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About Curriculum Maps

The Curriculum Map is a tool used by educational institutions to validate the cohesiveness of their programs’ curricula. By providing a simple tool that allows a Program to map connections between course offerings and goals, Outcomes Assessment can make curriculum planning more visible to external accreditation organizations, licensing agencies, and the state and federal government. Institutions are also able to use Curriculum Maps to address any shortcomings or overlaps in their current programs, and plan for future programs.

Elementary and secondary schools are able to use Curriculum Maps to ensure they are meeting national and state goals as well as meeting local school board requests for insight into the process of curriculum development. Elementary and secondary educators are subject to increasing pressure from initiatives like "No Child Left Behind" that require demonstrations of planning and coverage of many very specific criteria. Curriculum Maps assist schools and districts ensure they are meeting the learning needs of every student.

The Curriculum Map tool provides a Program with the means to record structured data in an easily readable and conventional format. The Curriculum Map can then be shared with multiple Blackboard Outcome users and stored for reference.

The Curriculum Map tool allows users to align courses and educational experiences to Goals, and display this information on a grid. The map can be created manually, or it can be automatically generated, populating all courses in a program on one axis, and the goals for that program on the other.

At the intersection of every row and column is a space to describe how a Course is supporting the Goals of the Program. Support of Goals is determined by the logical progression of concepts in each Course and move from being introduced, to being emphasized, being reinforced, and finally to being assessed. The definition of the Levels of Support may be user-defined and a description or explanation may also be included in the Comments section of the Levels of Support field to provide more information. These comments are included in the 360º View of the Curriculum Map.

Defining the Levels of Support

Each Unit may define its own levels of support within Curriculum Maps. These definitions apply to all Programs within a Unit. To change the Levels of Support definitions for a Unit, navigate to the Unit and click Settings located on the Features menu.

The example in the following table illustrates how a Curriculum Map for a Program called "Biology Major" is being developed by a curriculum committee. Courses in any Unit that have been made public can be added as well as any courses in the Biology Department, the Unit that owns the Program. Comments are added by committee members and appear in the 360º View of the Curriculum Map.

Curriculum Map Example
Curriculum Program Level Goals
Courses Lab Safety Lab Tech Scientific Method Analyzing Data Presenting Data Tech Writing Experiment Design
Intro to Biology N/A I I I I I I
Intro to Biology Lab I R R E E E E
Organic Chemistry N/A R R E R E A R E R E A R
Organic Chemistry Lab R E E E E E E
Genetics N/A E E E A E A E A E A
Genetics Lab R E E E E A E A E A E A
Human Physiology N/A N/A R R E A R E A R E A N/A
Molecular Biology N/A E A A E A E A A E A
Molecular Biology Lab E A E A A E A E A E A E A
Biochemistry N/A E A E A E A E A E A
Biochemistry Lab E A E A A A A A A
Independent Research A A A A A A A

N/A = This concept, idea, skill, technique, or method is not part of or is not covered by course material.

I (Introduce) = This concept, idea, skill, technique, or method is introduced in the course. A foundation is created covering its historical evolution and the rationale for its use.

E (Emphasize) = This concept, idea, skill, technique, or method is emphasized in the course and students are given opportunities or explore its use, importance, and limitations.

R (Reinforce) = This concept, idea, skill, technique, or method is reinforced in the course. Students are given opportunities to practice and perfect its use, apply it to novel situations, and determine the success or failure of the applications.

A (Assess) = This concept, idea, skill, technique, or method is assessed in the course. Students are given opportunities to demonstrate their understanding and application under a variety of situations and in a variety of assignments.