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?
- Faculty get together with their syllabus.
- 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?
- Create a simple matrix/table:
- list all department level goals across the top
- list all courses down the side
- use a simple system to decide if the course contains a goal.
- 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.
- An assignment, activity, or project is strong evidence that the goal is part of the course.
- These same assignments and activities can be used to assess student learning later in the process.
- Look at sequence of courses and the typical path students take through the program.
- 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?
- Now you have a clearer snapshot of the program/department overall.
- 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?
- 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.