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Threshold Concepts

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Threshold Concepts

  1. 1. http://www.freephotogaleries.com/picture/Metal_and_glass_structure/category/7-textures Photo: Andrei Ceru. CC 3.0 Threshold Concepts:A discipline-based approach to learning and design
  2. 2. http://www.freephotogaleries.com/picture/Sqares/category/7-textures Introduction Photo: Andrei Ceru. CC 3.0imsackground/context to threshold conceptsresearchharacteristics of threshold conceptshreshold concepts in the field• What concepts arise in different disciplines?
  3. 3. Session aims Overall aim: The aim of thisworkshop is to help participants …earn about ‘threshold concepts’ http://www.flickr.com/photos/steveberardi/3105721570/and ‘troublesome knowledge’onsider what threshold conceptsmight exist in their disciplinesesign a learning activity around a Photo: Steve Berardi. CC BY-SAthreshold concept in their field
  4. 4. Background to threshold concept research trongly discipline-focused: Initially engineering, history, biology, economics rose from ETL (Enhancing Teaching-Learning Environments in Undergraduate Courses) project • ESRC-funded threshold concepts’ emerged in all the subjects being studied nitial research involved academics and students from a number of UK universities
  5. 5. Activity 1: recalling a difficult learningexperienceThink back to your time as a learner in yoursubject.Try to remember a key concept or theory thatyou struggled with. Photo: Don NelsonPlease make some notes about theconcept/theory and the experience of learningit.
  6. 6. http://www.freephotogaleries.com/picture/S_shape_structure/category/1-abstract_stock Threshold knowledge as a portal Photo: Andrei Ceru. CC 3.0 ‘A threshold concept can be considered asakin to a portal, opening up a new andpreviously inaccessible way of thinking aboutsomething. It represents a transformed way ofunderstanding, or interpreting, or viewingsomething without which the learner cannotprogress. As a consequence of comprehendinga threshold concept, there may thus be atransformed internal view of subject matter,subject landscape, or even worldview.’ (Meyerand Land, 2003)
  7. 7. Some characteristics of threshold concepts ransformative – once understood, they should shift one’s perception of the subject http://www.flickr.com/photos/steveberardi/3968169976/sizes/l/in/set-72157622485017310/ rreversible – cannot be ‘unlearned’• Troublesome - potentially counter- ntegrative – has the capacity to ‘expose a hiddenintuitive. interrelatedness’ concept a student moves In grasping a threshold from a common sense understanding to an understanding which may conflict with perceptions that have previously seemed self-evidently true.’ Photo: Steve Berardi. CC BY-SA (Davies, 2003)
  8. 8. http://www.freephotogaleries.com/picture/Antique_religious_writings/category/1-abstract_stock Photo: Andrei Ceru. CC 3.0 Troublesome knowledge
  9. 9. Liminal spaces CC 3.0 Photo: Andrei Ceruhttp://www.freephotogaleries.com/picture/Half_moon/category/4-science
  10. 10. http://www.freephotogaleries.com/picture/Tramway_station/category/1-abstract_stockActivity 2: initial responses Photo: Andrei Ceru. CC 3.0 lease watch the interview with Glynis Cousin. lynis Cousin Interview • What is your initial response to Glynis’ account of threshold concepts? • Does anything in your background as a learner or a teacher resonate with her account of threshold
  11. 11. Threshold concepts in the disciplinesSubject Threshold ConceptEnglish literature Deconstruction; hegemony; significationEconomics Opportunity cost, the marginMaths Limit, complex numberElectrical engineering Frequency responseComputer science Object-oriented programming (OOP); memory/pointers, stateAcademic literacies Writing as a social practiceCultural studies; sociology OthernessAccounting DepreciationEngineering SpinPolitics ‘the state’ Land 2010; Land et al. 2008; Meyer and Land, 2003
  12. 12. Activity 3: identifying threshold concepts in your disciplineonsider the threshold concepts onthe handout from your discipline (orcognate discipline) http://www.freephotogaleries.com/picture/Green_water_drop/category/1-abstract_stock• Do you agree with the categorisation?Please identify up to 3 additionalthreshold concepts in your field.lease discuss your findings with Photo: Andrei Ceru. CC 3.0colleagues from similar disciplines.
  13. 13. Learning and threshold conceptsow can we use threshold concepts to design learningactivities?lease see one or both of the following resources for examplesto prepare for Activity 4 (slide 14):tamboulis, et al. (2012) ‘Uncovering threshold values in first year engineeringcourses and implications for curriculum design’ OER.http://www.hestem.ac.uk/sites/default/files/uncovering_threshold_values.pdfand, R. and Meyer, J. (2003) Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge:Linkages to Ways of Thinking and Practising within the Disciplines (Section 4
  14. 14. Activity 4: designing a learning activity around athreshold conceptlease take a threshold concept from yourdiscipline (from the handout or one that youhave identified)pend some time drafting a learning activity(or a series of activities) around the concepthare the idea with up to four other people.
  15. 15. http://www.flickr.com/photos/steveberardi/3355029505/in/set-72157624777762120/lightbox/ Photo: Steve Berardi. CC BY-SA Threshold concepts and curriculum design
  16. 16. Using threshold concepts to guide curriculum design http://www.freephotogaleries.com/picture/Fir_cone/category/5-nature Photo: Andrei Ceru. CC 3.0
  17. 17. http://www.flickr.com/photos/steveberardi/3105721570/in/photostream Activity 5: Curriculum design task Photo: Steve Berardi. CC BY-SA ow could you use an awareness of threshold concepts for curriculum design? lease take a curriculum (either from a single module, a year or an entire degree). onsider where the core threshold concepts appear in the curriculum/curricula.
  18. 18. Referencesousin, G. (2006) ‘An Introduction to threshold concepts’ http://gees.ac.uk/planet/p17/gc.pdfavies, P. (2003) ‘Threshold Concepts: how can we recognise them? Embedding Threshold Conceptsproject: Working Paper 1’. Embedding Threshold Concepts Projectand, R. (2010) ‘Threshold Concepts and Issues of Interdisciplinarity’. Third Biennial ThresholdConcepts Symposium: Exploring transformative dimensions of threshold concepts: The Universityof New South Wales Australia, 2010.and, R., Meyer, J. and Smith, J. (2008) Threshold Concepts within the Disciplines. Rotterdam: Sense.eyer, J. and Land, R. (2003)’Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge: Linkages to Ways ofThinking and Practising within the Disciplines’. ETL Project Report No. 4.http://www.etl.tla.ed.ac.uk/docs/ETLreport4.pdferkins, D. (2006) ‘Constructivism and troublesome knowledge. In JHF Meyer and R Land (Eds)Overcoming barriers to student understanding: Threshold Concepts and troublesome knowledge.London: Routledge.erkins, D. (1999). ‘The many faces of constructivism’, Educational Leadership, 57 (3).
  19. 19. Learning Resource MetadataField/Element Value:Title Disciplinary Thinking – Threshold concepts: Workshop slidesDescription Presentation slides for a workshop on threshold concepts.Theme Threshold ConceptsSubject HE - EducationAuthor Colleen McKenna & Jane Hughes: HEDERA, 2012Owner The University of BathAudience Educational developers in accredited programmes & courses in higher education.Issue Date 24/05/2012Last updated Date 01/08/2012Version finalPSF Mapping A1, A2, K1, K2, K3License Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License. ukoer, education, discthink, disciplinary thinking, hedera, university of bath,Keywords threshold concepts, curriculum design, academic practice DRAFT 19

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