B.Sc. Curriculum Mapping Project
In Fall 2016 and Winter 2017 the BSc Degree program undertook a large-scale curriculum mapping initiative. The goal of this initiative was to collect information on how each course, across all the majors contributes to the B.Sc. program learning outcomes and the associated majors.
In 2013, the B.Sc. became the first degree program on campus to have a complete set of learning outcomes, which articulate the desired skills, knowledge and values of a B.Sc. graduate. Outcomes serve as aspirational goals that guide revisions and improvements to our majors. As such they are an essential element of the Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP), which all departments undertake on a cyclical basis.
For Learning Outcomes to be useful, we needed to ask how our current majors stack up against these outcomes – a kind of gap analysis – so as to reveal our strengths and areas needing further review in our curriculum. The Curriculum Mapping Project aimed to accomplish this very goal by mapping each course against the learning outcomes, documenting the modes of instruction, assessment, and degree of mastery expected of students. With learning outcomes in place for the degree and for individual majors, the time was right to undertake this project.
The mapping project has had multiple benefits. It provided a clear sense of the progression of skills and knowledge developed within any given major. It highlighted outcomes that were under-represented, poorly times or over-represented, and generated useful discussion about what the majors ought to achieve and how. It has also assisted departmentsin making decisions about course needs, redundancies, and allocation of resources.
How the survey was completed
The mapping project was accomplished through a survey, which was sent to one instructor for each core and restricted elective course in the B.Sc.. This occured in either the fall 2016 or winter 2017 semester, depending on when the course was offered. The designated person completed the survey (with assistance of the teaching team). Because of its comprehensive nature, the survey took a bit of time to complete (40-50 minutes) but it was worth the investment compared to the alternative of running a separate survey for each major.
The curriculum mapping information was collected through a Qualtrics survey. Each survey was customized using logic to ensure that only questions for the applicable majors were included.
During the fall semester the survey was open from November 23rd – December 21st.
In the winter semester the survey was open from February 1st – March 15th.
Q: How long will the survey take?
A: It depends! However for those who have already completed the survey, on average it has taken 25 - 30mins.
Q: Can I stop and return to the survey?
A: Yes! But, you will need to return to the survey using the same browser on the same computer you first accessed the survey.
Q: How do I complete multiple surveys?
A: Since a global link is being used, you will need to complete one survey before starting another within the same browser. Once you have completed the survey for your first course, return back to the link on this page to start your next course.
Q: What are the benefits of curriculum mapping?
A: See above for BSc specifics. In general, mapping curriculum provides data which can drive discussions that support curriculum decision making processes. It opens up conversations about how courses work together throughout a program and across individual years to identify gaps and redundancies that can be addressed through curriculum committees. As part of this process, each curriculum committee within the BSc will receive a customized report detailing the instructional methods, assessment methods, learning outcome sequencing, and high impact practices within the program.
Q: What happens after curriculum mapping?
A: Curriculum mapping is often used as part of ongoing continuous improvement initiatives. The Educational Development team within Open Learning and Educational Support will be available to offer support to departments after the data collection phase to help identify and implement changes that the departments wish to make.
Q: Is my course being evaluated?
A: No! Curriculum mapping processes understand that each course plays a unique role within a curricula and looks to identify how all the courses and work together to best suit student learning.
Q: Who will have access to the course data?
A: The Educational Development team supporting this process will have access to the data on a secure server to develop reports for curriculum committees and the BSc AVPAs office. All information will be used for continuous improvement process and none will be shared
publically with student, parents, or other faculty members outside of the relevant majors / curriculum committees.
Q: What does term x mean?
A: If you are unsure of a term when working through the survey, please feel free to contact Clarke or Jenn (see the bottom of the page for their contact information).
Q: What if I am using an innovative instructional method not included in the list provided in the survey?
A: (a) That’s awesome! (b) Capture that information using the other selections within the instructional method or assessment section. A catch-all text box is also provided at the end of the survey for you to write in anything else that is relevant about your course.
If you have any questions about the survey itself please feel free to contact Jennifer Reniers or Clarke Mathany.
The University's central curriculum mapping website highlights the role and value curriculum mapping adds to a course or program. On the site, you will find tools to help with the curriculum mapping process including questions to help lead and initiate curriculum mapping exercises.
The University of Guelph developed its own curriculum mapping tool, Curricket. This tool involves a questionnaire for each instructor of the courses involved in the exercise. Common questions are then asked to each instructor regarding where and how various learning outcomes are delivered and assessed within their course. The data from each instructor is then tabulated and a report is produced. An example report is available here.