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Setting the Stage for High Structure Courses

Poster 15

5/21/24, 9:30 PM

High structure courses are known to benefit student learning; here, we introduce materials to orient students to this format and prepare them for success.

Stefanie Chen

North Carolina State University


High Structure, Scaffold, Metacognition

Studies have shown that high structure courses benefit student learning, particularly for those from underrepresented backgrounds. However, it is unclear if students understand the importance of frequent assignments to their learning. We collaborated with our learning technology office to develop short reflective videos that introduce students to the high structure format, its benefits, and how to scaffold workload. These videos are designed for students to interact with during the first few weeks of the course to provide students with the appropriate context to be successful and embrace the high structure format.

Hear it from the author:

Setting the Stage for High Structure Courses


Hello, and welcome to our poster on supporting high structure courses! These would be courses where,
as opposed to a class that has 2 or 3 exams, there's interaction with the course every single week.
There's activities the students need to perform and turn in and get feedback on. And we were noticing
that our students were not familiar with this structure and were really struggling to keep up with the
course and to understand the learning goals associated with that.
So we were able to partner with our learning technology office on campus, and we produced several
forms of media, including some animated videos and some teaching assistant videos, that are short
videos that we're then able to share with students throughout the course at various times that really
explain the high structure, why that's important for their learning, and how they should approach it to
be successful.
And some of these videos can be widely used explaining high structure. We hope that they might fit in
your course. And then some, like the TA videos, are just really quick phone style, TikTok style that tell
the students about assignments right before they're due to give them some reminders and some
strategies for success. We call them pro tips videos. To learn more about the videos and see them and
learn more about the project, we hope that you'll visit our website seen on the QR. Code here on the
poster, and we hope you can use these resources!

Eddy, S.L. & Hogan, K.A. (2017). Getting Under the Hood: How and for Whom Does Increasing Course Structure Work? CBE—Life Sciences Education, 13(3). 

Freeman, S., Haak, D., & Wenderoth, M.P. (2011). Increased Course Structure Improves Performance in Introductory Biology. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 10(2), 175–186. 

Crimmins, M.T. & Midkiff, B. (2017). High Structure Active Learning Pedagogy for the Teaching of Organic Chemistry: Assessing the Impact on Academic Outcomes. Journal of Chemical Education, 94(4), 429–438. 

Bae, C.L., Therriault, D.J., & Redifer, J.L. (2019). Investigating the testing effect: Retrieval as a characteristic of effective study strategies. Learning and Instruction, 60, 206-214.

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