Scaffolding a Program: Building Knowledge and Skills One Course at a Time

Concurrent Session 4

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Programs moving from content to competency-based learning requires program evaluation and assessment. Scaffolding of a Program assists in addressing what students are learning in terms of both knowledge and skills over the course of the program. In Competency based curriculum the competencies can assist in defining course objectives and scope.


Nearly fifteen years of experience in higher education administration working with adult learners and distance education including online, self-paced, and accelerated programs. Teaching and Research areas of interest include health informatics, health policy, health promotion, strategic planning, and strategic management. Margaret has earned at Doctor of Public Health degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. During the 2005-2006 academic years Margaret served as a Fulbright Grantee with the National Institute of Hygiene in Warsaw, Poland. Teaching Experience includes: Public Health, Healthcare Informatics, Strategic Planning, and Strategic Management. Research Experience includes: Health Behavior and Health Promotion. Certifications: Online Learning Consortium Online Teaching Certificate, Quality Matters Applying Rubric Certification and Quality Matters Peer Review Certification.

Extended Abstract

In Higher Education programs encounter challenges in student retention and success.  Many institutions are considering accreditation as a method of addressing these challenges. 

In turn, accreditation agencies are now requiring programs to be competency-based which requires more than general knowledge of a field. The conversion from content-based programs to competency-based programs also requires programs to move from Blooms Taxonomy to Millers Pyramid which requires more focus on the performance of skills. These changes require programs to scaffold courses, which allows students to build knowledge and skills throughout the course of the program vs. individual courses.

Scaffolding of courses requires cumulative assessment which assist in determining course offerings. In addition, scaffolding assists in determining the knowledge and skills gained in each individual course and reduces program gaps to improve student success and retention. The objectives and goals of this presentation are: 1) describe and explain the benefits of scaffolding, 2) explain the various methodologies of scaffolding a program, 3) present recommendation on addressing extensive course overlaps and gaps and 4) strategies to maintain scaffolding within a program. As an outcome of the session program faculty and directors will gain insight on how to assess their programs with evidence for improved student success and retention while addressing program and institutional standards.