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Understanding thresholds in first year engineering: Digging beneath Mohr’s circle

Quinlan, Kathleen M., Male, S, Fill, J, Jaffer, Z, Stamboulis, A, Baillie, C (2012) Understanding thresholds in first year engineering: Digging beneath Mohr’s circle. In: 2012 ISEE International Symposium on Engineering Education. . (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)

Abstract

Meyer, Land and others (2005) asserted that there are “threshold concepts” that open up required ways of thinking in a discipline, yet are troublesome for students. Understanding aspects of a curriculum that serve as such “thresholds” can assist with designing curricula, teaching methods and assessment approaches. This paper develops the work of threshold concepts in 1st year engineering by combining the results of research programmes in three institutions: the University of Oxford, the University of Western Australia and the University of Birmingham. We look at the case of Mohr’s Circle (a graphical representation of the state of stress at a point in a material). While students and tutors initially suggested it as a potential threshold, there are other, more conceptually troublesome issues that underlie it. We identify those troublesome aspects. In particular, we use this case to show what the general thinking processes of engineering identified in the project (including understanding the relationship between mathematics and the physical world) mean in the context of a particular example. The paper also illustrates methodologies developed by the team for investigating thresholds in engineering. We conclude by briefly considering some potentially useful teaching and learning approaches for addressing such thresholds.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Uncontrolled keywords: threshold concepts, engineering education, higher education, Mohr’s Circle, thinking processes, abstraction.
Subjects: L Education
Divisions: Faculties > University wide - Teaching/Research Groups > Centre for the Study of Higher Education
Depositing User: Kathleen M Quinlan
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2017 10:00 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 18:40 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/60333 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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