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Board # 97 : How are Threshold Concepts Applied? A Review of the Literature

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2018

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

20

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/27965

Download Count

31

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Paper Authors

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David Reeping Virginia Tech

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David Reeping is a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. He received his B.S. in Engineering Education with a Mathematics minor from Ohio Northern University. He was a Choose Ohio First scholar inducted during the 2012-2013 school year as a promising teacher candidate in STEM. David was the recipient of the Remsburg Creativity Award for 2013 and The DeBow Freed Award for outstanding leadership as an undergraduate student (sophomore) in 2014. He is also a member of the mathematics, education, and engineering honor societies: Kappa Mu Epsilon, Kappa Delta Pi, and Tau Beta Pi respectively.

He has extensive experience in curriculum development in K-12 and creates material for the Technology Student Association's annual TEAMS competition. David has co-authored two texts related to engineering, Principles of Applied Engineering for Pearson-Prentice Hall and Introductory Engineering Mathematics for Momentum Press.

His research interests include first year engineering course articulation, assessment, and P-12 engineering policy.

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Lisa D. McNair Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Lisa D. McNair is an Associate Professor of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech, where she also serves as co-Director of the VT Engineering Communication Center (VTECC) and CATALYST Fellow at the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT). Her research interests include interdisciplinary collaboration, design education, communication studies, identity theory and reflective practice. Projects supported by the National Science Foundation include exploring disciplines as cultures, liberatory maker spaces, and a RED grant to increase pathways in ECE for the professional formation of engineers.

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Steve Robert Harrison Dept of Computer Science, Virginia Tech

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Steve Harrison is the Director of the Human-Centered Design Program at Virginia Tech, an associate professor of practice in Computer Science, and co-director of the Social Informatics area of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction. Design – and in particular, participatory approaches to design – has shaped his approach to teaching and research: he is a registered architect in California, studies the practices of design, has created tools for design collaboration, and is an award-winning designer. He has edited two books, authored numerous peer-reviewed publications, designed award-winning interactive STEM exhibits, chaired the ACM SigCHI Design subcommittee, organized the ACM Design of Interactive Systems ("DIS") conference in 2014, and is the director of the ACM DIS Conference Steering Committee. Before coming to Virginia Tech, he was a research scientist at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (“PARC”). Website: http://people.cs.vt.edu/~srh/

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R Benjamin Knapp Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology

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R. Benjamin Knapp is the Director of the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) and Professor of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. ICAT is a university level research institute that seeks to promote research and education at the boundaries between art, design, engineering, and science.

For more than 20 years, Dr. Knapp has been working to create meaningful links between human-computer interaction, universal design, and various forms of creativity. His research on human-computer interaction has focused on the development and design of user-interfaces and software that allow both composers and performers to augment the physical control of a musical instrument with direct sensory interaction. He holds twelve patents and is the co-inventor of the BioMuse system, which enables artists to use gesture, cognition, and emotional state to interact with audio and video media.

In previous positions, Dr. Knapp has served as a Fulbright Senior Specialist at University College, Dublin, and chief technology officer of the Technology Research for Independent Living Centre. As the director of technology at MOTO Development Group in San Francisco, Calif., he managed teams of engineers and designers developing human-computer interaction systems for companies such as Sony, Microsoft, and Logitech. He co-founded BioControl Systems, a company that develops mobile bioelectric measurement devices for artistic interaction. Dr. Knapp has also served as professor and chair of the Department of Computer, Information, and Systems Engineering at San Jose State University.

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Luke F Lester Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Luke F. Lester, an IEEE and SPIE Fellow, received the B.S. in Engineering Physics in 1984 and the Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1992, both from Cornell University. He joined Virginia Tech in 2013 as the Head of the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and was named the Roanoke Electric Steel Professor in 2016. Prior to joining VT, he was a professor of ECE at the University of New Mexico (UNM) from 1994 to 2013, and most recently the Interim Department Chair and the Endowed Chair Professor in Microelectronics there. Before 1994, Dr. Lester worked as an engineer for the General Electric Electronics Laboratory in Syracuse, New York for 6 years where he worked on transistors for mm-wave applications. There in 1986 he co-invented the first Pseudomorphic HEMT, a device that was later highlighted in the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest transistor. By 1991 as a PhD student at Cornell, he researched and developed the first strained quantum well lasers with mm-wave bandwidths. These lasers are now the industry standard for optical transmitters in data and telecommunications. In all, Dr. Lester has over 30 years experience in III-V semiconductor devices and advanced fabrication techniques. In 2001, he was a co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Zia Laser, Inc., a startup company using quantum dot laser technology to develop products for communications and computer/microprocessor applications. The company was later acquired by Innolume, GmbH. He was a US Air Force Summer Faculty Fellow in 2006 and 2007. Dr. Lester’s other awards and honors include: a 1986 IEE Electronics Letters Premium Award for the first transistor amplifier at 94 GHz; the 1994 Martin Marietta Manager’s Award; the Best Paper Award at SPIE’s Photonics West 2000 for reporting a quantum dot laser with the lowest semiconductor laser threshold; and the 2012 Harold E. Edgerton Award of the SPIE for his pioneering work on ultrafast quantum dot mode-locked lasers. He has published 140 journal articles and some 250 other publications and is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics.

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Thomas Martin Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Tom Martin is a Professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and
Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech, with courtesy appointments in
Computer Science and the School of Architecture + Design. He is the
co-director of the Virginia Tech E-textiles Lab and the Associate Director of
the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology. He received his Ph.D. in
Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and
his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati.
His research and teaching interests include wearable computing, electronic
textiles, and interdisciplinary design teams for pervasive computing.
In 2006 he was selected for the National Science Foundation's Presidential
Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) for his research
in e-textile-based wearable computing.

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Annie Yong Patrick

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Annie Y. Patrick received her Master of Science in Network Technology and graduate certificate in Information Assurance from East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina in 2016. At present, she is a PhD student in Science and Technology Studies (STS) at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (“Virginia Tech”) in Blacksburg, Virginia. Her research interests are technology adoption and healthcare technologies. She has worked professionally in academia, information science, health economics and outcomes research, nursing, and qualitative research.

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Matthew Wisnioski Virginia Tech

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Matthew Wisnioski is an interdisciplinary historian of innovation, engineering, and the politics of technology. He is Associate Professor of Science and Technology in Society and a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology at Virginia Tech. Wisnioski is the author of Engineers for Change: Competing Visions of Technology in 1960s America (MIT Press) and a contributor to The Atlantic, IEEE Spectrum, Journal of Engineering Education, Science, and Washington Post. He is applying historical insight as a co-PI on Virginia Tech's RED project "Radically Enhancing the Pathways in the Professional Formation of Engineering."

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Abstract

How are Threshold Concepts Applied? A Review of the Literature

Funded by a recently awarded NSF RED grant, we aim to transform the curriculum and culture of a large electrical and computer engineering department with a model that foregrounds design and innovation to offer students a variety of pathways to a degree. We are developing a combination of approaches to create a program with disciplinary depth and a range of learning experiences, including a participatory design approach that involves not only curriculum redesign, but also engagement of faculty and students in industry and K12 outreach.

We begin with the goal of effectively employing the Threshold Concept framework to identify transformative sites to target for curricular revisions. Our first steps include a thorough literature review that both systematically canvases existing resources and summarizes and synthesizes themes that enable us to answer the following questions:

1. What research findings have been reported about threshold concepts across disciplines, in the field of engineering, and in electrical engineering, computer engineering, and computer science in particular? 2. What are the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the threshold concepts framework, both in theory and practice?  3. Which methods are most effective for identifying threshold concepts? 4. How have threshold concepts been used to enact change?

In exploring these questions, we investigate the history and evolution of the threshold concepts framework, with attention to sociotechnical patterns, such as whether and how “professional” and “technical” concepts are delineated. In terms of methodology, we consider whether data collection prompts guide people away from the center of their discipline, or whether there is less of a dichotomy between social and technical than often portrayed in engineering education narratives. Finally, we are employing a participatory design process in which we are not only asking department stakeholders to identify sites of threshold concepts, but also to enroll them in a grass-roots, transformative effort. To that end, we explore ways that the process of understanding threshold concepts serves as an opportunity for dialog that can kick-start the culture shift of the department.

Reeping, D., & McNair, L. D., & Harrison, S. R., & Knapp, R. B., & Lester, L. F., & Martin, T., & Patrick, A. Y., & Wisnioski, M. (2017, June), Board # 97 : How are Threshold Concepts Applied? A Review of the Literature Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27965

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