Tags: Curriculum maps
Every educational institution has curriculum data — typically represented in some kind of list or table form. The typical entity in a curriculum is a course, which has information associated with it such as credits, prerequisite requirements, a description, etc. Current practices are to store this information as a table, where relationships are flattened to attributes in columns. This flattened format makes it difficult to do the analytics and visualization that supports educational decision-making and innovation.
Our curriculum mapping model formalizes the process of modeling curricular data in a structured model that explicitly models the connections among curricular entities.
We first define the different types of entities: Course, Department, Institution. Each entity of these various types is modelled as a vertex. They are assigned attributes, e.g. name, course number, schedule information, website listing, etc.
Next, we define different types of relationships among the entities. A basic curriculum model has three types of relationships: has-parent-of, has-prerequisite-of and has-corequisite-of. The has-parent-of relationship is a directed relationship that specifies organizational hierarchy in the curriculum. The has-prerequisite-of and has-corequisite-of relationships are directed; they exist between courses to define prerequisite and corequisite relationships. These relationships are modelled as directed edges between the appropriate vertices in the graph model.
This way of modeling provides a powerful basis for visualization and analytics. For example, we analyze the curriculum graph structure to ask questions such as "For how many downstream classes is this class a prerequisite?" or "What are flexible learning pathways that lead to this class?"
Or we can join other data sets to conduct analytics that cut across the curriculum: "What are the hotspots of dropouts across the curriculum and how does that affect downstream classes?" "What would be the institutional-wide impact of a schedule shift in a gateway class?" etc.