An overview of the Curriculum Map-Matrix
The purpose of a curriculum map/matrix is to identify the program learning outcomes occurring across the courses and experiences of your program’s curriculum.
The key to a good curriculum matrix or “map” is that it is useful for making decisions about the design of your program’s curriculum. “Design” refers to course sequencing, assignment sequencing, and skill and concept development that occurs across the program. The goal of good design is to develop the program’s curriculum in a way that creates the best learning experiences, and thus, the greatest likelihood, for students to achieve the program’s learning outcomes.
The second purpose of developing a curriculum map is related to assessment. A curriculum map allows faculty to apply the findings that have resulted from their assessment. For example, say that your assessment shows students are not writing at the performance level determined by your faculty. You would use the curriculum map to identify the courses addressing your writing outcome, or containing writing assignments. Then, you would pull the syllabi for those courses and convene the faculty teaching those courses. They would review and converse how they are addressing writing in their courses and determine if there would be approaches to re-structuring their outcomes or assignments that would lead to an improved progression of learning across the curriculum.
For both curriculum design and the use of assessment findings, the map/matrix is meant to serve as a catalyst for discussions about the proper sequencing of courses, the degree to which the curriculum really supports student learning, and the extent to which learning outcomes are appropriately addressed within the curriculum. Discussing the link between learning outcomes and the curriculum leads to the crucial conversations about how courses, assignments, and teaching techniques within the program facilitate or hinder the accomplishment of program learning outcomes.