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Bumpy Moments and Joyful Breakthroughs: The Place of Threshold Concepts in Academic Staff Development Programs About Online Learning and Teaching
Arts Papers and Journal Articles
  • Maria T Northcote, Avondale College of Higher Education
  • Daniel Reynaud, Avondale College of Higher Education
  • Peter Beamish, Avondale College of Higher Education
  • Tony Martin, Avondale College of Higher Education
  • Kevin P. Gosselin
Author Faculty (Discipline)
Document Type
Publication Date
ACCESS: Critical Perspectives on Communication, Cultural & Policy Studies
Volume Number
Issue Number
Page Numbers
Reportable Items
Peer Review
Before publication
Staff Classification
Field of Education
07 Education

In this article the authors address the situation in higher education of academic staff facing what they conceptualise as “bumpy moments and joyful breakthroughs” as they work through the process of becoming teachers in online learning environments. The article comes from a research project, which gathered and analysed data from systematic observations and questionnaires. The authors base their study on the known fact that while many academics have grounded experience in on-campus teaching and learning situations they do not necessarily have the skills required today for extending learning through on-line environments. The authors discover that when academics start teaching in online environments, or at least start facing the fact that there are requirements to do so, and they begin to explore this environment both personally and theoretically, “they encounter threshold concepts that can unsettle their most deeply held personal and pedagogical beliefs about what it means to teach and learn, and what it means to be an effective teacher and learner”. This paper gives an account of the research into these new conditions for educators and offers a set of recommendations “to inform the design of a multi-strategy academic staff learning program, which facilitated the development of online teaching skills”. [From Introduction to issue of ACCESS].


This article is published with permission of ACCESS: Critical Perspectives on Communication, Cultural & Policy Studies. This is the final version of the published manuscript which went through a double blind referee process.

This article may be accessed from the publisher, RMIT University, School of Art here.

Staff and Students of Avondale College may access the full-text of this article from library PRIMO search here.

Citation Information

Northcote, M. T., Reynaud, D., Beamish, P., Martin, T., & Gosselin, K. P. (2011). Bumpy moments and joyful breakthroughs: The place of threshold concepts in academic staff development programs about online learning and teaching. ACCESS: Critical Perspectives on Communication, Cultural & Policy Studies, 30(2), 75-89.