As curriculum is developed in higher education institutions, it passes through multiple stages of review and approval by multiple organizational units both inside and outside of the institution, each with their particular needs and areas of focus. Over time, various software products have been developed to address the needs of specific stages of the entire curriculum development cycle. And as a result, the term “curriculum management system” has been used generically without identifying which stages such systems are designed to support.
As we see it, the full curriculum development cycle includes the following stages:
Academic Review and Approval Stage
In this stage, an instructor builds a course/program proposal and submits it to an extensive review process involving multiple individuals and committees. Multiple academic factors are reviewed, including: educational suitability of the course content, pedagogical methods of instruction, assessment of student learning outcomes, required or suggested course materials, course delivery modality, etc. In other words, this workflow is a strategic evaluation of the educational value of this course/program conducted by the academic units of the institution.
Internal Curriculum Interface Stage
Once the academic stage is complete, the approved course/program information is then available for interfacing and updating of other systems and databases which are operated and managed by other units of the institution, such as Information Services, Registrar, Enrollment Management, etc. As an example, it is typically the Registrar’s role to take the approved course/program information and update/manage the college catalog (printed and online). While such downstream processes may themselves be complex, involving their own workflows and “curriculum management,” they are limited essentially to formatting and selective extraction options for the data already approved in the academic stage. In other words, such “catalog-curriculum management” processes are not synonymous with curriculum management of the academic process. And more importantly, while an academic-centric curriculum management system can easily support the catalog processing stage, the opposite is not necessarily true.
External Curriculum Interface Stage
Beyond the internal uses of the approved curriculum data, there are often external needs to interface such data as well. For example, many states have a State Board of Regents, Chancellor’s Office, or State Board of Education to which each institution must submit proposed programs for review and approval, or other curriculum reporting and interface, such as for statewide articulation systems.
These successive stages of the curriculum development cycle are important to understand when building or acquiring a curriculum management system. CurricUNET Meta™ is such a full cycle curriculum management system and has the academic-centric design to manage all the above stages.
George Tamas, author of The Geo Chronicles, is recognized as a leading innovator in government and educational uses of technology, and particularly in the design and development of Web-based, multi-entity networks and databases. Since 2000, Mr. Tamas has served as Chief Executive Officer/Chairman of the Board of Governet, innovators of Web-based technology solutions for higher education and creators of CurricUNET, the award-winning curriculum management and reporting system. Mr. Tamas has more than three decades of experience in top management positions for computer software/service organizations ranging in size from start up to publicly traded companies with more than $150,000,000 in annual revenues. After receiving his degree in Mathematics from UCLA, he taught Mathematics and Computer Science for several years before starting his first company. He has since led multiple companies that engaged in such areas as technology management consulting, software development, networking, and outsourcing. Mr. Tamas has been a featured speaker at numerous state, national, and international conferences and is member of the esteemed Gilfus Advisors Network.