n South African Journal of Higher Education - Mapping our way to coherence, alignment and responsiveness

Volume 26, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



Transformation of higher education in South Africa has resulted in an ongoing need to reflect critically on the relevance and responsiveness of higher education curricula. This article describes two inter-related aspects of curriculum mapping, namely the mapping process and the mapping tool. Based on a case study of a career-oriented business qualification, curriculum data such as subject guides are analysed, followed by a discussion on the findings that emanated from this analysis. Using a constructivist framework, the article argues how challenges, such as a lack of staff participation, a teacher-centred technicist approach to curriculum design, as a result of past curriculum development practices at Universities of Technology, can be addressed by using curriculum mapping both as a process and tool for curriculum review. We shall argue in this article that curriculum mapping, both as a process and a tool will encourage higher education lecturers to consider these key issues when designing curricula:

  1. What do we teach?
  2. Why do we teach what we teach?
  3. What do our students learn?
  4. How do our students learn?
  5. How do we assess what students have learned?
  6. How well should students perform in these assessment tasks to show that they have achieved the intended learning outcomes?
These questions relate to the three levels of a curriculum, namely the intended (planned), the taught (created) and the learned (experienced). Curriculum mapping in this context is not used as an instrumentalist approach to curriculum review and design, but to illuminate the pedagogical relationships within a curriculum and to engender reflective conversations on how academics approach their curricula.

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