Creating a Curriculum Map

A curriculum map is a way to show how program learning outcomes are developed across the entire curriculum. To develop your map:

  1. Use the college's curriculum map template (PDF) to list the program outcomes across the top of a table and all required program courses (in the order in which they are generally taken) down the left-hand side of the table.
  2. As a faculty, examine each outcome in the context of each course to determine if the course addresses the outcome in a meaningful way. There are 3 ways a course might be related to an outcome:
  3. Introduce (I): Students first learn about key ideas, concepts or skills related to the outcome. This usually happens at a general or very basic level, such as learning one idea or concept related to the broader outcome.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 your map, place an I, D, M in the table cell for each course that meaningfully assesses something related to the outcome at one of those levels. Simply touching on a topic is not sufficient; the topic related to the outcome should be covered in some depth and assessed (e.g., by a paper, text, presentation) in some way in the class.

You can access the college’s curriculum map template below:

Curriculum Map Template (PDF | MS Word)

Once you’ve created your map, take a moment to assess the overall alignment of your curriculum with your learning outcomes. A “healthy” map looks like the following:

  • Each learning outcome (each column) is introduced, developed and mastered at least once across multiple courses. Note: 1) if every cell in the column is filled, it suggests you might be over-covering that outcome in your curriculum; 2) if few cells are filled or you are missing an I, D, or M, it suggests the curriculum might not be covering the outcome as completely as faculty would like.
  • Each course (each row) supports at least one and ideally more than one learning outcome. Meaningfully addressing all learning outcomes in a single course is difficult, unless it is at an introductory level in a survey course. If a required course does not seem related to any program learning outcomes, you might ask whether the course still should be required or whether an important learning outcome has been missed.

Your completed map has multiple important uses. You can use it to:

  1. Identify the courses in which to offer signature assignments. It is generally best to assess student learning in courses where you expect them to demonstrate mastery of any outcome, since by this point students should have had the opportunity to develop and refine the skills and abilities related to the outcome.
  2. Help interpret program data on candidate performance. If you find candidates struggling with a particular outcome, faculty can use the curriculum map to inform a discussion of which course might be appropriate for increasing student related to that outcome.