Templates and examples

Curriculum mapping template

Curriculum mapping is a versatile tool; using a grid, you can map your program aims and outcomes against the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents (OCAV) and Waterloo expectations, your program's courses against your program outcomes, or even each course against the content and skills of your discipline. Curriculum mapping can happen during department retreats facilitated by someone with experience. Alternatively, you might create a survey for your faculty members to fill out and return to a curriculum committee. We've also seen examples of mapping software that creates the map for you based on surveys of what faculty members actually teach in their courses.

The Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) has experimented with mapping exercises in several departments on campus already. See the case studies section at the end of this page for examples. This mapping template (XLS)contains all of the categories, subcategories, and sub-subcategories of the OCAV undergraduate degree-level expectations (UDLEs) for the honours degree. You may, ultimately, want to complete a template right down to the sub-subcategory level. Initially, however, your departmental discussions about curriculum mapping may be more fruitful if you begin by simply focusing on the eight main categories, ignoring the sublevels until later in the process. If you need a template that is specific to the general undergraduate degree, please contact CTE.

Templates are also available for Master's and PhD programs.

Course planning template

The course planning template (DOC) provides a framework for those who wish to start their planning at an individual course level. The template could also serve as a starting point for discussing program goals, since course outcomes typically feed into program outcomes.

Learning outcomes: examples

The sections below give examples of learning outcomes from several disciplines, written to correspond to the six levels of Bloom's Taxonomy. For the most part, the examples are for fairly discrete learning, such as what might be included in an assignment, or for a single week of a longer course. At the same time, they give a sense of how outcomes can be written for different levels of complexity, and how that might look in different disciplines.

Course outline guidelines

The following page provides guidelines for course outlines. It also includes a link to a Word document that you can use as a template to develop your own course outline. 

Additionally, a list of required course elements and related resources can be found on the "Information for Instructors" page at the Office of the Associate Vice-President, Academic.

Waterloo case study examples

Case study 1: Department seeks feedback on curriculum plans partway through development of a new Honours major


The Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) was approached in December 2007 to facilitate a five to six hour retreat to “ask us the tough questions” and to help understand the new undergraduate degree-level expectations (UDLEs) from Ontario Council of Academic Vice-presidents (OCAV).


Before the retreat, a Senior Educational Developer (SED) studied all documents pertaining to previous program review, current mission statements, and the department’s new curriculum plan. Having derived key terms and key objectives from them, the SED pre-printed large sticky notes with one objective per note. During the retreat, the same SID led a process of course and curriculum mapping. After brainstorming attributes of an ideal graduate from the existing and the planned program, faculty members were given the large sticky notes with one key objective or key value pre-printed per note, and asked to map these to the brainstormed list of ideal graduate attributes. Once they were satisfied with the results, they moved the sticky notes to a prepared grid with the OCAV UDLEs across the top, seeing clearly how they are already meeting these threshold expectations (and in some cases, exceeding them). Then, using smaller sticky notes and a new set of grids, the OCAV UDLEs were listed across the top horizontal axis and the program courses listed along the vertical axis; each faculty member noted where his or her course introduced, reinforced, or mastered content or skills in support of the UDLEs, and what activities and assessments allowed students to demonstrate these levels of learning.


Faculty members discussed content, skills, and teaching/learning approaches across the curriculum; two months later, the program planning committee chair used similar concepts to continue the planning process.

Case study 2: Department with several subspecialties seeks curriculum mapping help given faculty-wide curriculum integration request and new guidelines from the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-presidents (after a program review)


The Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) was approached in December 2007 to facilitate a five to six hour retreat to help integrate curricular approaches and refine the department’s curriculum mapping in light of their recent program review.


Before the retreat, a Senior Educational Developer (SED)  studied all documents pertaining to the recent program review and derived key terms and key objectives from them. During the retreat, the same SED along with a CTE Liaison led a process of course and curriculum mapping. The process followed was nearly exactly that described in case study 1, with the significant difference that the three different sub-units divided and created maps of their own programs after the initial program outcomes mapping, and then regrouped at the end of the day to share what was learnt or changed.


Faculty members discussed content, skills, and teaching/learning approaches across the curriculum within each of the three main programs (one more socially oriented, two more science oriented). This led to a more complete curriculum map for the whole department.

Case study 3: Department seeks course design support in the context of a new program with professional competencies and an imported/adapted curriculum


The Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) was approached in Spring 2007 to facilitate a course design process in support of a new curriculum in a new program, with students to arrive January 2008.


The associate director, CTE along with the Senior Educational Developer, programming designed and delivered an abbreviated version of the Teaching Excellence Academy, supported by CTE Liaisons (e-Portfolio and science). In the Academy, faculty members created a concept map for their courses, wrote learning outcomes, chose formative and summative assessments, and selected learning activities in order to create course outlines that were well-aligned and clearly articulated. Interactive exercises facilitated the development of the outlines and created an open learning environment among the department members.


Faculty members created course outlines and began to map the assessments and activities to be used in their upcoming courses to identify areas of interaction, overlap, and gaps. They were able to see a visual representation of the kinds of work students were being asked to do across the first term’s curriculum and adjust accordingly.