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Mapping curricula using learning outcomes


Christian Blouin (Computer Science, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)


“A lot of people think they love computers. Then they show up in computer science and say ‘This is not what I thought it was.’ We wanted to be able to give the students the context and the relationships between what they are learning.”

Curriculum mapping is quickly becoming mandatory. Christian Blouin’s innovative new curriculum mapping software, Daedalus, is meeting the need by providing a more efficient and cost-effective way to do it.

The software breaks down classes into student learning outcomes and presents a snapshot of how each learning outcome connects to the others in the program. It can be used to design and make alterations to curriculum, while showing users the effect each change will have on the program.

Tools for mapping curriculum are often very time consuming, expensive and resource intensive. However, the simple Daedalus software is now available to other groups on campus, free of charge. It’s already being used by seven Dalhousie programs and will soon be used by an Australian university.

Currently, it's being customized to fit the needs of the different departments within the university. “The goal is not to impose a way of working, but rather to create a tool that is going to help you do what you want, the way you want,” says Dr. Blouin.

Showing students the big picture

Curriculum mapping is helpful for student retention. “A lot of people think they love computers,” says Dr. Blouin. “Then they show up in computer science and say, ‘This is not what I thought it was.’ We wanted to be able to give the students the context and the relationships between what they are learning.” Daedalus shows students the links between the learning outcomes. Being able to see how the current learning outcomes will benefit them gives students the motivation to move forward.

“When a professor knows that whatever they input into the map will be used by a student as a way to advise themselves, all of the sudden they’re not just filling out a form that disappears into a drawer, it remains alive all of the time,” says Dr. Blouin.

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