It's All About Scaffolding - But, You Knew That!

Submitted by Valerie Akuna on

To get the best image quality from a digital camera, you need to shoot in camera raw (.dng).  Raw files contain more detail compared to a jpg file.  I'd shown before and after images to my Photoshop class, and demonstrated how to use Camera Raw but students tended to accept the image basically as it stood.  

The goals of this assessment were to use the SAAC scientific method and integrate scaffolding into the process to generate an atmosphere of analysis, experimentation, and data recording by which students would improve image quality.  When the module was first offered, the results were weak. Students couldn't explain why they had made certain changes and their end products lacked the desired quality.  After reassessing my requirements, I realized that there was a lack of scaffolding in the Worksheet. This was redesigned with quite specific subheadings which guided the students through the process.  This module was offered a semester later with much improved results - see the attached description of the process for details.

Completed Full Cycle
Course Number
Attachment Size
catssp-2015.docx 15.52 KB
camerarawworksheet.docx 16.96 KB
possibleproblems.docx 11.69 KB
waterfallbefore.jpg 3.31 MB
waterfallafter.jpg 5.65 MB
Assessment of the Month
Average: 4.6 (8 votes)


Peter Turner Thu, 10/08/2015 - 12:00pm

Valerie, I love this CATS. It has it all the components of a good CATS project there. And I love the infusion of guideposts to help students progress to the outcome (aka scaffolding!). Curiously enough, Erik and I are working on Student Guides of a similar fashion for Quantitative Reasoning and SCGR (to be approved by SAAC).   But, I would like to see the results data comparison from last semester to this one. As Dr. Lara is so fond of saying, how do you know it improved? One more thing; where is that waterfall? It is beautiful!

Erik Huntsinger Thu, 10/08/2015 - 2:13pm

Valerie, I had no idea that you taught a photoshop class!  It takes quite a bit of knowledge about photograhic editing to pull this off, but the results are impressive.  Yes, scaffolding is important.  As discussed in the "7 Principles of Learning", students must master both component knowledge (i.e., knowledge of individuals parts of a project) and integration knowledge (integrating the components together, as in a project), and they tend to not be able to do both at the same time early on.  As they become more skillful at the component skills, you can slowly remove the scaffolding so they can focus on their integration skills.  This is a great example of that in practice!  Also appreciate the quantiatative results as shown in your full report.

Olga Tsoudis Sun, 10/18/2015 - 9:08am

Valerie, This is a completed cycle. You provided more tools for the students so that they could have success. The worksheet really assists the student in applying the concepts and learning the material. Olga

Heather Muns Tue, 10/20/2015 - 1:54pm

I love this.  I want to take your class!  This is a great activity that really helps students determine why they did something rather than just because "it looked better."  Well done.  

Bronwen Steele Tue, 10/20/2015 - 2:23pm

Valerie, this is amazing. Yes, investigation is a great way to go for learning. I like the scaffolding idea.