NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1059981
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1946-6226
Uncovering "Threshold Concepts" in Web Development: An Instructor Perspective
Alston, Peter; Walsh, David; Westhead, Gary
ACM Transactions on Computing Education, v15 n1 Article 2 Mar 2015
The field of Web development has evolved and diversified significantly in recent years, and narrowing the gap between the requirements of academia and the demands of industry remains a challenge. Moreover, many faculty members often struggle with knowing "how much" of a particular subject they should teach to their students and at what level. This small-scale, exploratory study seeks to uncover the existence of "threshold concepts" within Web development. Threshold concepts are the fundamental concepts which, once mastered, allow a learner to progress to a deeper understanding of a subject. An online questionnaire was sent out to 24 instructors within UK higher education institutions who teach Web development subjects. Nine participants responded to the questionnaire and interviews were conducted with five to discuss and expand on the responses provided, resulting in the identification of four areas that were perceived as difficult for students to grasp when learning Web development. Analysis of these areas suggests that threshold concepts do exist within the subject and we offer up two candidates for the field of Web development: "basic programming principles" and "decomposition and abstraction." Designing a curriculum based on threshold concepts and less on the latest methods, tools, and techniques can go a long way in helping students to become experts in their chosen discipline.
Association for Computing Machinery. 2 Penn Plaza Suite 701, New York, NY 10121. Tel: 800-342-6626; Tel: 212-626-0500; Fax: 212-944-1318; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A