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Library Instruction & Research Support

This is a guide for faculty that provides resources and information related to information literacy that applies transfer and threshold concept scholarship, using the 2015 ACRL IL Framework.

What's New?

Information literacy has been reimagined for a new generation of students.  Critical thinking, paired with information literacy has introduced critical literacies to the information literacy landscape, while the ACRL Framework for IL adds metaliteracies, threshold concepts and teaching for transfer to the conversation.

No matter what "it" is called, helping students become engaged with research and develop a sense of inquiry is at the heart of library instruction at The University of Richmond.

Definitions:

Threshold Concepts

Meyer and Land point to problematic aspects of concepts for learners, what they conceive as threshold concepts, offering these,

“as akin to a portal, opening up a new and previously inaccessible way of thinking about something” (1). 

They see threshold concepts as “important but problematic factor[s] in the design of effective learning environments within the disciplines” without explicitly naming transfer despite titling their paper “linkages to ways of thinking and practicing within the disciplines” (12).  They outline threshold concepts’ characteristics as being

a) transformative;

b) probably irreversible;

c) integrative;

d) possibly often bounded; and

e) potentially troublesome (7-8).  

Meyer, Jan, and Ray Land. "Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge: An Introduction." Overcoming Barriers to Student Learning: Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge. New York: Routledge, 2006.

Teaching for Transfer

Perkins and Salomon, in “Teaching for Transfer,” establish transfer as

“integral to our expectations and aspirations for education” (22). 

They point out that “we want [students] to make thoughtful interpretations, [but] we can hardly expect transfer of a performance that has not been learned in the first place” (28).

To encourage learning transfer, there should be

"an emphasis on learning fundamental principles, on being mindful, on explicitly cuing learners to help them make connections that might otherwise elude them, and on mentoring and providing scaffolding" (Brent 2011, 416).

“[b]y thematizing the process of research itself—including not just library skills but also critical reading, critical thinking, and extended practice in writing the research-oriented first-year seminar can provide an environment in which students learn to transition into university-level academic literacy (Brent 2006, 34).

Brent, Doug. "Transfer, Transformation, and Rhetorical Knowledge: Insights from Transfer Theory." Journal of Business and Technical Communication 25.4 (2011): 396-420. 

---. "Using an Academic-Content Seminar to Engage Students with the Culture of Research." Journal of the First-Year Experience & Students in Transition 18.1 (2006): 29-60. 

Perkins, David N, and Gavriel Salomon. "Teaching for Transfer." Educational Leadership 46.1 (1988): 22-32.