Roundtable Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia 2015

Enhancing student experiences of threshold capability development with intensive mode teaching (#187)

Sally A Male 1 , Firoz Alam 2 , Stuart Crispin 3 , Jeremy Leggoe 1
  1. The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia
  2. RMIT University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  3. University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, Australia

Intensive mode teaching (IMT) involves students engaging in facilitated learning activities or classes intensively over longer than a few hours in a day, and over fewer days than in a traditional course. 

Threshold concepts are transformative for students because they open new ways of thinking and knowing. They are usually troublesome for students and require attention from students and educators. With threshold capabilities students can apply understanding of threshold concepts to previously unseen problems (Baillie, Bowden, & Meyer, 2013). Threshold capabilities are necessary for future learning or practice in a discipline. Because threshold capabilities are important and challenging, students and educators must focus on them. However, overcoming these thresholds can take a long time. Participants will discuss enhancing students’ experiences of threshold capability development with IMT.

IMT allows students to focus over extended continuous periods. However traditional modes of teaching allow students to revisit troublesome features and direct their own learning between facilitated learning opportunities.

Questions to be discussed are,
1. Why, in what subjects, and how is IMT being used?
2. How can threshold concepts and capabilities be identified?
3. What must students do to develop threshold capabilities with IMT?
4. How can students be encouraged and supported to develop threshold capabilities with IMT?
5. Can students and educators be prepared for learning and teaching with IMT?
6. Should approaches be customised for courses and students?

Support for this project has been provided by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching. The views in this activity do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching.

  1. Baillie, C., Bowden, J. A., & Meyer, J. H. F. (2013). Threshold Capabilities: threshold concepts and knowledge capability linked through variation theory. Higher Education, 65(2), 227-246.