You are invited to join the Threshold Project for a one day introductory workshop:
Re-Envisioning General Education
Threshold Concepts and Wicked Problems
San Jose City College–Room T415
Threshold concepts are those core concepts that transform our ways of thinking in a particular discipline. They have been described as transformative (because they change the way you see things), troublesome (because they defy your “common sense” view of things), and irreversible (because, once mastered, they are hard to “unlearn”).
Threshold concepts are key to making progress in a discipline and to the kind of deep learning that students can transfer to new challenges and contexts, but identifying and mastering them is not straightforward. Embedded in the definition of threshold concepts is the understanding that grappling with them is a messy, recursive, and liminal process. Students benefit from repeated, sustained attention to threshold concepts over the course of their education.
Wicked problems are urgent challenges—such as global climate change or educational inequity–that are difficult to resolve because they are complex, contested, and constantly changing. They can’t be fully defined and can be stated as symptoms of other problems. A curriculum focused on considering wicked problems through the lens of threshold concepts explicitly teaches students how to problem solve from distinct disciplinary perspectives, to explore the affordances and limitations of different disciplinary habits of mind, and to make visible the need for multi-disciplinary approaches to “real world” problems.
We have established a statewide community of practice to support consideration of threshold concepts first and foremost because we would like to create the space for long-term, collegial, sustained learning and dialogue—across disciplines and across educational segments—about how a renewed focus on conceptual knowledge can inspire us to reconsider our curricula and our approach to “alignment.” Please consider joining us as we launch this important work!