Curriculum mapping is exactly what it sounds like: it involves mapping out your curriculum to gain a better understanding of when everything is being covered and how topics relate to each other. Often, curriculums will have certain goals that exist at different levels. For example, a medical curriculum might have the overarching goals of instilling medical knowledge of the human body, cultural competency, and professionalism in its students. Each of these goals will then have subgoals – medical knowledge of the human body might include mastery of human anatomy, human diseases and ailments, and the basics of nutrition, for example. These will often then break down further, and so on. Curriculum mapping allows schools to trace not only how these topics relate to each other, but where they are being taught. Certain objectives will be assigned to certain classes, forming the “class objectives,” and these then align with overarching program objectives. Sometimes curriculum mapping goes a level further and maps specific session objectives that then relate to the course objectives and the overall program objectives. By creating this detailed record of where each objective is included in actual class time, programs are better able to understand exactly how their curriculum is being covered.
Curriculum mapping is a great way to identify gaps in your curriculum. If you have established in your curriculum that you want to teach students about the impact of being low-income on health, but you realize that it is not actually being covered in any classes, you have identified a gap. It is also helpful to identify overlays; if you realize that a certain topic is being covered more often that you intended, you have an overlay and can use one of those classes as a place to correct a gap. In this way, curriculum mapping makes programs more well-rounded and organized, and students and faculty can both rest easy knowing that everything in the curriculum is definitely being covered.
Having a more organized curriculum is not only helpful for improving your program’s outcomes, but can also make the administrative side of education much less stressful in the long run. Having a well-done, up-to-date curriculum mapping system can make the accreditation process much less daunting because it is easy to show exactly where everything in your curriculum is being taught. Many programs map onto existing curriculum standards as established by accreditation agencies, such as the LCME standards. This allows them to prepare for accreditation the entire time they are building their curriculum and doing their curriculum mapping, and when the committee visits, they know they are prepared and the process goes smoothly.
While curriculum mapping can initially be a bit daunting to faculty, it creates peace of mind and saves time down the road. eCurriculum is a comprehensive curriculum-mapping system that makes the process of mapping more organized and offers gap and overlay analysis to help guide improvements in your curriculum. This type of system, along with the expertise of the eMedley product team, makes curriculum mapping much easier and more approachable. Curriculum mapping improves the quality of programs and peace of mind for students and faculty, making it more than worth the initial push to get the ball rolling.