Once the program learning outcomes and course level outcomes are created faculty should and staff must engage in curriculum mapping to determine where the program learning outcomes along with the Drexel Student Learning Priorities [DSLP’s] are embedded in the current course offerings. An illustrative curriculum map developed for the College of Arts and Sciences can be downloaded.
A curriculum map is a way to show how program learning outcomes are developed across curriculum. Faculty and staff examine each outcome in the context of each course to determine what outcome(s) and which DSLP(s) the course addresses in a meaningful way.
There are three ways a course might be related to an outcome:
- Introduce (I): Students first learn about key ideas, concepts or skills related to the outcome.
- Develop (D): Students gain additional information related to the outcome. They may start to synthesize key ideas or skills and are expected to demonstrate their knowledge or ability at increasingly proficient levels.
- Master (M): Students are expected to be able to demonstrate their ability to perform the outcome with a reasonably high level of independence and sophistication.
In building a map with this model you would place an I, a D, or an M in the table cell for each course that meaningfully addresses an outcome or a DSLP in one of those ways.
Once you’ve created your map, take a moment to assess the overall alignment of the curriculum with the course and program learning outcomes. A “healthy” map could be interpreted as:
- Each learning outcome is introduced, developed and mastered at least once across multiple courses. However, if each cell in the column is filled, it suggests redundancy and overlap related to that outcome in the curriculum. If few cells are completed or you are missing an I, D, or M, it’s likely the curriculum is not covering that outcome as completely as faculty and/or the department/program might like.
- Each course supports at least one and ideally more than one learning outcome and DSLP. Meaningfully addressing all learning outcomes in a single course is difficult. But if a required course does not seem related to any program learning outcomes, it provides the opportunity to ask whether the course should be required or whether an important learning outcome has been missed.
Curriculum mappings provide a quick reference snapshot of how individual courses are related to both the program learning outcomes and the Drexel University DSLP’s. They can also show the curricular emphasis given to each outcome and DSLP. Additionally, curriculum maps help facilitate faculty discussion about the extent to which the program currently addresses the existing learning outcomes and their alignment with the DSLP’s. It can also reveal when skills related to outcomes are introduced and what opportunities for application of that skill development, the curriculum provides. The sample map to follow is but one example of a university’s chemistry department map. Please note that this is purely illustrative and there are as many examples of curriculum map formatting as there are colleges.