BESMS: Course Mapping (or, Why Do We Have This Course Again?)

One of the first activities in preparing BESMS for a classroom-based delivery was to map out the existing courses in the program. I had three reasons for doing this:

  1. As we are block-enrolling students into classes each term, I needed to make sure earlier courses supported learning in later courses;
  2. Course-mapping can help determine where content gaps are, which will be helpful as courses are revised and prepared for the classroom-based delivery; and
  3. I needed to determine how well the courses address the research skills identified in theĀ JIBC Student Research Skills Development Framework.

With this in mind, I made a list of the characteristics of each course that I wanted to capture in my map:

  • The type and number of academic activities (which I defined as grade-able student activity)
  • The grade weighting for each academic activity (with %’s adding up to 100)
  • The research skills supported by each activity
  • The level of each research skill (prescribed – year 1 / bounded – year 2 / scaffolded – years 3-4)
  • The professional competency supported by each activity (more on this in a future post!)
  • The topics covered in each course.

I wanted to be able to view and interpret these details quickly and at a glance.

This seemed like a tall order. I was worried.

I then spent some time talking with Ron Bowles, our Director – Academic Affairs. Ron indicated that data can be presented in a number of ways – in lists, in spatial relationships, and through different prompts (such as colours and numbers).

With this in mind, I created an Excel spreadsheet template that looks like this:

Using this template, I’m able to view the academic activity and record it’s grade value numerically. I could identify the research skill each activity addressed using a numerical value to represent which grade level it was appropriate for (in this case, level 100 and colour coded as green). I could also identify professional competencies, marked with a simple X. Finally, I created topic lists below each course.

My next step was to capture data about each course in a consistent way. More on that in the next post!