- An alignment analysis where the courses in the major/degree program are aligned with the program’s learning objectives
- A detailed course learning objective analysis, where the degree to which each program objective is addressed is considered for each of the courses
- A broader alignment analysis where courses from other departments and programs that are required within the major/degree program are considered within the context of the program learning goals and objectives.
- The development of the “final” curriculum map, which also includes the mechanisms by which various objectives will be assessed, and the mechanisms by which programs will collaborate to assess cognate courses, ILCs, etc. (more on this will be posted in the near future)
|ABC 100||ABC 101||ABC 200||ABC 300||ABC 400|
|ABC 100||ABC 101||ABC 200||ABC 300||ABC 400|
Most undergraduate programs (both in the day and in CPLS) require students to take specific courses outside of those offered by the department or program, as part of the major/minor/certificate sequence. In some cases these are GEP courses where the program specifies a specific course or set of courses within the broader GEP requirements for that area (i.e. some degree programs require that students take ECN 101 or 102 to fulfill the Social Science GE requirement, some programs require a calculus course for the Mathematics GE requirement, etc.). In other cases, courses offered by other departments or programs are required as part of the program sequence but do not fulfill GE requirements (i.e. the major in IHS requires that students take courses in Biology, Chemistry and other areas, beyond the GEP requirements). In addition, all undergraduate major programs have ILCs (Integrative Learning Courses), where three courses are required by the major, but outside of the home department/program.
In the process of developing the requirements for the major/minor/certificate, the faculty identified these courses in other areas as necessary components to the overall learning goals and objectives for the program. These courses provide students with skills, knowledge and experiences that form part of the key components of the program and thus need to be considered within the context of the overall learning goals and objectives for the program. Also, where a program has specified courses for the ILC component, those courses will also need to be considered in this process.
As a first step in conducting this broader alignment analysis, the faculty in the program should begin with the initial alignment analysis that was already conducted and add these courses to that list (please note that the program faculty will also need to complete the analysis of “their” courses in terms of identifying the way in which each course relates to the specific learning objectives at the beginning, intermediate or advanced level, as described in the section above, if that has not already been done). I have done this in the table below using the same alignment analysis as before.
|ABC 100||ABC 101||ABC 200||ABC 300||ABC 400||DEF 101||GHI 120||JKL 200|
In performing this analysis, it would be valuable to obtain the syllabi for these courses from the respective departments/programs (your relevant associate dean can assist with this) as course syllabi are required to include the course-level learning goals and objectives. It may be that these syllabi will provide sufficient information about the course for the faculty in the program to make a decision about which learning objective(s) it relates to. Alternatively, a conversation with the faculty offering the course may be required to obtain more information (again, your relevant associate dean can assist in setting these up as needed). In some cases these courses will be found to relate to existing learning objectives for the program (that is the case for the courses DEF 101 and GHI 120 in the made up example above). That will be noted on the “Broader Alignment Analysis” document in the same fashion as on the original, namely indicating the level at which the course address the objective (B, I or A). Again, it may require conversations with the faculty offering these courses to really discern the level at which these objectives are being addressed. Hopefully this will serve as a good opportunity for the faculty to discuss the rationale for including these courses within the program sequence and to determine if the courses are still appropriate and necessary, or if changes should be considered.
The next step is the same gap analysis as was conducted with the initial alignment analysis. Are there any courses that do not map to one or more stated learning objectives? Are there any learning objectives that do not map to these courses (that may be appropriate or it may be something that needs to be addressed)? In the above example, learning objectives 4 and 5 do not map to any of the three courses required from other programs or departments. It may be that these objectives specifically relate to material within the discipline or to skills or abilities that are unique to that area. In such cases there is no problem as this is not a real “gap”.
In the above example, none of the existing learning objectives map to the course JKL 200. When such a situation is encountered, the question becomes “is this course still relevant to the program?” In most cases the answer will probably be “yes”, which means the LGO statement for the program will need to be broadened a bit to include a learning objective (possibly even a new learning goal) that encompasses this course or courses. Such revisions to LGO statements will follow the same process as described in the learning goals and objectives section of this site (feedback from the relevant associate dean and PAC with revision, as needed, by the program faculty before inclusion in the course catalog). In the probably rare case where the answer is “no” the faculty may wish to revise the course requirements for the program in light of these findings. Such revisions to existing programs do NOT require governance review, but the relevant associate dean and the dean should be informed of the proposed changes. These changes will also then need to be reflected in the course catalog and the Degree Works course information for the program will need to be updated as well (your relevant associate dean will assist with all of this). If a different course or courses will be put into the program, discussion with the department or program offering the course to make sure adding this to your program is feasible.
Most importantly, the LOAs that are conducted in these “other” courses will need to be shared with the programs that make use of these courses. We will need to develop a mechanism to facilitate the discussions around these activities, their planning and the sharing of the data. I expect we will have some guidance in place before fall of ’15 for how this will be facilitated.