Curriculum Database

How can a curriculum database be used to support Constructive Alignment?

The use of databases in CoAl

There are many evaluation cycles per year of these three are mentioned since they are central to quality assurance of a programme. One is the course evaluation cycle during which information from students about the courses that they have been involved in is gathered. A second evaluation cycle is the cycle that precedes that decision about the course catalogue of the next academic year. The third evaluation cycle is the preparation and writing of the Rules and Regulations of the next academic year. Every faculty has lots of data available. Most faculties have data on students, courses, teaching, teachers, admission alumni, and advisors at least. Other than that there are data relevant to the specific possibilities programmes offer like semester abroad, internships, or data on scheduling and student affairs procedures. A good question to ask is whether and how these data can be used to facilitate CoAl.

The ILOs of a programme are given in the Education & Examination Regulations (EER) of that programme. Data about the programme, more specifically data students generate about the programme (both data based on feedback and data based on student performance) are sources that allow a programme to assess whether the intended learning outcomes of the programme as a whole are achieved. A central database can help ensure that stakeholders have all relevant data at their disposal. It helps if data on course evaluations filled out by students, assessment analysis data from course coordinators and are available to a Board of Studies for example. It is also imperative that all stakeholders base their inputs/assessments etcetera on the same data.

Not all information needs to be available to everybody. It is perfectly conceivable that different stakeholders get different kinds of access to the same database. This way all information, current course content in combination with a record of course performance in the past for example, derives from the same database. So that when a new coordinator needs to discuss evaluations on the changes that she made to the course has relevant information on past performance available. Or when an education director wants to update his profile of ILOs per course in order to see how they match the ILOs of the programme it is transparent which ILOs are defined for which course and it will be easy to discuss adjustments or changes if necessary. Or when an examination committee is asked to judge whether a student meets the ILOs of a programme the data of the students concerned are easily available.

There are many uses of a well maintained and easily accessible database that may not concern the process of CoAl directly but will definitely help generate input for discussions concerning the question of whether or not the programme is constructively aligned.

A UCM example of a curriculum database can be downloaded by clicking on the button below: