Uncovering “Threshold Concepts” in Web Development: An Instructor Perspective.

Peter Alston, David Walsh, Gary Westhead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The field of Web development has evolved and diversified significantly in recent years, and narrowing the gap between the requirements of academia and the demands of industry remains a challenge. Moreover, many faculty members often struggle with knowing “how much” of a particular subject they should teach to their students and at what level. This small-scale, exploratory study seeks to uncover the existence of “threshold concepts” withinWeb development. Threshold concepts are the fundamental concepts which, once mastered, allow a learner to progress to a deeper understanding of a subject. An online questionnaire was sent out to 24 instructors within UK higher education institutions who teachWeb development subjects. Nine participants responded to the questionnaire and interviews were conducted with five to discuss and expand on the responses provided, resulting in the identification of four areas that were perceived as difficult for students to grasp when learning Web development. Analysis of these areas suggests that threshold concepts do exist within the subject and we offer up two candidates for the field of Web development: basic programming principles and decomposition and abstraction. Designing a curriculum based on threshold concepts and less on the latest methods, tools, and techniques can go a long way in helping students to become experts in their chosen discipline.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2:1-2:18
JournalACM Transactions of Computing Education (TOCE) - Special Issue on web Development
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Mar 2015

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instructor
questionnaire
student
abstraction
candidacy
programming
expert
curriculum
industry
interview
learning
education

Keywords

  • Web development
  • threshold concepts
  • higher education
  • thematic analysis.

Cite this

@article{8f0c394eebcc4884a1e996b0560c3bab,
title = "Uncovering “Threshold Concepts” in Web Development: An Instructor Perspective.",
abstract = "The field of Web development has evolved and diversified significantly in recent years, and narrowing the gap between the requirements of academia and the demands of industry remains a challenge. Moreover, many faculty members often struggle with knowing “how much” of a particular subject they should teach to their students and at what level. This small-scale, exploratory study seeks to uncover the existence of “threshold concepts” withinWeb development. Threshold concepts are the fundamental concepts which, once mastered, allow a learner to progress to a deeper understanding of a subject. An online questionnaire was sent out to 24 instructors within UK higher education institutions who teachWeb development subjects. Nine participants responded to the questionnaire and interviews were conducted with five to discuss and expand on the responses provided, resulting in the identification of four areas that were perceived as difficult for students to grasp when learning Web development. Analysis of these areas suggests that threshold concepts do exist within the subject and we offer up two candidates for the field of Web development: basic programming principles and decomposition and abstraction. Designing a curriculum based on threshold concepts and less on the latest methods, tools, and techniques can go a long way in helping students to become experts in their chosen discipline.",
keywords = "Web development, threshold concepts, higher education, thematic analysis.",
author = "Peter Alston and David Walsh and Gary Westhead",
note = "Joelle Adams and Nicole McNab. 2013. Understanding arts and humanities students: Experiences of assessment and feedback. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice 1 (2013), 36–52. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1474022212460743 Charles Anderson. 1997. Enabling and Shaping Understanding through Tutorials. Scottish Academic Press, 184–197. Tony Beecher. 1994. The significance of disciplinary differences. Stud. High. Educ. 19, 2 (1994), 151–161. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03075079412331382007 John B. Biggs. 2003. Teaching for Quality Learning at University: What the Student Does (2nd ed.). Buckingham: Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press (John Burville). Jonathan D. Blake. 2011. Language considerations in the first year CS curriculum. J. Comput. Sci. Coll. 26, 6 (2011), 124–129. Sue Bloxham. 2007. Developing Effective Assessment in Higher Education: A Practical Guide. Open University Press, Maidenhead. Jonas Boustedt, Anna Eckerdal, Robert McCartney, Jan Erik Mostr¨om, Mark Ratcliffe, Kate Sanders, and Carol Zander. 2007. Threshold concepts in computer science: Do they exist and are they useful? SIGCSE Bull. 39, 1 (2007), 504–508. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1227504.1227482 Virginia Braun and Victoria Clarke. 2006. Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qual. Res. Psychol. 3, 2 (2006), 77–101. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa Sally Brown and Peter Knight. 1994. Assessing Learners in Higher Education. Kogan Page, London, Philadelphia. Cordelia Bryan and Karen Clegg. 2006. Introduction. Routledge, Abingdon, 1–7. Kate Caelli, Lynne Ray, and Judy Mill. 2003. “Clear as mud”: Toward greater clarity in generic qualitative research. Int. J. Qual. Meth. 2, 2 (2003), 1–13. Patrick Carmichael. 2010. Threshold concepts, disciplinary differences and cross-disciplinary discourse. Learning & Teaching in Higher Education: Gulf Perspectives 7, 2 (2010), 53–72. Patrick Carmichael, Keith Johnstone, Frances Tracy, and Helen Burchmore. 2007. Threshold Concepts: An Emerging Interdisciplinary Research Agenda in Higher Education Research. Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, Netherlands. Randy Connolly. 2012. Criticizing and modernizing computing curriculum: The case of the web and the social issues courses. In Proceedings of the 17th Western Canadian Conference on Computing Education (WCCCE’12). ACM, New York, NY, 52–56. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2247569.2247587 Randy W. Connolly. 2011. Awakening Rip van Winkle: Modernizing the computer science web curriculum. In Proceedings of the 16th Annual Joint Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE’11). ACM, New York, NY, 18–22. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1999747.1999756 Michael Cooper, Andrew Kilpatrick, and Joshue O. Connor. 2014. Techniques for WCAG2.0. Retrieved from http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20-TECHS/Overview.html. Glynis Cousin. 2006. An introduction to threshold concepts. Planet 17 (2006), 4–5. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/ 10.11120/plan.2006.00170004 John W. Creswell. 1998. Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Traditions. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA. Mira Crouch and Heather McKenzie. 2006. The logic of small samples in interview- based qualitative research. Soc. Sci. Inf. 45, 4 (2006), 483–499. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0539018406069584 Peter Davies. 2003. Threshold Concepts: How Can We Recognise Them? (August 26–30, 2003). Retrieved from http://www.staffs.ac.uk/schools/business/iepr/etc/WorkingPapers/etcworkingpaper1.pdf. Peter Davies. 2012. Threshold Concepts in Economics Education. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, Cheltenham, 250–256. Peter Davies and Jean Mangan. 2007. Threshold concepts and the integration of understanding in economics. Stud. Higher Educ. 32, 6 (2007), 711–726. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03075070701685148 Brian Dorn and Mark Guzdial. 2010. Discovering computing: Perspectives of web designers. In Proceedings of the 6th International Workshop on Computing Education Research (ICER’10). ACM, New York, NY, 23–30. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1839594.1839600 Magnus Englander. 2012. The interview: Data collection in descriptive phenomenological human scientific research. J. Phenom. Psychol. 43, 1 (2012), 13–35. Noel James Entwistle. 1988. Styles of Learning and Teaching: An Integrated Outline of Educational Psychology for Students, Teachers, and Lecturers. David Fulton, London. Tia Ghose. 2013. What is Gravity? Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/37115-what-is-gravity.html. Ken Goldman, Paul Gross, Cinda Heeren, Geoffrey Herman, Lisa Kaczmarczyk, Michael C. Loui, and Craig Zilles. 2008. Identifying important and difficult concepts in introductory computing courses using a delphi process. SIGCSE Bull. 40, 1 (2008), 256–260. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1352322.1352226 Greg Guest, Kathleen M. MacQueen, and Emily E. Namey. 2012. Applied Thematic Analysis. Sage,Thousand Oaks, CA. Ann Harlow, Jonathon Scott, Mira Peter, and Bronwen Cowie. 2011. “Getting stuck” in analogue electronics: Threshold concepts as an explanatory model. Eur. J. Eng. Educ. 5 (2011), 435–447. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1080/03043797.2011.606500 Jens Kabo and Caroline Baillie. 2009. Seeing through the lens of social justice: A threshold for engineering. Eur. J. Eng. Educ. 34, 4 (2009), 317–325. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03043790902987410 Ray Land. 2012. “Venturing into Strange Places: Thresholds, Troublesome Knowledge, Liminality, the Doctoral Journey.” Guest lecture delivered to Doctoral Students at Lancaster University. Ray Land, Glynis Cousin, Jan H. F. Meyer, and Peter Davies. 2005. Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge (3): Implications for Course Design and Evaluation. Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development, Oxford, 53–64. Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger. 1999. Learning Pedagogy in Communities of Practice. Chapman, London, 21–33. Sara Lin, Jennifer Loertscher, Vicky Minderhout, David Green, and Jennifer Lewis. 2014. Use of student interviews to identify and refine threshold concepts for biochemistry (618.23). FASEB J. 28, 1 Supplement (2014). Retrieved from http://www.fasebj.org/content/28/1_Supplement/618.23.abstract. Robert McCartney, Jonas Boustedt, Anna Eckerdal, Jan Erik Mostr¨om, Kate Sanders, Lynda Thomas, and Carol Zander. 2009. Liminal spaces and learning computing. Eur. J. Eng. Educ. 34, 4 (2009), 383–391. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03043790902989580 Velda McCune and Dai Hounsell. 2005. The development of students’ ways of thinking and practising in three final-year biology courses. Higher Educ. Int. J. Higher Educ. Educ. Plann. 49, 3 (2005), 255–289. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10734-004-6666-0 Jan H. F.Meyer and Ray Land. 2003. Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge (1)—Linkages toWays of Thinking and Practicing within the Disciplines. Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development, Oxford. Jan H. F. Meyer and Ray Land. 2005. Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge (2): Epistemological considerations and a conceptual framework for teaching and learning. Higher Educ. Int. J. Higher Educ. Educ. Plann. 49, 3 (2005), 373–388. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10734-004-6779-5 Jan H. F. Meyer and Ray Land. 2006. Overcoming Barriers to Student Understanding: Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge. Routledge, London. Jan H. F. Meyer, Ray Land, and Peter Davies. 2006. Implications of Threshold Concepts for Course Design and Evaluation. Routledge, London. Jennifer A. Moon. 2002. The Module & Programme Development Handbook: A Practical Guide to Linking Levels, Learning Outcomes & Assessment. Kogan Page, London. Janice M. Morse. 1998. Designing Funded Qualitative Research (2nd ed.). Vol. 2. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA. Jan Erik Mostr¨om, Jonas Boustedt, Anna Eckerdal, Robert McCartney, Kate Sanders, Lynda Thomas, and Carol Zander. 2009. Computer science student transformations: Changes and causes. SIGCSE Bull. 41, 3 (2009), 181–185. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1595496.1562935 David Nicol. 2009. Quality Enhancement Themes: The First Year Experience. Transforming Assessment and Feedback: Enhancing Integration and Empowerment in the First Year. Linney Direct, Mansfield. http://www.enhancementthemes.ac.uk/docs/publications/transforming-assessment-and-feedback.pdf. Thomas H. Park and Susan Wiedenbeck. 2011. Learning web development: Challenges at an earlier stage of computing education. In Proceedings of the 7th International Workshop on Computing Education Research (ICER’11). ACM, New York, NY, 125–132. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2016911.2016937 David Perkins. 1999. The many faces of constructivism. Educ. Leadership 57, 3 (1999), 6–11. Mouath Qadah and SalehM. Al-Shomrani. 2011. Teaching web development course in information system department. In Proceedings of the 2011 3rd International Congress on Engineering Education (ICEED’11). 165–168. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/ICEED.2011.6235382 Kathleen Quinlan, Sally Male, Caroline Baillie, Artemis Stamboulis, Johnny Fill, and Zahira Jaffer. 2013. Methodological challenges in researching threshold concepts: A comparative analysis of three projects. Int. J. High. Educ. Res. 66, 5 (2013), 585–601. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10734-013-9623-y Paul Ramsden. 2003. Learning to Teach in Higher Education (2nd ed.). RoutledgeFalmer, London. Nicola Reimann and Ian Jackson. 2006. Threshold Concepts in Economics: A Case Study. Routledge, London, 115–133. Sylvia Rodger and Merrill Turpin. 2011. Using threshold concepts to transform entry level curricula. In Proceedings of the 34th HERDSA Annual International Conference, K. Krause, M. Buckridge, C. 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N1 - Joelle Adams and Nicole McNab. 2013. Understanding arts and humanities students: Experiences of assessment and feedback. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice 1 (2013), 36–52. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1474022212460743 Charles Anderson. 1997. Enabling and Shaping Understanding through Tutorials. Scottish Academic Press, 184–197. Tony Beecher. 1994. The significance of disciplinary differences. Stud. High. Educ. 19, 2 (1994), 151–161. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03075079412331382007 John B. Biggs. 2003. Teaching for Quality Learning at University: What the Student Does (2nd ed.). Buckingham: Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press (John Burville). Jonathan D. Blake. 2011. Language considerations in the first year CS curriculum. J. Comput. Sci. Coll. 26, 6 (2011), 124–129. Sue Bloxham. 2007. Developing Effective Assessment in Higher Education: A Practical Guide. Open University Press, Maidenhead. Jonas Boustedt, Anna Eckerdal, Robert McCartney, Jan Erik Mostr¨om, Mark Ratcliffe, Kate Sanders, and Carol Zander. 2007. Threshold concepts in computer science: Do they exist and are they useful? SIGCSE Bull. 39, 1 (2007), 504–508. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1227504.1227482 Virginia Braun and Victoria Clarke. 2006. Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qual. Res. Psychol. 3, 2 (2006), 77–101. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa Sally Brown and Peter Knight. 1994. Assessing Learners in Higher Education. Kogan Page, London, Philadelphia. Cordelia Bryan and Karen Clegg. 2006. Introduction. Routledge, Abingdon, 1–7. Kate Caelli, Lynne Ray, and Judy Mill. 2003. “Clear as mud”: Toward greater clarity in generic qualitative research. Int. J. Qual. Meth. 2, 2 (2003), 1–13. Patrick Carmichael. 2010. Threshold concepts, disciplinary differences and cross-disciplinary discourse. Learning & Teaching in Higher Education: Gulf Perspectives 7, 2 (2010), 53–72. Patrick Carmichael, Keith Johnstone, Frances Tracy, and Helen Burchmore. 2007. Threshold Concepts: An Emerging Interdisciplinary Research Agenda in Higher Education Research. Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, Netherlands. Randy Connolly. 2012. Criticizing and modernizing computing curriculum: The case of the web and the social issues courses. In Proceedings of the 17th Western Canadian Conference on Computing Education (WCCCE’12). ACM, New York, NY, 52–56. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2247569.2247587 Randy W. Connolly. 2011. Awakening Rip van Winkle: Modernizing the computer science web curriculum. In Proceedings of the 16th Annual Joint Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE’11). ACM, New York, NY, 18–22. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1999747.1999756 Michael Cooper, Andrew Kilpatrick, and Joshue O. Connor. 2014. Techniques for WCAG2.0. Retrieved from http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20-TECHS/Overview.html. Glynis Cousin. 2006. An introduction to threshold concepts. Planet 17 (2006), 4–5. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/ 10.11120/plan.2006.00170004 John W. Creswell. 1998. Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Traditions. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA. Mira Crouch and Heather McKenzie. 2006. The logic of small samples in interview- based qualitative research. Soc. Sci. Inf. 45, 4 (2006), 483–499. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0539018406069584 Peter Davies. 2003. Threshold Concepts: How Can We Recognise Them? (August 26–30, 2003). Retrieved from http://www.staffs.ac.uk/schools/business/iepr/etc/WorkingPapers/etcworkingpaper1.pdf. Peter Davies. 2012. Threshold Concepts in Economics Education. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, Cheltenham, 250–256. Peter Davies and Jean Mangan. 2007. Threshold concepts and the integration of understanding in economics. Stud. Higher Educ. 32, 6 (2007), 711–726. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03075070701685148 Brian Dorn and Mark Guzdial. 2010. Discovering computing: Perspectives of web designers. In Proceedings of the 6th International Workshop on Computing Education Research (ICER’10). ACM, New York, NY, 23–30. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1839594.1839600 Magnus Englander. 2012. The interview: Data collection in descriptive phenomenological human scientific research. J. Phenom. Psychol. 43, 1 (2012), 13–35. Noel James Entwistle. 1988. Styles of Learning and Teaching: An Integrated Outline of Educational Psychology for Students, Teachers, and Lecturers. David Fulton, London. Tia Ghose. 2013. What is Gravity? Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/37115-what-is-gravity.html. Ken Goldman, Paul Gross, Cinda Heeren, Geoffrey Herman, Lisa Kaczmarczyk, Michael C. Loui, and Craig Zilles. 2008. Identifying important and difficult concepts in introductory computing courses using a delphi process. SIGCSE Bull. 40, 1 (2008), 256–260. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1352322.1352226 Greg Guest, Kathleen M. MacQueen, and Emily E. Namey. 2012. Applied Thematic Analysis. Sage,Thousand Oaks, CA. Ann Harlow, Jonathon Scott, Mira Peter, and Bronwen Cowie. 2011. “Getting stuck” in analogue electronics: Threshold concepts as an explanatory model. Eur. J. Eng. Educ. 5 (2011), 435–447. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1080/03043797.2011.606500 Jens Kabo and Caroline Baillie. 2009. Seeing through the lens of social justice: A threshold for engineering. Eur. J. Eng. Educ. 34, 4 (2009), 317–325. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03043790902987410 Ray Land. 2012. “Venturing into Strange Places: Thresholds, Troublesome Knowledge, Liminality, the Doctoral Journey.” Guest lecture delivered to Doctoral Students at Lancaster University. Ray Land, Glynis Cousin, Jan H. F. Meyer, and Peter Davies. 2005. Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge (3): Implications for Course Design and Evaluation. Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development, Oxford, 53–64. Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger. 1999. Learning Pedagogy in Communities of Practice. Chapman, London, 21–33. Sara Lin, Jennifer Loertscher, Vicky Minderhout, David Green, and Jennifer Lewis. 2014. Use of student interviews to identify and refine threshold concepts for biochemistry (618.23). FASEB J. 28, 1 Supplement (2014). Retrieved from http://www.fasebj.org/content/28/1_Supplement/618.23.abstract. Robert McCartney, Jonas Boustedt, Anna Eckerdal, Jan Erik Mostr¨om, Kate Sanders, Lynda Thomas, and Carol Zander. 2009. Liminal spaces and learning computing. Eur. J. Eng. Educ. 34, 4 (2009), 383–391. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03043790902989580 Velda McCune and Dai Hounsell. 2005. The development of students’ ways of thinking and practising in three final-year biology courses. Higher Educ. Int. J. Higher Educ. Educ. Plann. 49, 3 (2005), 255–289. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10734-004-6666-0 Jan H. F.Meyer and Ray Land. 2003. Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge (1)—Linkages toWays of Thinking and Practicing within the Disciplines. Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development, Oxford. Jan H. F. Meyer and Ray Land. 2005. Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge (2): Epistemological considerations and a conceptual framework for teaching and learning. Higher Educ. Int. J. Higher Educ. Educ. Plann. 49, 3 (2005), 373–388. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10734-004-6779-5 Jan H. F. Meyer and Ray Land. 2006. Overcoming Barriers to Student Understanding: Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge. Routledge, London. Jan H. F. Meyer, Ray Land, and Peter Davies. 2006. Implications of Threshold Concepts for Course Design and Evaluation. Routledge, London. Jennifer A. Moon. 2002. The Module & Programme Development Handbook: A Practical Guide to Linking Levels, Learning Outcomes & Assessment. Kogan Page, London. Janice M. Morse. 1998. Designing Funded Qualitative Research (2nd ed.). Vol. 2. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA. Jan Erik Mostr¨om, Jonas Boustedt, Anna Eckerdal, Robert McCartney, Kate Sanders, Lynda Thomas, and Carol Zander. 2009. Computer science student transformations: Changes and causes. SIGCSE Bull. 41, 3 (2009), 181–185. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1595496.1562935 David Nicol. 2009. Quality Enhancement Themes: The First Year Experience. Transforming Assessment and Feedback: Enhancing Integration and Empowerment in the First Year. Linney Direct, Mansfield. http://www.enhancementthemes.ac.uk/docs/publications/transforming-assessment-and-feedback.pdf. Thomas H. Park and Susan Wiedenbeck. 2011. Learning web development: Challenges at an earlier stage of computing education. In Proceedings of the 7th International Workshop on Computing Education Research (ICER’11). ACM, New York, NY, 125–132. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2016911.2016937 David Perkins. 1999. The many faces of constructivism. Educ. Leadership 57, 3 (1999), 6–11. Mouath Qadah and SalehM. Al-Shomrani. 2011. Teaching web development course in information system department. In Proceedings of the 2011 3rd International Congress on Engineering Education (ICEED’11). 165–168. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/ICEED.2011.6235382 Kathleen Quinlan, Sally Male, Caroline Baillie, Artemis Stamboulis, Johnny Fill, and Zahira Jaffer. 2013. Methodological challenges in researching threshold concepts: A comparative analysis of three projects. Int. J. High. Educ. Res. 66, 5 (2013), 585–601. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10734-013-9623-y Paul Ramsden. 2003. Learning to Teach in Higher Education (2nd ed.). RoutledgeFalmer, London. Nicola Reimann and Ian Jackson. 2006. Threshold Concepts in Economics: A Case Study. Routledge, London, 115–133. Sylvia Rodger and Merrill Turpin. 2011. Using threshold concepts to transform entry level curricula. In Proceedings of the 34th HERDSA Annual International Conference, K. Krause, M. Buckridge, C. Grimmer, and S. Purbick-Illek (Eds.). Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia, Inc., 263–274. Pauline M. Ross, Charlotte E. Taylor, Chris Hughes, Noel Whitaker, Louise Lutze-Mann, Michelle Kofod, and Vicky Tzioumis. 2010. Threshold concepts in learning biology and evolution. Biol. Int. 47, (Sept. 2010), 47–54. http://biologyinternational.org/volume-47/ Kate Sanders, Jonas Boustedt, Anna Eckerdal, Robert McCartney, Jan Erik Mostr¨om, Lynda Thomas, and Carol Zander. 2012. Threshold concepts and threshold skills in computing. In Proceedings of the 9th Annual International Conference on International Computing Education Research (ICER’12). ACM, New York, NY, 23–30. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2361276.2361283 Robert Joel Schinke, Kerry R. McGannon, Randy Cesar Battochio, and Greg D. Wells. 2013. Acculturation in elite sport: A thematic analysis of immigrant athletes and coaches. J. Sports Sci. 31, 15 (2013), 1676–1686. 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PY - 2015/3/31

Y1 - 2015/3/31

N2 - The field of Web development has evolved and diversified significantly in recent years, and narrowing the gap between the requirements of academia and the demands of industry remains a challenge. Moreover, many faculty members often struggle with knowing “how much” of a particular subject they should teach to their students and at what level. This small-scale, exploratory study seeks to uncover the existence of “threshold concepts” withinWeb development. Threshold concepts are the fundamental concepts which, once mastered, allow a learner to progress to a deeper understanding of a subject. An online questionnaire was sent out to 24 instructors within UK higher education institutions who teachWeb development subjects. Nine participants responded to the questionnaire and interviews were conducted with five to discuss and expand on the responses provided, resulting in the identification of four areas that were perceived as difficult for students to grasp when learning Web development. Analysis of these areas suggests that threshold concepts do exist within the subject and we offer up two candidates for the field of Web development: basic programming principles and decomposition and abstraction. Designing a curriculum based on threshold concepts and less on the latest methods, tools, and techniques can go a long way in helping students to become experts in their chosen discipline.

AB - The field of Web development has evolved and diversified significantly in recent years, and narrowing the gap between the requirements of academia and the demands of industry remains a challenge. Moreover, many faculty members often struggle with knowing “how much” of a particular subject they should teach to their students and at what level. This small-scale, exploratory study seeks to uncover the existence of “threshold concepts” withinWeb development. Threshold concepts are the fundamental concepts which, once mastered, allow a learner to progress to a deeper understanding of a subject. An online questionnaire was sent out to 24 instructors within UK higher education institutions who teachWeb development subjects. Nine participants responded to the questionnaire and interviews were conducted with five to discuss and expand on the responses provided, resulting in the identification of four areas that were perceived as difficult for students to grasp when learning Web development. Analysis of these areas suggests that threshold concepts do exist within the subject and we offer up two candidates for the field of Web development: basic programming principles and decomposition and abstraction. Designing a curriculum based on threshold concepts and less on the latest methods, tools, and techniques can go a long way in helping students to become experts in their chosen discipline.

KW - Web development

KW - threshold concepts

KW - higher education

KW - thematic analysis.

UR - http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2700513

U2 - 10.1145/2700513

DO - 10.1145/2700513

M3 - Article

VL - 15

SP - 2:1-2:18

JO - ACM Transactions on Computing Education

JF - ACM Transactions on Computing Education

SN - 1946-6226

IS - 1

ER -