Thinking about program level curriculum

With the kind support from Andrea Han of CTLT, 8 team-members met to begin an ongoing discussion about program-level curriculum. Two principal objectives were (1) to kick-start the project as a whole by getting as many team-members as possible together at the start of the 2017 school year, and (2) to begin mapping common conceptual or skills-related learning threads that will occur throughout the 3-year EES program.

Team workshop about curriculum

Here we see the group attempting to articulate learning outcomes for specific courses under the banner of individual “program level outcomes”. This proved challenging, and led to several useful discussions. For example, it may be that this kind of mapping may be more appropriate for curriculum “review” rather than what we are doing here which is curriculum “design” – from scratch.

At this early stage of curriculum design, we do not yet have anything specific to map onto those program-level outcomes. In contrast, in a program “review” situation, there is an existing suite of courses that can be mapped onto the objectives, or pedagogic strategies, or assessment practices, or whatever.

As a next step, we will try having course authors (as experts in their disciplines) articulate key concepts and skills for each course WITHOUT regard for overarching goals. Then we can look for threads, and begin mapping results onto overarching outcomes later. This could be thought of as “bottom up” as opposed to “top down” thinking. Both will be important, and this first workshop was very helpful for getting the thinking started. We will most likely benefit from a sort of “yin and yang” approach that incorporates both perspectives.

Andrea also exposed us to several different types of “mappings” and provided an excellent “curriculum mapping primer” written by staff at CTLT. It’s contents are:

  • What is curriculum mapping and why do it?
  • Data which can be included in curriculum mapping
  • Approaches for collecting the data
  • Questions to ask yourself to help organize the curriculum mapping process
  • Relevant Resources (a short bibliography)
  • Appendix 1: Curriculum map examples
  • Appendix 2: Example of a survey to instructors, less details
  • Appendix 3: Example of a survey to instructors, more details

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