The curriculum map presents a visualization of the designed curriculum, and assessment milestones help to provide information on the results or effect of the delivered curriculum on the students’ learning. Student surveys add to the assessment narrative by providing insight into the experienced curriculum, which can also be enhanced by incorporating faculty, student supervisor and employer surveys to provide data on the learning as demonstrated by the student.
In the map matrix, courses and program requirements* that comprise a curriculum are linked to program outcome(s) at different developmental levels depending on the emphasis of that outcome in the course. An outcome(s) can:
- Introduce: The course or program requirement introduces a concept relevant to the program outcome, and learning activities focus on basic knowledge and skills which support the particular student learning outcome. It may be that only one (or a few) aspect(s) of the program outcome (especially if it is complex) is addressed in the given course.
- Reinforce: The course or requirement strengthens, supports and reinforces the development of the knowledge and skills necessary for optimal achievement of the program outcome in latter courses. Foundational knowledge of the outcome was previously introduced through other course work.
- Emphasize: The course or requirement emphasizes opportunities for the student to integrate all the knowledge and skills and attitudes necessary for mastery of the outcome at the end of the course. Instructional and learning activities in the course focus on using the skills tied to the outcome in multiple contexts and at multiple levels of complexity. The outcome was previously introduced and reinforced through various activities and opportunities in other courses in the curriculum.
By indicating where the SLOs and courses or experiences intersect, a curriculum map shows where and how program outcomes are addressed in the curriculum.
This mechanism promotes continuous program improvement by helping faculty:
- identify where outcomes are covered in a curriculum,
- identify potential gaps in the curriculum (where a course is not addressing any outcome, or an outcome is not supported within the curriculum),
- identify whether the outcomes need modification,
- identify best opportunities for assessment, and/or
- start a discussion of potential changes to the curriculum.
An example of a curriculum map for a typical undergraduate program is provided below (click image for a larger version that you can edit for your particular program):
Models of curriculum maps from two graduate programs at URI:
Please click here for a brief handout which further explains curriculum mapping.
Much of this information was adapted from additional resources, which are listed below:
- University of Hawaii at Manoa
- University of West Florida’s Center for University Teaching, Learning, and Assessment