CAFÉ’s Curriculum Planning & Development Coordinators are always available to provide support in curriculum review projects. At MacEwan, curriculum review is understood to be a process in which a variety of experts examine an academic program, both as a whole and in its constituent parts (individual courses), to assess its currency, coherence and overall effectiveness in terms of student learning and achievement. Since faculty members of a given department are the recognized experts in the academic program being reviewed, they normally lead and perform curriculum reviews.
A curriculum review can involve anywhere from a few to dozens of courses, and can last anywhere from one term to two calendar years, depending on the goals of the faculty members involved. CAFE’s curriculum team can benefit review projects through their extensive knowledge of and experience with curriculum assessment tools and strategies, by acting as objective, third-party consultants and facilitators, by managing efficient reviews that will not stall or lose momentum, by guiding reviews through institutional approval processes, and more.
MacEwan’s recommended guidelines to curriculum review are based on best practices among universities across Canada and have been endorsed by MacEwan’s Academic Governance Council. Danny Braun and Carolyn Ives are available to customize these guidelines to accommodate projects of any scope, size, or timeline.
Curriculum maps are one powerful tool for assessing curriculum. In a group session facilitated by the Curriculum team, faculty members collaborate in creating a spreadsheet that maps their program’s learning outcomes (PLOs) against their courses in order to assess whether their courses are in fact helping students achieve the program’s PLOs. This affords important insight into where gaps may exist within and between courses when they are considered from the perspective of the program’s curriculum goals. Although the sample below is for a two-year program, curriculum maps may be used for any length of program, and they may be used to map courses against not only program-level outcomes, but also specific competencies, outcomes provided by outside accreditation bodies, or many other kinds of goals or outcomes.
I = Introduced; D = Developed; M = Mastered
|Course||PLO 1||PLO 2||PLO 3||PLO 4||PLO 5||PLO 6|
Direct assessment of student learning is a means of measuring student achievement of program-level learning outcomes through an examination of student work. Combined with indirect assessment (such as employer, student, and graduate surveys and focus groups), direct assessment can reveal important information about a program’s curriculum, including strengths and potential gaps. The Curriculum team is available to help you create a direct assessment strategy as part of your overall curriculum review plan—or simply to help you determine where specific kinds of learning are happening within your program.