Seminar on “curriculum mapping”
On 23 August 2019, EDUDL+ organised a seminar on digital forms of visualisation for curricula in cooperation with the Centre for Teaching Support at the University of Lausanne. Members of executive management, course leaders, lecturers, assistants and administrative staff worked out the main features of an environment such as this over one day. The content of the seminar concentrated on the content to be presented, how it should be managed, which stakeholders are involved and the specific usefulness of such an application in the university environment.
What does curriculum mapping mean?
Curriculum mapping is a form of “cartography” for a curriculum, i.e. the detailed presentation of a syllabus. As is the case with a digital map, it should be possible to hide or show the information required so that users are only presented with items of interest to them.
Which methods were used?
The course of the seminar was based on “design thinking” methods.
In the first phase, the “De Bono’s thinking cap” technique was deployed. The objective was to find out what is required to convince students, lecturers, those responsible for courses, and administrative staff, i.e. the various stakeholder groups, of the value of such a curriculum environment. Participants were divided into groups. Each group concentrated on either the perspective of students, lecturers, those responsible for courses, or the administrative employees. The subsequent conflation of results enabled those taking part to understand other points of view and requirements and therefore the obtain an overview.
In the second phase, each participant formulated three ideas to follow on from this with regard to the overall concept they had just put together. These ideas were then added to by five other member of the group with the help of “brain-writing” methods.
In the third phase, each participant selected one of their three ideas added to by other people in the group in the second phase, and then presented this again to the other group members in a “speed dating” format. They gave feedback on the idea. The groups for creating the prototype were then defined based on these ideas: all participants with similar ideas were put together in a team.
In the fourth phase, the main features of a prototype were defined. Each group had material available to make the form of presentation and the navigation of this prototype visible.
To conclude the seminar, each group presented their results in the plenum.
What are the results?
- General considerations on the most suitable way for such an application to be embedded in an institutional, multilingual information system.
- Specific deliberations with regard to the design of such a programme.
Curriculum mapping simplifies the choice of education and possible options for (future) students and gives them an overview of the skills they will acquire. Besides this, elements such as ECTS points, learning goals for the modules, the time and educational aspects of the study, and their evaluation by students are visualised and clearly presented.
Curriculum mapping makes it easier for lecturers to develop a coherent syllabus. The necessary requirements can therefore be defined, duplication between modules avoided and additional learning goals set. The mapping process also promotes cooperation.
For those responsible for education, curriculum mapping enables search and filter functions, an attractive presentation of all courses, and the embedding of education in an overall as well as a national and European context. It therefore facilitates education management and its contents.
For administrative staff, the application is a place where information on education is kept fully up to date at all times.
What are the next steps?
The EDUDL+- service at the Swiss Distance University Institute and the Centre for Teaching Support at the University of Lausanne are continuing their cooperation on this topic. The results of the seminars point to the building of a prototype for a digital environment of this kind, following a phase of detailed analysis and any reformulation of the suggestions. This model will then serve as a basis for a broad call to tender in the academic community.
Other follow-up measures are planned and partly depend on the feedback of other institutes, particularly the formulation of a white paper.