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This conference presentation was originally published as:

Gosselin, K., Northcote, M., Reynaud, D., Kilgour, P., Anderson, M., & Boddey, C. (2014). Threshold concepts about online teaching: Progress report on a five year project. Paper presented at the 5th Biennial International Threshold Concepts Conference, Durham, UK. Abstract retrieved from


130103 Higher Education| 130106 Secondary Education| 130313 Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators


The burgeoning expansion of online education has presented the challenges of articulating an appropriate pedagogy for online education (Stevens, 2003; Runnels et al., 2006; Gosselin, 2009) while also contending with perceived and real deficits in lecturer competence (Shephard, 2007). Conceptually, the identified areas of concern are viewed as troublesome knowledge (Perkins, 1999), or knowledge that is counter intuitive to traditional teaching face to face teaching.

To meet the emerging difficulties of new modes of distance teaching, researchers have focused on transformative learning using threshold concepts, or new portals, that allow understanding of concepts through new modes of thinking (Meyer & Land, 2003). Northcote and her colleagues used findings from their research into threshold concepts of online teaching to develop a tailored staff development training program (Northcote et al., 2011; Northcote et al., 2013). By identifying troublesome knowledge and threshold concepts, several unique benefits have been realised that include: 1) a focus for professional development programs; 2) a clearer understanding of the processes and resources needed to facilitate development; 3) support from institutional leadership; and 4) increased competence and confidence for online course developers.


Used by permission: University College London

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