thing 17: Curriculum-Mapping

Optional Readings:



Read one or more of articles above to gain more insight into the curriculum mapping process, examine the examples, and then answer one or more of the questions in the comments below:

  • Which of the approaches outlined in the articles above do you think will work best at your institution? Why?
  • Think about one of the departments or programs of study you work with. Where do you see redundancies and opportunities for integrated information literacy instruction?
  • Examine a syllabus or the major requirements for a department you work with. Where do you see overlap between those learning goals/outcomes and the Framework?


  1. I work most often with the general education humanities classes at my institution. We use APA style of citation at my university and yet instructors are not very strict about its correct use and thus students do not understand the value of information. Many of the GE humanities classes could definitely benefit from some integration of the “Information Has Value” frame.

    There seems to be some redundancy in these courses when it comes to searching. The library already visits many of the GE humanities classes to cover searching the databases, at the request of the instructors. Most syllabi state that students should search the library’s resources to find articles. Any further instruction based on “Searching as Strategic Exploration” seems redundant.


  2. I have been thinking a lot about proposing a curriculum mapping project as one of my goals for next year, so this module was perfect.

    I think I might want to start a pilot with our humanities and social sciences department; while they are one of our smaller departments, they are also (based on my anecdotal observations) more likely to request instruction sessions or send students to us. Therefore, I think there is more likely to be redundancy in instruction, and I have definitely experienced students that I know have seen me do searching demos multiple times in on semester, so I would like to think about how to better focus my efforts to cover more of the framework, while also having less overlap. Furthermore, because HUSS is a research heavy discipline, I know there are excellent opportunities to be embedded or more actively involved that are being missed.

    In addition, because the HUSS department seems more open to library instruction, I think they are likely to cooperate with requests for syllabi and other materials for curriculum mapping, and might be open to using the results of the project. Then, if it is successful, I could use it as an example to show other departments why we should do curriculum mapping for their department.


  3. Curriculum mapping would definitely be helpful at my college. Right now, we follow a “scattered approach” where professors request a library session and we provide the session (Buchanan 4). The ideal program to reach all students is the Development of Western Civilization, which is a required four-course sequence; students take one class each semester in their first and second years, and the classes are team taught mainly by faculty from History, Philosophy, English, and Theology, with a smattering of faculty from other disciplines.

    This would be an ideal program with which to create a curriculum map for an information literacy program, especially as it is required of all students; we would also reach transfer students, who may miss out if, for example, we mapped to the writing curriculum and they transferred their writing courses in from another institution. Another benefit would be that if an upper level instructor requests a library session, all librarians would know that every student has had a at least four library sessions already and can then create an information literacy session that is geared toward the topic and advanced literacy skills.


  4. Of the articles I read, the article by Leslin Charles held the most meaning for me as a librarian and scholar. The Rutgers’ approach was one that not only incorporated buy-in from the library and the academic departments, but also from administration. The curriculum map they built is now integral to their assessment, not only internally but externally, as well. When I think of information literacy and how I want to implement information literacy instruction across campus here, I am really contemplating what it would take to get buy-in from the top-down and make IL integral to our reaffirmation of accreditation process. This is where I’m at in my thinking right now.

    After teaching several one-shot library instructions since the spring semester, surveying the faculty, reading countless articles about the Framework (what it is, how to use it, how to talk about it, etc.),, implementing the results of the survey into a newly restructured library instruction, and beta-testing that new instruction this summer, I realize that there are opportunities for redundancy within our Lit/Language Arts department. Most of the faculty in that department ask for a one-shot instruction, and through the survey and the follow-up questions, I tried to encourage them to start thinking of library instruction as an opportunity to really focus on skill & concept-building throughout the departmental program. We are still in the nascent stages . . . but we will arrive!! Over time, as the LIt/Language Arts faculty and I work together, we will be able to collaborate on instructions that integrate with their course curricula more specifically, even with project-specific instructions.


  5. Because my position has been temporary, I have really noticed one instance of excellent curriculum mapping. For one program I am responsible for, the permanent librarian I am covering has a set information literacy plan. I could follow it and trust that next year she will cover the second set of information when the class is in second year, and vice-versa, I could teach the second years trusting that she already covered the basics. I’ve really liked the way this is set up, but it is a unique program; this set-up would not work for other disciplines where students don’t take the same courses at the same pace all the time.
    For instance, one area that has a large amount of redundancy is the ‘upgrading’ English courses. These include English 70, 80 (equivalents to grade 10 and 11), and English 12. Ideally, I would love to set up a similar map so that the students finish the English 12 course with an understanding of information. However, with several instructors teaching these courses (all of whom have differing levels of appreciation for the library) and the courses taking place during all semesters, this would be difficult. Perhaps most prohibitive to this idea is that some students only need to take English 12, not 70 and 80; these students often require a more basic introduction to IL. Of course, by covering IL at a level for these students, those who saw a librarian in their English 70 and 80 courses are bored out of their minds. If they continue at the college, they will see this introduction yet again in first year English courses.
    I’m not sure what a curriculum-mapping-based solution could be here, but the amount of redundancy and differing levels of student ability make me think there could be opportunities for improving the IL curriculum to this department. A good place to start might be a worksheet to be distributed to the students before library sessions to see what they already know. This would help to tailor that particular session, but also give the librarians an idea about what students are remembering from course to course.


  6. I am the sole instruction librarian at my school and we only have a few professional programs. So, in reading the articles, none really fit for me. The professional programs at my school are highly structured in that most students start and complete their studies in a cohort. There are few opportunities for electives. I know when I see most every student in their respective programs without needing to write it out. At times there is overlap but so far, the types of assignments they’re doing in the non-professional/undergrad courses are advanced. As a result, so are the meetings I have with them. They are usually one-on-one.

    I do think there are more opportunities for IL instruction but it is hard to convince instructors, with a lot of material to cover in the structured program, to give up more time for IL instruction. Therefore, I think my best opportunity is to continue working with the small committee doing a curriculum map of Evidence Informed Practice (EIP). I may not be able to incorporate all I’d like to related to information literacy but being a part of an integrated committee will provide more weight to the push.


  7. Last summer Buchanan and company (2015) had inspired me to look at the required courses in two of my liaison areas, Leadership & Organizational Studies (LOS) and Social & Behavioral Sciences (SBS). I’m glad for the chance to revisit this article! I had taken to it at the time because of the flexibility the multiple approaches showed me. Basically it empowered me to not wait for the perfect map.
    Over the summer I developed an oversimplified version of the map from case I (p. 100). I listed the required courses, how many library sessions for each course in the past two years, whether or not the course had a guide, and the research assignment (if any). Even from that simple grid I spotted a gap in the SBS research assignments. SBS 200 requires an annotated bib, while SBS 329 requires analyses of fewer individual articles with no reinforcement in any course in between.
    There is a required course in between that could provide an opportunity for reinforcement. Also, we have an opportunity to clarify the annotated bib assignment in 200. Is the emphasis on finding articles? If so, then the later courses could focus more on evaluating them and on scholarly communication issues (329 is a Research Methods course.).
    In the fall I had some talking points when I met with faculty. As it happened, SBS had already been considering some curriculum changes to get transfer students up to speed. We’re still figuring out where to go from here, but we are exploring an Introduction to SBS course.


  8. After looking at the articles it is clear that what I have done already is use a range of techniques used by or analyzed by the authors. If I could post a picture you would see a very messy whiteboard (magnetic) with a grid of four different majors within the Business School. In the center are four core classes that all majors should take by the end of their second year. In the outer grid are five more classes that are taken at different times depending on the major. If you were to look at library instruction over the past four years it is clear that we have only touched two or three of the classes on the white board. And not consistently.

    The techniques I used:
    1) Gap analysis in instruction and number of majors.
    2) Anecdotal evidence from Reference desk and instruction sessions.
    3) Analysis of courses required for BS Business majors, Marketing, Management, Finance, and Accounting

    The questions that we need to answer are:
    1) What are the key 2 or 3 classes, Intro and upper level and where we want to find a foothold.
    2) How many of those classes are taught each semester, which semester in order to examine if we can sustain the instruction.

    For our purposes, I want to use the Research Skill Development framework used by our colleagues from Adelaide as I think it may appeal to business school more than the language used in the ACRL Framework.

    Ideally, we would be able to target professors who teach those classes individually, after conferring with department head, to see if we can examine their syllabi and have access to their assignments. If we can do this we will be able to create appropriate instruction sessions that are adaptable for online, in person, or embedded delivery. The classes identified would mean about 12-24 instruction sessions. I am not sure we have the staff to sustain that volume for all in person instruction. This requires more information about what the professors, department, and students need.


    • Heather, you make an interesting point about sustaining instruction. I have a pet course, our undergrad capstone, which has changed instructors a number of times in recent years. Fortunately I have been able to use what I have learned from the earlier relationships to nurture the newer ones. Since these are online courses with a fairly high enrollment cap, scale is also an issue.


  9. One department that I struggle to strategically embed information literacy into the curriculum is history. I have a great relationship with many of the professors and work with quite a few classes, but I think the “strategic” element on my end is a bit lacking. The historiography class seems like it would be a good place to focus some of my attention since it is taken by all majors, usually early on, and has a heavy research component. Here is some overlap I can see between the course’s major learning goals and the framework:

    1. Explore multiple historical and theoretical viewpoints that provide perspective on the past.(authority is constructed & contextual, scholarship as conversation)
    2. Choose among multiple tools, methods, and perspectives to investigate and interpret materials
    from the past. (searching as strategic exploration)
    3. Generate significant, open-ended questions about the past and devise research strategies and an
    interpretation to answer them. (research as inquiry)

    I also think this is an area where there might be a large gap between students’ novice research knowledge/strategies and faculty’s very expert modes. There is probably an opportunity there to do some translation and bridging as a librarian existing between those two positions…


    • Amy, you make an interesting point about the novice/expert gap. Sometimes I think faculty forget that don’t have the exposure to academic resources and academic ways. They–and even we librarians–can take for granted what a journal is, for ex. Where we are novices is in how the information landscape has changed. I was helping a student cite a born-digital article that was perfectly credible but had no page numbers. APA has a way for referencing such things, and I learned about it thanks to the student. I guess the point is owning that there are times when we are all novices.

      Liked by 1 person


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