An Introduction to Visually Mapping Curriculum

Visually mapping out curriculum is a way to better understand your course, program, or major and can help you make decisions on curriculum development or changes, assist students with navigating programs, and/or help you talk about your program. This post outlines a short workshop on visually mapping curriculum. You can use the post to guide a group through exploring this process or use it on your own.

Getting Started

To get started watch the overview video below to introduce you to the concept of visually mapping your curriculum and how visual maps might help you. Once you are finished with the video move on to the discussion and activity portion of the workshop.

Image showing the first screen of the introduction video linked below

Watch the Introduction Video (7 mins)

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Discussion and Activity

During this part of the workshop, you’ll be using the video below as a guide. There are three activities to do during this section, during each of them pause the video and come back to it when you are finished.

image of first screen of video linked below

Watch the Starting to Map Out Your Curriculum video (5 mins 30 secs)

Activity 1: Setting Your Goal

In this activity, you are working to set an overall goal for your course or program. Please note that your course and/or program will have multiple goals associated with it, in this case, you are working on one of those.

You may think about approaching this with a scaffolded approach:

  • What careers would be served by this course/program, or what professional roles is your course/program preparing a student for?
  • What goals can you set that would prepare students for this next step in their lives?
  • Choose one of these goals and move to the next Activity

Activity 2: Identifying Your Core Competencies/Components

We have provided suggestions for five categories or components that often show up in courses/programs. We suggest starting with these and adding others as needed. If you need a refresher on what this could look like please return to the section linked below from the first video to see an example from a course on painting.

View the Example of Identifying Core Competencies/Components

example of Components and Competencies for a course in painting. The Components are Foundational Knowledge, Technical Skills, Conceptual Skills, Practical Skills, and Professional Development

In this activity try to list 2-3 competencies in each of the areas. In the next activity, you will think a bit more about what activities support developing these competencies.

Activity 3: Using an Ishikawa Diagram to Map Developing Your Competencies and Goals

In this activity, we’ll use an Ishikawa or “dead fish” diagram to map out developing your competencies into the goals.

Example Ishikawa Diagram

We have developed a template for the Ishikawa diagram in Google Slides that you can duplicate and work with your own competencies and goals. You can access the Ishikawa Diagram Slides here, be sure to make a copy of them before you start working, and save your work in a place you can return to as you may wish to create diagrams for each of the goals in your course/program going forward.

Start by entering your goal into the head of the fish, and then choose one of the components to work with and place it at the top of the skeleton. Once you have done this, add your competencies to the top “bone” of each rib, and then use the other “bones” to add activities that support developing that competency.

For example, if you are working with the Professional Development component of your course/program and in particular the competency of “Networking” then an activity might be to set up a LinkedIn profile, experience a networking session, and/or do role-playing in class.

Workshop creators: Scott Schopieray and Stephen Thomas