Harlow, A., Scott, J., Peter, M. & Cowie, B. (2011). ‘Getting stuck’ in analogue electronics: Threshold concepts as an explanatory model. European Journal of Engineering Education, 36(5), 435-447.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5731
Could the challenge of mastering threshold concepts be a potential factor that influences a student's decision to continue in electronics engineering? This was the question that led to a collaborative research project between educational researchers and the Faculty of Engineering in a New Zealand university. This paper deals exclusively with the qualitative data from this project, which was designed to investigate the high attrition rate of students taking introductory electronics in a New Zealand university. The affordances of the various teaching opportunities and the barriers that students perceived are examined in the light of recent international research in the area of threshold concepts and transformational learning. Suggestions are made to help students move forward in their thinking, without compromising the need for maintaining the element of intellectual uncertainty that is crucial for tertiary teaching. The issue of the timing of assessments as a measure of conceptual development or the crossing of thresholds is raised.
Taylor & Francis Group
- Education Papers