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Scaffolding in a Higher Education Context

STANIER, Clare (2015) Scaffolding in a Higher Education Context. In: ICERI2015 Proceedings. 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation, 18 -20 November 2015, Seville, Spain, 2015 . IATED, Seville, Spain, pp. 7781-7790. ISBN 978-84-608-2657-6

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Abstract or description

This paper describes the experience of using scaffolding with Computing undergraduates. Scaffolding is a well established teaching and learning approach within the constructivist framework. In a scaffolding approach, students are provided with supports, known as scaffolds, which allow learners to extend their knowledge and go beyond their existing skills and capabilities. The scaffolds are then removed, in a process known as fading, allowing students to develop as independent learners. Most of the literature on scaffolding discusses scaffolding in the context of early learners or school based instruction and scaffolding is often used in a task based context where the emphasis is on mastering specific skills rather than higher order concepts. There is comparatively little literature which discusses the use of scaffolding in Higher Education. Using scaffolding in Higher Education presents a number of issues and challenges as teaching and learning in Higher Education emphasises the higher order skills of analysis, synthesis and evaluation which are more difficult to scaffold than task based practical skills and tertiary level students have different expectations about the teaching and learning process. A scaffolding approach was used to introduce undergraduates to a complex, unstructured problem which required them to explore a range of different issues. Hard and soft scaffolds were used to support students as they moved from entry level concepts to more advanced concepts and the scaffolds were faded as students began to consider strategic approaches rather than discrete tasks. The scaffolds were easy to design and the scaffolding approach proved a good mechanism for supporting students in the initial exploration of material. However, the process of fading was much more challenging, partly because the scaffolding was linked to the assessment. Based on our experience, we propose that scaffolding approaches in Higher Education should not be linked to assessment and should be designed to support metacognitive and strategic rather than task based skills.

Item Type: Book Chapter, Section or Conference Proceeding
Faculty: Previous Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Sciences > Computing
Event Title: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation ICERI2015 Proceedings
Event Location: Seville, Spain
Event Dates: 18 -20 November 2015
Depositing User: Clare STANIER
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2016 12:11
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 13:45

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