We offer the SAIL Practitioner Handbook as a tool for post-secondary institutions that are exploring ways to meaningfully assess student learning outcomes through participatory, faculty-led communities of practice. Where people who “share a passion for something they know how to do and who interact regularly to learn how to do it better” (Wenger, 2015) come together to engage in dialogue about student learning.
At Thompson Rivers University, we are focused on quality enhancement with an emphasis on scholarly practice. This focus means we can centre our attention on co-creating quality assurance initiatives that have educational value for faculty members, first and foremost. This focus was ever present as we reflected upon the outcomes of SAIL and planned future iterations.
If you choose to use any of the resources in this Handbook, either adopting or adapting them to fit your particular institutional culture, we would appreciate receiving your feedback and contribution to our ongoing action research.
This Handbook is used at Thompson Rivers University as part of the Strategic Assessment of Institutional Learning initiative. SAIL has allowed us to create opportunities for interdisciplinary conversations and networks of peer support for faculty teaching courses that meet TRU’s institutional learning outcomes. We strongly believe that it is not simply student grades but rather critical, semi-structured conversations that can influence how we engage in scholarly teaching. Few studies show the impact of improvements made based on assessment findings (Banta & Blaich, 2010). SAIL responds to the call to “close the loop.”
Thank you for taking the time to look at our SAIL Practitioner Handbook.
Banta, T. W. & Blaich, C. (2010). Closing the assessment loop. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 43(1), 22-27. https://doi.org/10.1080/00091383.2011.538642
Wenger-Trayner, E. & Wenger-Trayner, B. (2015). Introduction to communities of practice: A brief overview of the concept and its uses. https://wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice/