Threshold concept framework
A threshold concept can be considered as akin to a portal, opening up a new and previously inaccessible way of thinking about something. It represents a transformed way of understanding, or interpreting, or viewing something without which the learner cannot progress. As a consequence of comprehending a threshold concept there may thus be a transformed internal view of subject matter, subject landscape, or even worldview (Meyer and Land, 2003). Threshold concepts have been explored in many disciplines (Bradbeer, 2006) and may have a key role for the transformation of the students’ learning experience (Cousin, 2006). Since open education has implications for innovation and change (Peter and Deimann, 2013), we suggest exploring it as a threshold concept.
There are five main attributes defined originally by Meyer and Land (2003) and three more have also been listed stemming from comments made by the authors (UCL, 2013): transformative, troublesome, irreversible, integrative, bounded, discursive, reconstitutive and liminal.
Openness as a threshold concept
Is openness transformative for students involved in open educational practices?
What difficulties do students face when being involved in open educational practices?
How do students’ perceptions change when being involved in open educational practices? How do these changes impact visions of their own future professional careers?
How can the progressive change towards the open movement be scaffolded? How can feedback help in the construction of authentic open educational practices?
What kind of narrative do students involved in open educational practices develop? Does it reflect authentic construction of the open movement understanding?
This is the theoretical framework for future research about openness as a threshold concept. More research is needed to obtain data that would throw light on how to address each particular attribute. This is an open call to those interested in going further in this line of research.
Bradbeer, J. (2006). Threshold concepts within the disciplines: a report on a symposium at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. Available at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.11120/plan.2006.00170016?src=recsys
Cousin, G. (2006). An introduction to threshold concepts. Planet Special Issue on Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge, 17, 4-5. Available at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.11120/plan.2006.00170004
Meyer, J., & Land, R. (2003). Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge: Linkages to ways of thinking and practising within the disciplines. Enhancing Teaching-Learning Environments in Undergraduate Courses. Occasional Report 4. Available at https://www.colorado.edu/ftep/sites/default/files/attached-files/meyer_and_land_-_threshold_concepts.pdf
Peter, S., & Deimann, M. (2013). On the role of openness in education: a historical reconstruction. Open Praxis, 5(1), 7-14. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.5.1.23
UCL Department Of Electronic And Electrical Engineering (2015). Threshold Concepts: Undergraduate Teaching, Postgraduate Training and Professional Development. A short introduction and bibliography. Available at http://www.ee.ucl.ac.uk/~mflanaga/thresholds.html