University Of Tasmania
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Students' experiences of threshold capability development with intensive mode teaching

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conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 11:52 authored by Male, S, Alam, F, Baillie, C, Stuart CrispinStuart Crispin, Hancock, P, Leggoe, J, MacNish, C, Susantha RanmuthugalaSusantha Ranmuthugala
This study focuses on the student experience of passing through critical transformatory thresholds, facilitated by intensive mode teaching. Intensive mode teaching (IMT) involves students engaging in facilitated learning activities or classes over longer periods each day, and over fewer days than is traditional in the discipline. Threshold concept theory and the related threshold capability theory provide a particularly appropriate theoretical basis from which to study the transformation of students’ learning in this mode. Threshold concepts are assumed to be transformative for students because they open new ways of thinking and knowing. With threshold capabilities students can apply threshold concepts to respond to previously unseen problems. Threshold capabilities are necessary for future learning or practice in a discipline and must be central to curriculum design. As IMT is becoming increasingly popular it is important to ensure that students’ experience of learning with IMT is optimal. We investigated students’ experiences of threshold capability in eight intensive mode units at four universities, including undergraduate and postgraduate units in business and engineering. The approach included an exploratory phase with students and teaching team members, rationalisation, and surveys based on identified themes. Students’ responses revealed that their experiences of threshold capabilities were not always as intended by academics. In some units, concepts that were not central occupied time that students could not readily afford. Students reported that factors that helped their learning included extended in-class discussion and group activities. The opportunity to ask questions was significantly more important to learning in intensive than other modes.


Publication title

Research and Development in Higher Education: The Shape of Higher Education (Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia)




M Davis, A Goody








Higher Education research and Development Society of Australasia

Place of publication


Event title

HERDSA 2016: The Shape of Higher Education

Event Venue

Fremantle, Australia

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Rights statement

Copyright 2016 The Authors

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Learner and learning not elsewhere classified

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    University Of Tasmania