DLF Lunchtime Series – A Course Director’s perspective: Mapping assessments course-wide. Why, how and what was achieved?


MAY, 2020

Digital Learning
Teaching & Learning

Learning Innovations

DLF Lunchtime series event, 26 May 2020


  • Professor James Armitage, Course Director, Optometry and Head of Vision Science
  • Dr Alison Booth, Associate Head of School (Teaching and Learning), School of Exercise, Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Dr Kate Hill, Lecturer, Faculty of Health Pod

Why might you map assessment (and curriculum) across a Course? In this presentation three academics reflected on their purpose and processes for their mapping projects, and provided very useful insights about the outcomes of mapping in their respective courses.

James Armitage described the work of his course team (Deakin’s accelerated optometry program) in examining their curriculum critically with a view to addressing all Graduate Learning Outcomes. The design of the optometry program is an integrated one, where the various knowledge disciplines (pathology, physiology, anatomy) and clinical practice are integrated both horizontally and vertically. This course has a focus on work readiness that is linked to very specific external competencies that tend to preference GLO 1. So how did this course team begin this GLO mapping project?

James described his involvement in Jo Caldwell Neilson’s Digital Literacy Project where Jo was developing a framework for teaching and learning digital literacy. This project helped James to view the curriculum from a pedagogical perspective where the processes of learning can be made explicit for both the educator and the student (and one result was the development of their Optometry Digital Literacy Tool). Using such frameworks allow educators to audit a course curriculum for specific purposes. For example, using a case by case approach with each Unit, it was possible to use a simple matrix (based on a framework) to establish where digital literacy was taught and what was assessed, what was explicit and what was implicit and where change needed to occur.

Similarly, James explained that using appropriate models from the literature such as the Sharpe and Beetham digital literacy development pyramid (2010) and the Calgary Cambridge Model (for mapping and teaching GLO 2, Communication), and a Diagnostic Thinking Inventory (for GLOs 4 and 5) provided clear structures for identifying what is taught and assessed and importantly, addressing what explicit teaching and learning strategies and resources should be developed for teachers and students over the three and a half years of the degree.

Currently, James’ team is working on GLOs 6, 7 and 8 and expects the GLO mapping project to be completed in 2022.  Importantly, James emphasised the importance of having passionate educators in his team, and the value of teaching and learning mentors (in this case Darci Taylor and Susie Macfarlane). James recommended building research into the process of mapping the curriculum. While acknowledging that it does slow the process of a mapping project, undertaking a research-led approach does validate the curriculum changes that result, and, can be shared with the broader Academy through publication.

Alison Booth and Kate Hill set out to map the Bachelor of Nutrition Sciences with a number of priorities in mind. Alison was mindful that some core Nutrition competencies had changed and it was necessary to identify missing or misaligned competencies, and there was also a desire to create a greater career development focus in the degree. Kate was particularly interested in a pedagogical evaluation of assessment; she wanted to look at authenticity, student engagement, and appropriateness of the types of assessment for the degree’s AQF level. Kate created a highly detailed mapping document that provided rich data for making recommendations for immediate and longer-term consideration by the Course team.

Our presenters have shared their models and a mapping document in their presentations, and you can see them in the recording provided here.


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