Creation of a novel simple heat mapping method for curriculum mapping, using pathology teaching as the exemplar

Clark, R., Bell, S., Roccisana, J., Oien, K. A. and Sneddon, S. F. (2021) Creation of a novel simple heat mapping method for curriculum mapping, using pathology teaching as the exemplar. BMC Medical Education, 21, 371. (doi: 10.1186/s12909-021-02808-3) (PMID:34238273) (PMCID:PMC8265068)

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Abstract

Background The undergraduate five-year MBChB programme at the University of Glasgow has a high volume of pathology teaching integrated into the course. The ability to better understand what pathology is taught and when, so as to build a picture of the types and depth of pathology topics covered across the programme stages is crucial, especially in a spiral curriculum. A novel method of curriculum mapping, known as curriculum heat mapping, was developed as a way to visualise where and when topics are taught, in an easier to understand format. Methods This method involved comparing the Glasgow curriculum to a pre-determined standard of what should be taught. In this case, The Royal College of Pathologists’ ‘Pathology Undergraduate Curriculum’ was used as a comparison of what a graduating doctor should know about pathology. Results Following the developed template, heat maps showcasing the range of pathology topics covered, and where they are covered, were developed for local use. These heat maps provided a clear visual representation of where and when topics are taught, and how they cluster. Conclusions Heat mapping is a novel low-cost, high-input method of curriculum mapping. It requires a person to input the data which can take a long time for large curricula. There are no other upfront financial costs. It can be used in any area with a curriculum and an external or internal comparator. Examples of gold standard external comparators include validated national or international curricula. Heat mapping can help integrated, spiral curriculum programmes to identify where core topics are taught throughout their course. The heat maps themselves successfully demonstrate the required information and are easy to interpret. The process of mapping, as well as the final heat map, can yield important information. This includes information about trends within the curriculum, areas for potential improvement in sessional design and a clearer understanding of the depth to which each topic is covered in each lecture. Overall, it is a viable novel method, which has been successful locally and is easily transferable to other areas such as pharmacology.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Oien, Professor Karin and Bell, Dr Sarah and Roccisana, Dr Jennifer and Sneddon, Dr Sharon and Clark, Dr Ryan
Authors: Clark, R., Bell, S., Roccisana, J., Oien, K. A., and Sneddon, S. F.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Cancer Sciences
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Journal Name:BMC Medical Education
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1472-6920
ISSN (Online):1472-6920
Published Online:08 July 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © The Author(s) 2021
First Published:First published in BMC Medical Education 21:371
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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