Computer Science Education: The First Threshold Concept


When presented with results and evidence that clearly show how teaching and learning can be improved, it is not uncommon for such ideas to be rejected because of personal experience, inter-disciplinary suspicion or because the information seems to completely counter all previously accepted wisdom. Such behaviour in students could be classified as a reaction to alien and counter-intuitive knowledge, as described in the works of Meyer and Land on threshold concepts. Since the threshold concept is, itself, a product of educational research, we would expect to have difficulty in explaining this concept to our colleagues. This is one possible explanation for the relatively slow penetration of computer science specific educational theory into modern computer science teaching practice. In this paper we examine the application of the threshold concept theory to the whole of our field of education, using the literature to find examples of how troublesome knowledge does, or does not, spread throughout the academic community. We track the adoption and display of knowledge of key concepts in Computer Science educational research, in order to identify common patterns in adoption and, by providing models to explain the flow of information across our discipline, provide an early indication of the role that threshold concepts (as a barrier to understanding) are playing in the community.

DOI: 10.1109/LaTiCE.2013.32

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@article{Falkner2013ComputerSE, title={Computer Science Education: The First Threshold Concept}, author={Nickolas J. G. Falkner and Rebecca Vivian and Katrina E. Falkner}, journal={2013 Learning and Teaching in Computing and Engineering}, year={2013}, pages={39-46} }