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Thursday, June 18 • 10:30am - 11:15am
CON05.05 - Threshold concepts in higher education

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Threshold concepts “can be considered as akin to a portal, opening up a new and previously inaccessible way of thinking about something” (Meyer & Land, 2003, p.1). More than just key concepts or pieces of knowledge, threshold concepts represent an entirely new way of understanding a subject, one that can be troublesome but ultimately transformative for the learner. Emerging out of a large-scale collaborative project involving universities across the United Kingdom, threshold concepts have recently generated a great deal of interest internationally, including being labeled as an innovation with the potential to provoke a major shift in higher education (Sharples et al, 2014). Originally focused on improving teaching and learning within disciplines, recent studies illustrate that threshold concepts are also useful for initiating cross- and inter-disciplinary discourses (Carmichael, 2010). As such, the adoption of threshold concepts for curricular and pedagogical investigations could prove significantly beneficial for institutions, departments, and individual educators. This interactive session will begin with an introduction to the threshold concepts framework, share recent disciplinary and interdisciplinary research in the area, and engage the audience in conversation around using the threshold concepts framework to fine-tune practice. Participants will be guided in developing an understanding of threshold concepts in their field and in recognizing potential areas of application and navigating possible challenges. It is expected participants will leave with both increased knowledge of threshold concepts and the skills to begin their own work/study in this area.

Carmichael, P. (2010). Threshold concepts, disciplinary differences and cross-disciplinary discourse. Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: Gulf Perspectives, 7(2), 53–71.

Meyer, J.H.F. & Land, R. (2003). Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge: linkages to ways of thinking and practising within the disciplines. In: Rust, C. (Ed.) Improving Student Learning: Improving Student Learning Theory and Practice–Ten Years On. Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development, Oxford 

Sharples, M., Adams, A., Ferguson, R, Gaved, M. McAndrew, P., Weller, M., & Whitelock, D. (2014). Innovating Pedagogy 2014: Open University Innovation Report 3. Milton Keynes: The Open University. Available from http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/innovating/?p=3

avatar for Ashley Shaw

Ashley Shaw

PhD student/instructor, University of British Columbia
I’m working on a PhD in Education. I love technology, and am fascinated by the impact it has on people and society.I wear Converse most of the time.I’m always cynical, generally irreverent, and often offensive.I knit. A lot.

Thursday June 18, 2015 10:30am - 11:15am PDT
Director Room

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