May 31, 2017

Course and Curriculum Mapping

One of the goals of Students as Scholars is to help faculty integrate the Students as Scholars Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) into courses at the three levels: Discovery of Scholarship, Scholarly Inquiry, and RS: Creation of Scholarship.  One of the most useful tools we've found for this is the course or curriculum map.  Hopefully, you can adapt this tool for other curriculum division.

The term "Backwards Design" means designing your course with the goals for your students as the main focus. You begin by thinking about what you want your students to know and to be able to do by the time that they pass your class. The curriculum map is one way of thinking through your course backwards.

Below, we give you step by step instructions for filling out course and curriculum maps.

SaS-Learning-Outcomes-2016

Quick links to files

Course map templates (use tabs to see Course Map Templates (RS, Inquiry, Discovery))
Full Curriculum (multiple courses at multiple levels) Map: Full Curriculum Map


Course Mapping, Step-by-Step

The goal of course mapping is to match the activities and assignments in a single class to the learning outcomes.

1. Gather your materials:

  • Full Curriculum Map with the Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for the intended course level (see above for quick links)
  • Syllabus, including descriptions of students activities (assignments, papers, tests, etc)

2.    Down the left side, make a list of the all of the course activities, using the current syllabus.

3.    For each activity, mark an X in the column of the appropriate SLO.

4.    Examine your course map to see if your class as designed meets the SLOs for the intended level, or if you need to make adjustments.

  • Are there are course activities that emphasize each of the required SLOs?
  • Are there SLOs that are not currently covered by the course activities?
  • Are there SLOs that stand out as being heavily covered? Are these aligned with your goals for the class? Now is the time to decide which of the choice SLOs you will pick for this class.

5.    Adjust the course map to show the ideal mapping of the course.

  • Which activities can you remove because they are not meeting your SLOs?
  • Which activities can be adjusted to meet the course SLOs?
  • Which activities might you need to add to the course to round out the student’s experience to meet the SLOs?

6.    Using the experience of team members, resources in your discipline, and books and websites from the OSCAR toolbox, adjust the syllabus and course plan to meet the expected SLOs.

Extensions of this activity

  • Include additional student learning outcomes: Course content, Mason Core, departmental, those required by your accrediting body. This will give you a general picture of what you can expect to accomplish in your course.

Curriculum Mapping, Step-by-Step

The goal of curriculum mapping is to match the learning outcomes in all of the classes in a single curriculum (such as a degree program) to the overall learning outcomes for the entire program. This allows you to see the relationship between your learning outcomes and the work that the students do in the classes, and helps to you to identify strengths and gaps in your program.

1. Gather your materials:

  • Full Curriculum Map with the Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
  • Advising sheet or other description of undergraduate program. You should know at least which courses are required, and in what order students are required (supposed?) to take them. If you are targeting a specific program within a department for integration with SaS student learning outcomes, include those courses.
  • Syllabi for the required and targeted courses, including descriptions of students' activities (assignments, papers, tests, etc)

2.    Down the left side, make a list of the all of the courses.

3.    For each course, using the syllabi, mark an X in the column of the appropriate SLO.

4.    Examine your current curriculum map to see if your classes already meet the requirements for the intended levels, or if you need to make adjustments.

  • Are there are courses that emphasize each of the targeted SLOs?
  • Are there SLOs that are not currently covered by the courses?
  • Are there additional SLOs, are there ones that stand out as being heavily covered?  Are these aligned with the goals you want to have for the classes? Now is the time to decide which of the additionals SLOs you will pick for each class.

5.    Using another color or a new course map, adjust the course map to show the ideal mapping of the course.

  • Which courses need to be modified to meet the  SLOs?
  • Which activities might you need to add to the course to round out the student’s experience to meet the SLOs?

6.    Using the experience of team members, resources in your discipline, and books and websites from the OSCAR toolbox, adjust the syllabi and course plans to meet the expected SLOs.

Extensions of this activity

  • Include additional student learning outcomes: Course content, Mason Core, departmental, those required by your accrediting body. This will give you a general picture of what you can expect to accomplish in your courses.

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