Teachers from the department of medical informatics of Amsterdam UMC have developed an online platform to gather and visualize structured curriculum information, called act-E. Education managers, teachers and students use this platform to gain insights regarding their curricula that could never be viewed as easily before. These insights help them to have an informed conversation on educational improvements and innovations. Act-E was born to solve their own problems but currently is used by more than 50 curricula in 5 higher education institutions.
Educational curricula, like bachelor or master programs, consist of many courses that are related in different ways. One course build upon the other to create the whole curriculum that results in the diploma for the student. Exit qualifications, learning and activity goals, learning pathways, assessments, competences, references and other multi-dimensional elements describe a curriculum. When being accredited or building/maintaining a curriculum these elements need to be reviewed and aligned. Traditionally this is done with a spreadsheet that typically contains around 5 worksheets and more than 2000 cells to fill. Such a spreadsheet is very hard to create and maintain accurately. Secondly, sharing of these spreadsheets results in many inconsistent versions between the many stakeholders involved in education and finally, such a spreadsheet is not capable of visualizing the multi-dimensional nature of a curriculum and limits the insight one can get from it.
Unravel your curriculum
Act-E offers one source of structured curriculum information with easy visualization and analysis possibilities. As such it provides a common language to discuss about curricula. It connects and visualizes the multi-dimensional information and helps to align curricula, reduce overlap and identify white spots. Furthermore, it reveals hooks in curricula to improve structure, start teacher professionalization or communicate with (external) stakeholders. Together with the users, the platform is continuously improved. Act-E offers an effective tool to improve communication about education and stimulates a structure process for educational development and maintenance that has real impact on educational quality. The new information website (www.act-e.nl) provides more information for interested educators to get in touch.
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