Friday, March 11, 2022

The Role Scaffolding Plays in Student Success and Faculty Satisfaction

Designing courses that engage online learners to achieve the highest mastery of course learning outcomes is at the forefront of online course development at The University of Arizona Global Campus. During a recent course redesign, the developers sought to incorporate opportunities for the students to learn the information through various modalities, including lectures, interactives, and videos. Additionally, the developers built scaffolded assignments into the course so students could build upon the knowledge they were gaining each week and ultimately master the course learning outcomes. Along with scaffolding the assignments for student success, the developers considered the faculty's ability to provide more detailed and meaningful feedback in a time efficient manner that would contribute to student mastery of course learning outcomes. By designing scaffolded assignments, the faculty can focus on specific elements each week and cumulatively build their feedback throughout the course to support student learning and growth.

This research project was conducted in order to take a deep dive into how incorporating these strategies in course design impacts student success and faculty satisfaction. Through a mixed-methods research project, the researchers will investigate the efficacy of scaffolded course design and how it contributes to both student success and faculty satisfaction. Specifically, the research will consider the following:

1.       How does presenting information through different modalities in an online asynchronous classroom impact student retention?

2.       How does intentional scaffolding of content impact performance on course learning outcomes?

3.       How do course tools that provide guided practice, reteaching, and scaffolding impact faculty's satisfaction when teaching?

4.       How does intentional scaffolding of content impact faculty’s ability to support student success?

5.       How do students perceive their own learning was impacted from the intentional scaffolding of the course content?

6.       How do students perceive the presentation of content in this course in relation to presentation of content in their other courses?

This research will inform decisions about curriculum development to support student success and retention across the university and throughout online higher education.

Jennifer Zaur (Principal Investigator)

Jennifer Zaur is an assistant professor in the Department of Education and Liberal Arts at the University of Arizona Global Campus. She has a BA in Elementary Education and a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Language and Literacy, both from Arizona State University. She has been an elementary school teacher, a reading interventionist, a teacher mentor, and an instructor of professional development workshops. For the last nine years, she has worked in higher education, focusing on student retention, curriculum development, and best practices in online learning.

Professor Jennifer Zaur

Dr. Amy Johnson (Co-Investigator)

Amy Johnson is a Core Faculty member for the Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education degree program in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Arizona Global Campus (UAGC). She earned a Doctorate of Early Childhood Development and Education from Texas Woman’s University, a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Chapman University, and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing from San Diego State University. Dr. Johnson began her career teaching elementary grades before transitioning into higher education in 2010. She has a heart for marginalized populations and has spent time in Cambodia and Mexico working with individuals who have been orphaned, trafficked, and traumatized.

Dr. Amy Johnson 

Dr. Allison Rief (Co-Investigator)

Dr. Allison Rief is an Associate Professor and Associate Director in the Academic Engagement Center at the University of Arizona Global Campus. Dr. Rief’s research interests include virtual professional learning communities, collaborative and reciprocal relationships with online associate faculty, course design with intentional scaffolding within online learning, and the effects of how flexibility and care impact student learning. Within higher education, she has had experience launching new programs and revising existing programs, developing courses, providing professional development, and working with collaborative teams across the university. Currently, Dr. Rief is a member of the Change Advisory Group, Student Conduct and Community Standards Committee, Forbes Center for Women’s Leadership, Turn the Tide, and oversees the partnership with No Excuses University schools. Beyond the programs she leads, she also serves on Doctoral committees and teaches the Doctoral In-Residence.

Dr. Allison Rief 

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