Diving into the ACRL Framework: Engaging Graduate Students with Threshold Concepts
Librarians face many challenges when planning instruction for graduate students. Masters and PhD students typically arrive in their programs with wide ranging research skills and backgrounds. They may have assumptions about how research should be conducted or, conversely, they may feel out of their depth in the research of their discipline. The nature of threshold concepts—that they are transformative, integrative, irreversible, bounded, and troublesome—make them an ideal way to connect with students at the graduate level. Not only can librarians use these concepts to inform their teaching, but they can use threshold concepts to challenge and engage students in their thinking about how research is created, produced, and disseminated in their field(s). Join Brock University liaison librarians Jennifer Thiessen and Justine Cotton as they share how they have integrated concepts from the Framework into library workshops for graduate students. Jennifer has successfully used several of the threshold concepts to rework thinking among educators about critical thinking and credibility assessment. As co-instructor for a second-year PhD Humanities course, Justine has incorporated the threshold concepts into the design of three library workshops on the topics of resource discovery, information management, and publishing. While the instructional content does not change significantly, incorporating threshold concepts paves the way for deeper understanding, provocative discussions, and a more collegial atmosphere.
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