In fall 2012, the University of Calgary launched a new Quality Assurance Review process that includes curriculum review as a major component. Each undergraduate and course-based master’s program at the University of Calgary will go through a review process on a 5-7 year cycle, as agreed upon by the Vice Provost (Teaching and Learning) and the dean of the faculty.
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” (Academic Quality Assurance Handbook Curriculum Reviews, 2013, p. 3). The curriculum review process helps each program achieve and surpass standards of excellence for students’ learning experiences, and generates an action plan for further enhancement of the program.
The Educational Development Unit’s role
The EDU’s curriculum development specialist supports the curriculum review process at the University of Calgary by:
- Providing information needed to conduct the curriculum review process
- Offering guidance on the curriculum review process
- Facilitating workshops with academic staff on writing learning outcomes, curriculum mapping, or other topics identified by the Review Lead
- Consults on curriculum review processes, facilitates curriculum discussions, and provides feedback as time permits
Curriculum mapping is a key component of a curriculum review. During the review, each course in a given bachelor’s program or course-based master’s program will be mapped to show:
- Which course outcomes align with specific program-level learning outcomes
- The teaching and learning activities within each course, which can then be examined in aggregate within the program
- The student assessments used within each course, which can also be examined in aggregate within the program
Mapping provides a visual summary of the learning plan for the program and allows observation of the relationship between components of a program.
Underlying curriculum mapping is the philosophy of:
- Collaboration among instructors
- Evidence-informed approach
- Focus on student learning
- Program-level perspective
- Continuous improvement
Since the mapping process involves contributions from and collaboration among instructors, the essential part of the mapping process is faculty input. Individual instructors are asked to participate in curriculum meetings and discussions, map their courses (course outcomes to program outcomes; student assessments and teaching and learning activities used), analyze data, and generate recommendations for an action plan. Depending on the task and size of the program, some things are not done by all instructors but rather by a curriculum committee. The Academic Quality Assurance Handbook – Curriculum Reviews outlines roles and responsibilities in the curriculum review process.
Curriculum Development Resources
University of Calgary. (2013). Academic quality assurance handbook curriculum reviews.