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A Simple Method for Verifying Course Alignment

Submitted by on August 1, 2013 – 1:25 pmNo Comment

This post is part of an on-going series that discusses how to gather learning analytics through course alignment.

In the last post of this series, we showed you how to align your course objectives with your module objectives. But before you can begin to use alignment to gather learning analytics, you need to verify that alignment actually exists throughout each part of your course.

By ensuring that the materials, activities, and assessments you choose support your learning objectives, you further strengthen the framework you’ll use to analyze the effectiveness of your course for student learning.

Magnifying Glass and Single Puzzle Piece

Step 1: Map Module Objectives to Course Objectives

Use a simple chart (example below) to ensure that you capture course-level objectives, institutionally required learning outcomes or goals, and/or any additional outcomes required by an external accreditation agency.

By using a chart to verify alignment, you can

  • ensure course materials support all course-level objectives you created.
  • identify any extraneous module-level objectives that detract from your course goals.

Begin by developing a numbering scheme for your objectives. Here’s an example:

  • Course-Level Objective One = (CLO 1)
  • Learning Outcome Two = (LO 2)
  • Module One Objective Three = (MO 1.3)

You can use the table function in Word, or use an Excel spreadsheet to help you set up a chart to map the objectives in your course.

As demonstrated in the example below, each module should align with at least one of the course objectives and/or one of the learning outcomes:

Chart that shows where module and course objectives align

Example of mapping module objectives to course objectives

Step 2: Map Materials, Activities, and Assessments to Module Objectives

Step 2 ensures that all materials, activities, and assessments you chose for each module of your course support the objectives you created.

Again, use a simple chart to ensure that every item aligns. Each course material should align with at least one module objective.

Chart mapping Materials, Activities, and Assessments to Module Objectives

Example of mapping Materials, Activities, and Assessments to Module Objectives

Once your course is mapped, you can better identify areas that need more support from materials, activities, and/or assessments. For example, in the chart above, it MO 2.2 may not be fully supported or measured within the course.

To see other example of verifying course alignment, see the University of Utah’s Alignment Grid Examples.

Stick around for the next post where you’ll begin to discover how to use alignment to gather learning analytics.

Your Turn!

What tips and tricks can you share for ensuring strong alignment throughout your course or for preparing to collect learning data? We would love to hear your ideas!

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