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Curriculum maps are tools that can be used at any stage in the curriculum cycle–whether developing, reviewing or revising curriculum. They provide a picture, a graphical description or a synopsis of curriculum components that can be used to encourage dialogue and help faculty ensure that learning experiences are aligned and lead to the achievement of program learning outcomes. 

The Glossary of Educational Reform defines curriculum mapping as follows.  “Curriculum mapping is the process indexing or diagraming a curriculum to identify and address academic gaps, redundancies, and misalignments for purposes of improving the overall coherence of a course of study and, by extension, its effectiveness (a curriculum, in the sense that the term is typically used by educators, encompasses everything that teachers teach to students in a school or course, including the instructional materials and techniques they use).”  You can read more at http://edglossary.org/curriculum-mapping/.

When planning or revising a course it is important to know how this course will work with the other courses in the program to help learners achieve the program learning outcomes. Curriculum maps are often used to help situate a course within the broader program of study.

More specifically, a program level curriculum map can be used to:

  • help faculty, learners and others (situate courses and learning experiences within the larger curriculum
  • act as a "discussion starter" to promote dialogue about the program
  • document curriculum and the inclusion of program learning outcomes (or other standards) for accrediting/credentialing groups
  • identify opportunities in the program for learners to demonstrate learning outcomes at the required level
  • serve as a planning tool to identify the connections between curriculum components
  • ensure that all program standards are developed within the program
  • identify paths that learners can follow to meet graduation requirements
  • provide an overview of the curriculum for the total program

On her Curriculum Mapping 101 site, Janet Hale provides more information about curriculum maps and their use. While written for K-12 schools, the principles are applicable to all levels of education.

 
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