Postgraduates reflect on teaching history
Postgraduates in the School of History have contributed to a new NAIRTL publication entitled Threshold Concepts: from personal practice to communities of practice. The "Doing" History project was run in dialogue with the Indiana University History Learning Project team’s research into the teaching of history in higher education.
The project was facilitated by Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley (NUI Galway) and James Cronin (UCC). Tutors from the School of History, University College Cork who contributed to this project include: Liam Cullinane, Jenny Coughlan, David Convery, Michael Dwyer, Simon Egan, Shane Faherty, Jacqueline Fitzgibbon, Sara Goek, David Moynihan, and Alan Noonan. An e-publication of the conference proceedings is available for download from NAIRTL as an e-publication.
The idea that there are Threshold Concepts has been debated for less than a decade, but the idea has become increasingly significant to a great number of educators in Higher Education. Many courses are now being restructured to ensure that students are enabled to grasp the threshold concepts in their discipline.
A ‘threshold concept’ is a core concept that once understood, transforms the learner’s way of looking at, and acting in, the discipline. “It represents a transformed understanding, without which the learner cannot significantly progress”, explains Dr Bettie Higgs, NAIRTL Director and proceedings co-editor. “A focus on threshold concepts can free-up an overcrowded curriculum”, Dr Higgs observes.
The National Academy for the integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL) works with Irish higher education institutions to develop and implement policy and practices aimed at enhancing the student learning experience at both undergraduate and graduate levels. The Academy supports students, researchers and academic staff to implement and advance effective research-informed teaching and learning practices for diverse audiences.