Curriculum Mapping

Why is it important?

Curriculum mapping can help you answer questions like: What core competencies/concepts of sub-fields are well covered? Where are there holes? What is our focus? What do we think is important?

Mapping also provides a framework for the department moving forward:

  • Helps with searches and new hires (they see where they may fit and you see the needs of the dept. more clearly)
  • Helps all faculty see where their work and courses fit into the bigger picture
  • Visiting faculty can teach to determined holes of core concepts/competencies regardless of the topic or focus of their course. “We would like you to cover …” or “We would like you to include a writing intensive assignment or have a rigorous analysis of text.”

What is the process?

  1. Faculty get together with their syllabus.
  2. Faculty ask questions about the relationship between the department offerings and their course learning goals: who has this in their course? Who has an assignment that addresses this? Where do we have holes?
  3. Create a simple matrix/table:
    1. list all department level goals across the top
    2. list all courses down the side
    3. use a simple system to decide if the course contains a goal.
      1. Faculty should ask themselves: is it a meaningful part of the course? Would students know it is? Note: this is not an assessment of a course or instructor. Focus instead on whether courses include key concepts or learning goals within a program of study.
      2. An assignment, activity, or project is strong evidence that the goal is part of the course.
        1. These same assignments and activities can be used to assess student learning later in the process.
  1. Look at sequence of courses and the typical path students take through the program.
    1. Does it build on skills over the course of the program? Do students need to learn certain skills or concepts at different times than they do currently?
  2. Now you have a clearer snapshot of the program/department overall.
    1. Review the results: what holes exist? What is working well? Do you want to do more of it? Should courses be sequenced differently? Should you adjust pre- or co-requisites?
    2. This provides the department or program with a plan for revising your curriculum or engaging in a deeper assessment of student learning.

Note: No single course will cover all learning goals! Instead, the goal is to get a clear sense of what is offered across the program and what you may choose to adjust based on the results.