Course Redesign: Scaffolding and Collaboration

Concurrent Session 2

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

This session will explore the redevelopment of an undergraduate course at The University of Arizona Global Campus. Specifically, we will look at collaboration with associate faculty during course redesign and how scaffolding supports student success.


Dr. 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 in the Cajon Valley School District. She transitioned into higher education in 2010 and enjoys the diversity of University of Arizona Global Campus students. Dr. Johnson lives in the Ft. Worth, Texas, area with her husband and two daughters.
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 been an elementary school teacher, a reading interventionist, teacher mentor, and an instructor of professional development workshops. For the last eight years she has worked in higher education focusing on student retention, curriculum development and best practices in online learning.
Dr. Allison Rief is an Associate Professor and Associate Director in the Academic Engagement Center at the University of Arizona Global Campus. Allison earned a Doctorate of Education with a specialization in Teacher Education in Multicultural Societies from the University of Southern California; a Master of Education from the University of California, Los Angeles; and a Bachelor of Arts in Literatures in English at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Rief began her career as an elementary and preschool teacher. She maintains a National Board Certification and was awarded the Teacher of the Year for both the Los Angeles Unified School District and Los Angeles County. 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.

Extended Abstract

Designing courses that engage online learners to achieve the highest level of mastery of course learning outcomes is at the forefront of online course development at The University of Arizona Global Campus. In Spring 2021, full-time faculty in the Department of Education and Liberal Arts had the opportunity to redesign one of their core courses, ECD315: Curriculum Planning and Design for Early Learners. In the online classroom, the presentation of learning activities, guidance, and assignments holds a teaching role. Just as on-ground teachers must reflect on their teaching and student learning, online teachers must reflect upon course content. “Reflective teaching is a process where teachers think over their teaching practices, analyze how something was taught and how the practice might be improved or changed for better learning outcomes” (Mathew et al., 2017, p. 127). This course redesign sought to use reflection to strengthen the course material.

Additionally, during the redesign, the full-time faculty connected with associate faculty familiar with the course to seek their feedback.  Adjunct faculty members are valuable members of higher education, and universities should provide them with “opportunities to participate in decision-making” and providing input in curriculum and course design (Ridge & Ritt, 2017, p. 58). Both the reflection and collaboration provided the opportunity for a more meaningful and scaffolded course to support student success.

Since this was the redevelopment of an existing course, the subject matter experts utilized existing data from the class to inform their approach. This data allowed the subject matter experts to see where the course needed more scaffolded support for students to master the course learning outcomes.

Throughout this presentation, we will explore this process and highlight specific examples of how scaffolding and collaboration allowed for redeveloping a course that would increase student mastery of learning outcomes. Similarly, the co-construction of content by full-time and adjunct instructors alike sought to deepen the partnership between these groups while increasing the self-efficacy and sense of connection to the university for the participating adjunct instructors. Through intentional collaboration, adjunct faculty partner as key stakeholders (Ridge & Ritt, 2017).

Participants will engage in conversations and hands-on opportunities with their peers and presenters to learn about scaffolding courses. Participants will leave the session with practical strategies that can be used immediately for developing comprehensive and effective courses and curriculum.


Mathew, P., Mathew, P., & Peechattu, P. J. (2017). Reflective practices: A means to teacher development. Asia Pacific Journal of Contemporary Education and Communication Technology, 3(1), 126-131.

Ridge, A., & Ritt, E. (2017). Adjunct faculty as key stakeholders in distance education. Journal of Faculty Development, 31(2), 57–62.