Curriculum Review

As part of the University of Calgary’s Quality Assurance review process, I work with faculties and departments as they review their programs with the goal of improving the student learning experience. Curriculum review is “an academic staff-led critical examination of their own academic program for the purpose of optimizing the learning outcomes of that program” (University of Calgary, 2013, p. 3). The curriculum review process helps each group document their current program, use an evidence-based approach for productive curriculum discussions, and enhance the quality of current programs. At the end of each iteration of the process, groups generate an action plan for current, future, and ongoing curricular improvements.

In my role as a curriculum development specialist I support the curriculum review process in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Providing information and offering guidance to groups on the curriculum review process
  • Facilitating workshops on aspects of the review process such as data collection, conducting curriculum mapping, analyzing curriculum data, and generating an action plan
  • Offering consultation to groups and individuals on curriculum topics
  • Providing feedback on reports and curriculum-related documents
  • Generating support materials such as handbooks, templates and forms, and websites
  • Disseminating information on curriculum review to a broader audience through conference presentations, articles, and conversations with colleagues at other institutions

Documentation and Materials

Analyzing Curriculum Mapping Data: Enhancing Student Learning through Curriculum Redesign (http://itsotlcweb01.ucalgary.ca/taylorinstitute/teaching-community/node/273)

After Curriculum Mapping: Engaging Faculty in Meaningful Discussions and Evidence-based Decision-making (http://itsotlcweb01.ucalgary.ca/taylorinstitute/teaching-community/node/261)

Program-level Learning Outcomes (http://itsotlcweb01.ucalgary.ca/taylorinstitute/teaching-community/node/161)

Curriculum Mapping Resource Website: curriculummapping.weebly.com/

Conference proceedings:

Analyzing Curriculum Mapping Data: Enhancing Student Learning through Curriculum Redesign
http://prism.ucalgary.ca/handle/1880/50575

Conference presentations:

EDC 2015: Curriculum Mapping: Engaging Faculty in Meaningful Discussions and Evidence-based Decision-making

2015 University of Calgary Conference on Postsecondary Learning and Teaching: Analyzing Curriculum Mapping Data: Enhancing Student Learning through Curriculum Redesign

OEB Berlin 2015: Strategies for Conducting Curriculum Mapping Online

Blog posts:

Questions to Guide a Curriculum Review (http://connections.ucalgaryblogs.ca/2015/09/28/questions-to-guide-a-curriculum-review/)

Guiding Principles for Curriculum Review (http://connections.ucalgaryblogs.ca/2014/12/17/guiding-principles-for-curriculum-review/)

Educational Developers’ Caucus 2015: More Guiding Principles for Curriculum Review (http://connections.ucalgaryblogs.ca/2015/03/11/educational-developers-caucus-2015-more-guiding-principles-for-curriculum-review/)

Assessment Strategies and Results

  • Number of curriculum review consultations (scope)
  • Satisfaction with consults – testimonials (quality, impact)
  • Number and diversity of curriculum workshops offered (scope, impact)
  • Satisfaction of attendees of curriculum workshops (quality)
  • Number of resources developed: Workshop handouts, templates, guidebooks, manuals, etc. (scope, quality, impact)
  • Number of requests for materials and workshops (scope, quality, impact)
  • Number of conference presentations (scope, impact)
  • Number of academic articles published (scope, impact)

Reflection and Impact

Every undergraduate and course-based Master’s program will undergo the curriculum review process on a 5-7 year cycle. Therefore, the curriculum review process affects the learning experience of almost every University of Calgary student. It is also impactful for instructors who are part of the curriculum review process as they delve into curriculum issues, discuss the current program and future directions for it, discover gaps and redundancies, and collaborate with colleagues to strengthen the program.

Some groups are conducting a formal curriculum review process for the first time, and for others, it has been more than ten years since they have conducted a review. As it is an ongoing process, in future we will build upon our current knowledge of curriculum review to ensure that it is a robust, evidence-based activity that accomplishes the important work of helping programs to achieve high standards of excellence. There are lessons to be learned from every review that will inform good practice.

References: University of Calgary. (2013). Academic quality assurance handbook curriculum reviews.

Project collaborators: Patti Dyjur

ePortfolio post author: Patti Dyjur

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