This paper discusses the impact of various class assignments and activities that build up on each other with the aim of increasing student motivation and student learning in a Quality Analysis course. Scaffolding is an instructional strategy that aims to reduce the amount of cognitive effort that students has to make to learn the materials by breaking down the material into more manageable components. Scaffolding provides a structure that assists students construct knowledge by building new knowledge and competencies upon their existing abilities. It is commonly used in writing and usually given in one the following three forms: 1) breaking up an assignment into smaller assignments, 2) keeping assignment constant but increasing the difficulty of materials, or 3) creating a scaffold with in a single assignment  . Bloom’s level of learning can guide the division of the work, in which the components introduced first target the lower level outcomes and the latter ones aim at upper levels. In this study, the first approach is tailored and critical thinking scaffolding is applied in a quality analysis course by structuring several elements to lead students to an assignment that is more complex.
The Quality Course discussed in this study is a graduate level course in the industrial engineering program at the ________. This course aims to provide students fundamental concepts in quality and statistical quality analysis. Topics include principles of quality control systems, process control concepts, control charts for variables and attributes, process capability analysis, measurement system analysis, specification and tolerances, and acceptance sampling plans. One of the course learning outcomes is to apply quality tools and methods in the context of Statistical Quality Control. The assignments and activities weaved into the course that contribute to this outcome, either directly or indirectly, are a library training provided to the class by a liaison librarian, a term paper, a factory visit, and a term project. With project work, the students are expected to demonstrate that they can apply quality tools and techniques covered in class to a real-life problem. The library training, the term paper and the factory visit are structured in sequence and the completion of each element is expected to contribute to student motivation and increase their enthusiasm for the project work. Furthermore, these building blocks aim to direct students’ focus on the essential features of the work required in the project assignment.
At the end of the semester, the impact assessment of critical thinking scaffolding will be studied by analyzing student feedback and end-of course surveys, quality of student assignments and course grades. In this analysis the focus will be on effects on student motivation and student learning. We will also discuss the lessons learned during implementation especially in the context of the application of this strategy in a Quality Analysis course.
 Schroeder C. (2011-2012). Scaffolded Assignments: Designing Structure and Support. Center for Instructional Professional Development, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Retrieved from http://www.hartnell.org/sites/default/files/llark/designingscaffoldedassignmentsbooklet_1_.pdf
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