Renewing first year curriculum for social sciences and humanities in the context of discipline threshold standards

(Australian Office of Learning and Teaching Grant, 2013-2015)

In the Beginning: Revitalising First Year Curriculum

Lecturers teaching into the first year are not only introducing their students to studying at university, but they are also introducing them to the study of their discipline.  This OLT funded project asked the question “If we want students to reach threshold learning outcomes by the time they graduate, what do we need them to learn in first year?” This led to the follow up questions of “What barriers or bottlenecks might there be to them learning those skills and concepts?” and “What strategies should we use to help them develop these skills and capabilities?”  Research on transition pedagogy, threshold concepts and decoding the disciplines was combined with research on standards and learning outcomes to inform the project outcomes.

Project website:

Project final report:

The project website contains a wide range of resources for the disciplines of English, geography, history, politics and sociology as well as a framework for designing first year curricula.


Project Leader: Theda Thomas, Australian Catholic University

Project Team:

  • Pamela Allen, University of Tasmania,
  • Jennifer Clark, University of New England (now at University of Adelaide),
  • Bronwyn Cole, Western Sydney University,
  • Adrian Jones, Latrobe University,
  • Jill Lawrence, University of Southern Queensland,
  •  Lynette Sheridan Burns, Western Sydney University,
  • Joy Wallace, Charles Sturt University

Project Officer: Julie Wilmot, Australian Catholic University