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October 18, 2019

Education expert to discuss student engagement methods during SVSU talk

An expert in education will discuss concepts aimed at engaging learners in new ways during her visit to Saginaw Valley State University later this month.

Elizabeth Wardle — director of the Howe Center for Writing Excellence at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio — will explain the roles of liminal spaces and threshold concepts in education during her SVSU presentation Thursday, Oct. 24, at 6:30 p.m., in Gilbertson Hall, room GS 202. The event is free and open to the public.

Threshold concepts are critical topics to master in order for continued learning and participation to occur within a classroom. Wardle's presentation, titled "Engaging Learners in Liminal Spaces," will examine how these concepts work in liminal spaces, which are educational settings — including classrooms — designed to help students learn through collaborating with peers and teachers.

She will explain threshold concepts, discuss the nature of student learning blocks — as described through the threshold concepts framework — as well as explore the role of liminality in the learning process. She also will explain how to use these concepts to better engage students.

Wardle will focus on topics from her award-winning collection of insights, a book titled "Naming What We Know." Part of the book defines 37 threshold concepts, each of which are written by researchers and teachers who participated in a collaborative online discussion led by the book’s editors, including Wardle.

Wardle is a distinguished professor of written communication at Miami University. Her research focuses on first-year composition, knowledge transfer, threshold concepts and writing in the disciplines. She has also co-authored four editions of the textbook "Writing about Writing" with Doug Downs, a Montana State University educator.

Wardle's appearance is part of SVSU's annual Visiting Scholars and Artists speaker series. She will serve as an SVSU Dow Visiting Scholar.