly called just The Collegial Project Course. It is an elective teaching and learning course in higher education with a main focus on building and developing a collegial SoTL culture (120h over 6 months, 5 ECTS.

This course builds on a similar course developed at LTH, Lund University (Andersson & Roxå 2014), and adapted to the bioCEED setting (Andersson & Raaheim 2017). It is based on a socio-cultural perspective on teaching and learning in higher education and recognizes that the identity of academic teachers and their social positioning is built during the daily interactions among colleagues (Roxå et al. 2008; Trowler 2008). It is crucial that teachers not see teaching as private, however, going public with teaching is an action with potential social implications in the relation to your colleagues. Habitual collegial relations, unvoiced practices and assumptions about students and teaching could be hurdles for individual teachers to engage and move towards a more collegial teaching practice.

Course design

The course is group based (4-5 persons/group) with groups that share a common identity or interest (i.e. within same research group or study administration, or teaching large courses, etc). This allows a focus on reading, discussing, documenting, and reflecting about themes related to teaching and learning within the group member’s immediate practices. The course activities allow for collegial peer review and collegial reading of educational literature. These activities provide a common educational language, making collegial reflections on everyday experiences possible. Documentation and knowledge dissemination are essential to increase and ease adoption of new teaching strategies and practices. In line with this, the key component of the course is a group SoTL-project where the final project product can be a project report, a paper intended for publication in a teaching and learning journal, or a submission to a teaching and learning conference. The artefact should be aimed at the local (departmental or institutional) level. The model with collegial groups engaging in meaningful projects in their working context address the importance of the local level for developing the collegial teaching culture (Roxå et al. 2008).

Conference publications from the course

Many of the course projects (as is or further developed) have also been presented at conferences (list not complete):

MNT2017 (Oslo):

  • Collegial evaluation of writing as a learning activity in a bachelor programme (Heidi Lie Andersen, Øyvind Fiksen, Lawrence Kirkendall, Sigurd Stefansson)
  • Utnytter vi potensialet for læring og personlig utvikling i feltundervisning? (Pernille Bronken Eidesen, Anna Vader, Janne Søreide)
  • Numerical competence and quantitative skills in biology education (Sigrunn Eliassen, Jeppe Kolding, Jenny Smedmark, Vigdis Vandvik)
  • Sense and sensibility in workload calculation (Jonathan Soulé, Oddfrid Førland, Tina Dahl)

EuroSoTL2017 (Lund):

  • Testing the impact of active learning in first year undergraduate natural science courses (Anne Bjune, Bjørn Grung, Bodil Holst, Lisbeth Olsen)
  • Active learning and course alignment in thematically complex courses (Chris Borstad, Mads Forchhammer, Tove Gabrielsen)
  • Are learning outcomes affected by course intensity and workload? (Børge Damsgård, Elise Strømseng, Øystein Varpe)
  • Exams as learning arena: A criterion-based system for justified marking, student feedback, and enhanced constructive alignment (Christian Jørgensen, Anders Goksøyr, Kari Loe Hjelle, Henriette Linge)
  • How Technologies Motivate and Enhance Student Learning (Henk Keers, Anne Gro Salvanes, John-Arvid Grytnes, Rune Waagbø)

MNT2019 (Tromsø):

  • Use of Active Learning Methods and Technologies – Obstacles, Incentives, and Bottlenecks (Katja Enberg, Ståle Ellingsen, Ida Helene Steen)
  • Learning by doing and reflection: the redesign of an alpine ecology field course (Ragnhild Gya, Siri V Haugum, Franscesca Jaroszynska, Jorun Nylehn)
  • Entry and Exit Surveys As a Tool for Aligning Learning Goals (Alexander Eiler, Tom Andresen, Stein Fredriksen, Kyrre Grøtan, Karoline Saubrekka, Josefin Titelman)
  • Learning Outcomes at Master Level in Biology. Current Expectations and Guidelines for the Future (Selina Våge, Aina-Cathrine Øvergård, Mariann Eilertsen, Florian Berg, Jorun Nylehn)

MNT2021 (Online via UiA):

  • Er vi bedre på læringsaktiviteter enn læringsutbyttebeskrivelser? (Stine Beate Balevik, Birthe Gjerdevik, Kristin Holtermann, Beate Ulrikke Rensvik, Tone Stokka)
  • Improving learning outcomes from the undergraduate chemistry laboratory (John Georg Seland, Inger Johanne Fjellanger, Kristine Spildo)

Publications and conference presentations about the course

  • Førland, O., Andersson, R., Conferences as a learning arena in a pedagogical course, in Proceedings of the MNT2021 Conference, Online via UiA, March 2021.
  • Andersson, R., Førland, O., Thrown in at the deep end - using SoTL conferences to train teachers in SoTL, in Proceedings of the 16th International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSoTL) Conference, Atlanta, October 2019.
  • Andersson, R., The Collegial Project Course: a systematic way towards institutional change, in Proceeding of the 12th Conference of the International Consortium for Educational Development (ICED), Atlanta, June 2018.
  • Andersson, R., and Raaheim, A., The Collegial Project Course: building a collegial scholarly culture scholarly, in Proceedings of the 14th International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSoTL) Conference, Calgary, October 2017.
  • Andersson, R., and Roxå, T., The Collegial Project Course: a strategy for supporting SoTL through a socio cultural perspective, in Proceedings of the 11th International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSoTL) Conference, Quebec, October 2014.


  • Roy Andersson
  • Oddfrid Førland