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A quantitative approach to identifying threshold concepts in engineering education

Holloway, M, Alpay, E and Bull, A (2010) A quantitative approach to identifying threshold concepts in engineering education Engineering Education 2010: Inspiring the Next Generation of Engineers, EE 2010.

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Research by Meyer and Land (2003) introduced the notion of 'Threshold Concepts' - concepts that students initially find troublesome, but which, when understood, transform and integrate ways of thinking about their respective discipline. The identification of threshold concepts in engineering may help guide the design of core courses and the approaches used in teaching mastery components. However, the identification of such concepts has proved rather troublesome in itself, with ongoing debate as to value of the construct in real teaching contexts. This study uses frequent student survey to look for the characteristics which may be indicative of threshold concepts; attention is given to some key first year undergraduate-level engineering concepts. A question-set is developed, and electronic handheld voting devices used to regularly quantify the student self-perception of understanding, which is further compared with a test of actual understanding. In addition, a retrospective survey and interview are used together with chronological record of students' self-perceptions and test results to identify transforming instants. Finally, a favourable set of survey questions is proposed for identifying the defining characteristics of potential threshold concepts. © 2009 M. Holloway, E. Alpay, A. Bull.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Surrey research (other units)
Authors :
Holloway, M
Bull, A
Date : 2010
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 17 May 2017 13:01
Last Modified : 24 Jan 2020 23:16

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