COSM

The SoTL Road from Statesboro to Liverpool and Back, Dr. Laura Regassa (Biology)

December 6, 2010

The 2010 International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) Conference was held in Liverpool, England on October 19-22, 2010.  This annual conference draws SoTL researchers and administrators from around the world.  The 4-day 2010 conference had approximately 400 participants from 27 countries; research findings and pedagogical approaches were shared during 4 keynote addresses, ~230 talks/workshops, and a poster session.

One of the emerging topics covered in depth at the conference was the idea of threshold concepts.  A threshold concept is a transformative experience/concept that changes the learner’s paradigm in such a way that learned concepts are now viewed in a new light, with the transition moving the learner closer to mastery of the discipline.  Although the theory of threshold concepts is rather abstract, everyone has experienced or witnessed these “aha moments”.  The difficulty comes when trying to decide what these threshold concepts may be for a given discipline and how one would use this information to modify the curriculum to enhance learning.  Threshold concepts are an emerging area of research that will continue to evolve as ongoing studies are published.  For those interested, a more in-depth explanation of the theory as well as a comprehensive listing of publications can be found at: http://www.ee.ucl.ac.uk/~mflanaga/thresholds.html.

I made a presentation at this year’s conference entitled “Inquiry-based approaches facilitated learning for novice and advanced learners in Biology”.  The presentation highlighted research    being done as part of the National Science Foundation GK-12 funded Molecular Biology Initiative   Program.  Next year’s ISSOTL Conference will be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (USA).rn

Source: SoTL Chronicles, Vol. 2, Number 1, November 2010

Last updated: 6/28/2013

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