Using threshold concepts to transform entry level curricula

Rodger, Sylvia and Turpin, Merrill (2011). Using threshold concepts to transform entry level curricula. In: Research and Development in Higher Education: Higher Education on the Edge. 34th HERDSA Annual International Conference, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia, (263-274). 4-7 July 2011.

Attached Files (Some files may be inaccessible until you login with your UQ eSpace credentials)
Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
UQ270038_contents.pdf HERDC evidence - not publicly available application/pdf 259.53KB 3
UQ270038_fulltext.pdf HERDC full text - not publicly available application/pdf 313.37KB 2
Author Rodger, Sylvia
Turpin, Merrill
Title of paper Using threshold concepts to transform entry level curricula
Conference name 34th HERDSA Annual International Conference
Conference location Gold Coast, QLD, Australia
Conference dates 4-7 July 2011
Proceedings title Research and Development in Higher Education: Higher Education on the Edge
Place of Publication Milperra, NSW, Australia
Publisher Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia
Publication Year 2011
Sub-type Fully published paper
ISBN 090855785X
ISSN 1441-001X
Volume 34
Start page 263
End page 274
Total pages 12
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Abstract/Summary Academics at The University of Queensland undertook an extensive curriculum reform leading to changes in both the undergraduate and masters entry occupational therapy curricula. We explored a number of theories to assist with determining an educational philosophy to underpin our curricula. Threshold concepts (Meyer & Land, 2005) provided us with a transformative and integrative way forward. In this paper we describe our experiences of using threshold concepts as a mechanism for engaging in transformative curriculum renewal and planning. We compiled a list of 20 pieces of troublesome knowledge, namely aspects of each course that were difficult for students to grasp (Perkins, 2006). Using thematic analysis we reduced this list further to 8 items and then subjected these to rigorous questioning to determine whether they were threshold concepts. We asked whether each potential concept was transformative, irreversible, integrative, bounded and troublesome. Threshold concepts were identified if they met all of these characteristics. This generative process revealed five threshold concepts:1)purposeful and meaningful occupation, 2) client centred practice, 3)integral nature of occupational therapy theory and practice, 4) identity as an occupational therapist, and 5)thinking critically, reasoning and reflecting. We also reflected on Barnett and Coate’s (2005) key features of professional programmes - knowing, doing/action and being. We made these concepts explicit to staff as well as students and have used these to underpin our new curricula. This shared language has contributed to staff ownership of the curricula.
Keyword Curriculum reform
Threshold concepts
Action research methods
Q-Index Code E1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Version Filter Type
Citation counts: Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Thu, 15 Mar 2012, 14:44:08 EST by Professor Sylvia Rodger on behalf of School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences