"Asking the Right Questions" (ARQ):
Engaging Mainstream Faculty in the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning

Handbook and Other Materials l Asking the Right Questions (ARQ) l Training, Consulting, & External EvaluationFAQ

Modules and Related Materials l Creating an ARQ Program at Your Institution

These materials are for use only by institutions that subscribe to The TLT Group, to participants in TLT Group workshops that feature this particular material, and to invited guests. The TLT Group is a non-profit whose existence is made possible by subscription and registration fees. if you or your institution are not yet among our subscribers, we invite you to join us, use these materials, help us continue to improve them, and, through your subscription, help us develop new materials!  If you have questions about your rights to use, adapt or share these materials, please ask us (info @ tltgroup.org).


"Scholarship of Teaching and Learning" (SoTL) is intentional, formal research by faculty in order to improve teaching and learning in their own courses and programs; and, if the inquiry is productive, in order to help their colleagues improve teaching and learning as well.


  • Many faculty have little spare time
  • Most faculty have little prior training in SoTL
  • An initial set of experiences with a high likelihood of producing useful findings,
  • A SoTL strategy that can be incrementally expanded over time.

The ARQ program provides faculty and the staff who support them with:

  • Materials for organizing brief (5-20 minute), peer-led workshops that can be held in department meetings, at brownbags, online, etc.
  • SoTL tools (e.g., surveys and feedback forms; advice on interpreting and using findings) that can be used quickly, with high probability of useful findings, and low risk of embarrassment or complete failure. (That's our intention; we need your help to tweak these materials to make sure that this is really true!)
  • Advice for the local leaders about how to develop a program that gradually does engage a significant fraction of the faculty in SoTL. (Here too we need your advice to continually improve these materials.)

Each package of ARQ materials is organized around a simple research tool and an easy-to-use plan for gathering information from students and using those findings to figure out how to improve the course:

ARQ and CATs (Classroom Assessment Techniques)

SoTL is not the only term that can be used to describe this work.  It's also an example of Classroom (or Course) Assessment Techniques (CATs), a concept developed by J. Patricia Cross and Thomas Angelo. CATs are easy-to-use techniques for gathering student feedback, usually during interaction with students, in order to improve learning. Most CATs are low threshold: easy to use, low risk, free or low cost. Here is a good, quick introduction to CATs. 'Action research' and 'formative evaluation' are also accurate ways to describe what ARQ is designed to help academic staff do.

Creating an ARQ Program at Your Institution

ARQ materials and training are free for TLT Group subscribing institutions.  (To learn about institutional subscriptions and which institutions already subscribe, click here.)

(NEW!) One way to decide whether and how to use ARQ materials is to ask faculty what they need, perhaps using a survey like this one. This particular survey is available to Network and Comprehensive Collection institutions in the Flashlight Online folder of ARQ materials.

Program Evaluation: For some initial thoughts on how to evaluate whether ARQ is having an impact on your institution, click here.

Alias for this page: http://bit.ly/ARQ-index

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To talk about our work
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contact:  Sally Gilbert

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