Generalization; transfer; linguistic discourse analysis; fyc


This study examines how and if threshold concepts enable expansive learning and generalization. Expansive learning and generalization are part of the highly contested conceptions of transfer, and these specific conceptions offer a more complex conception of transfer that deals with knowledge transformation (Tuomi-Gr?hn and Engestr?m, Beach). One way that we can see expansive learning and generalization transform knowledge is through the teaching of threshold concepts. In the last decade, there has been a movement toward using threshold concepts in FYC*s that take up writing studies as their curricula (Wardle and Downs, Dew). Even though using threshold concepts seems to be one interesting way of specifically studying expansive learning and generalization, we have no studies examining whether or not teaching threshold concepts encourages expansive learning. The studies we do have do not seem to offer any methodologies that would enable us to study threshold concepts and generalization. Past methods, such as case studies, interviews, and surveys have included small sample sizes to collect their data from (Wardle, Dively and Nelms, Nowacek). A lot of the transfer data does not actually focus on the writing or the texts themselves or the reoccurring moves that students use in those texts. Linguistic discourse analysis offers a promising avenue for examining the generalization of threshold concepts. Using research methods like linguistic discourse analysis in marriage with the best qualitative methods of transfer, like case studies or interviews, could allow for a larger sample size of data collection and allows for us to see how students use these threshold concepts in their writing. Through linguistic discourse analysis and interviews, this study suggests that students* perceptions of writing change after being introduced to some threshold concepts from the Writing About Writing curriculum. The threshold concepts that students are presented to in the Writing About Writing curriculum at UCF tackles misconceptions and helps students change how they view writing. Once they can change this view, they are able to generalize the knowledge they have into their own writing. If students do not use the exact terminology from the curriculum, they are able to generalize those threshold concepts through using their own language or even through analogies.


If this is your thesis or dissertation, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at

Graduation Date





Wardle, Elizabeth


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities


Writing and Rhetoric








Release Date

August 2015

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)


Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities