It’s no news that Des Moines University’s master of health care administration and master of public health programs continue to provide high quality education, but now they have another feather in their caps. According to John Gilhuly, senior project manager at Desire2Learn (D2L), these programs are “pioneers” in utilizing D2L’s curriculum mapping and student learning outcome assessment technologies. In fact, Gilhuly says, no other medical and health science degree programs are as advanced as DMU’s M.H.A. and M.P.H. programs in these measures.
This accomplishment is a result of the diligent teamwork of M.H.A. and M.P.H. faculty, directors, academic assistants and the instructional design coordinator in the College of Health Sciences. College and university senior administrators, information technology services (ITS) and the admission and registrar’s offices also have been very supportive in the process.
The curriculum mapping initiative for the M.H.A. and M.P.H. programs started approximately a year ago. Devrim Ozdemir, Ph.D., the instructional design coordinator for CHS, led the initiative. After D2L training was completed on campus, ITS created the technical infrastructure in D2L Brightspace based upon a number of meetings of the D2L Implementation Team and several ad hoc teams. Later, Dr. Ozdemir entered the M.H.A. and M.P.H. competency models into D2L and then developed and taught a fully online course entitled “Applied Curriculum Mapping” to 20 M.H.A. and M.P.H. faculty teaching courses during the fall 2014 term. That resulted in development of the curriculum maps for 24 courses. “Applied Curriculum Mapping” covered topics such as literature on curriculum mapping, existing university and college policies, accreditation agency requirements and development of effective course objectives, assessments and a curriculum map. In addition to completing the online course and spending numerous hours on their own, M.H.A. and M.P.H. faculty and staff spent around 300 hours on an individual basis with Dr. Ozdemir between mid-July and mid-September 2014 to complete their curriculum maps and respective new course development/design.
The first results from the D2L curriculum mapping and achievement reports are expected to be in by the end of the fall semester. These reports will allow the programs to identify the successful and problematic areas in the curriculum as well as in teaching and assessment practices, enabling the programs to maintain a high-quality curriculum aligned with their respective competencies.
In addition to this programmatic evaluation, the D2L tools create transparency for students. M.H.A. and M.P.H. students can see the connections between the assessments, course objectives and industry-level competencies; identify the competencies in which they excel or fail during their courses; and understand how individual courses enhance their success in their fields.