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Creating a Curriculum Map

A curriculum map is a way to show how program learning outcomes are developed across the entire curriculum. The college’s mapping template lists the program outcomes across the top of table and the required courses (in the order in which they are generally taken) down the left hand side of the table.

Then, faculty examine each outcome in the context of each course to determine if the course addresses the outcome in a meaningful way. There are three ways a course might be related to an outcome:

  • Introduce (I): Students first learn about key ideas, concepts or skills related to the outcome.
  • Develop (D): Students gain additional information related to the outcome. They may start to synthesize key ideas or skills and are expected to demonstrate their knowledge or ability at increasingly proficient levels.
  • Master (M): Students are expected to be able to demonstrate their ability to perform the outcome with a reasonably high level of independence and sophistication.

In building your map, place an I, D, or M in the table cell for each course that meaningfully addresses an outcome in one of those ways.

You can access the college’s curriculum map template below:

Curriculum Map Template

Once you’ve created your map, take a moment to assess the overall alignment of your curriculum with your learning outcomes. A “healthy” map means:

  • Each learning outcome (each column) is introduced, developed and mastered at least once across multiple courses. However, if each cell in the column is filled, it suggests redundancy and overlap related to that outcome in your curriculum. If few cells are filled or you are missing an I, D, or M, it’s likely the curriculum is not covering that outcome as completely as faculty would like.
  • Each course (each row) supports at least one and ideally more than one learning outcome. Meaningfully addressing all learning outcomes in a single course is difficult, unless it is an introductory survey course. But if a required course does not seem related to any program learning outcomes, it provides the opportunity to ask whether the course should be required or whether an important learning outcome has been missed.

Once your map is complete, you can use this to identify the best courses in which to offer signature assignments.

Signature assignments are typically best delivered in courses where Mastery is expected of students, since by this point students should have had the opportunity to develop and refine the skills and abilities related to the outcome.

last updated — Sep 29, 2010