Introducing Variations: Meet Course Objectives Without Sacrificing Academic Freedom
By Kristin Powers
May 10, 2021
CourseTune New Feature

Do you have courses with multiple sections? Do you want to be sure every section meets the same course objectives and outcomes? If your sections have various modalities and instructors, things can get even trickier.

That’s where CourseTune Variations come in.

With Variations, you can ensure every section of a course, regardless of modality or instructor, meets the same course goals and outcomes – and all without a loss of academic freedom! This new feature ensures a consistent curriculum architecture while allowing for the necessary changes caused by different modalities, instructors, learning resources, assessments, and time-frames. 

So, what are variations?

Your institution may have the same courses taught by different instructors. You might also offer the courses in multiple modalities (hybrid/HyFlex, remote, and in-person). Your students will want to know they’ll be learning the same things no matter which section of the course they take.

We built Variations to make sure your curriculum architecture stays consistent. We call this consistent curriculum architecture the nucleus. Your curriculum can still have natural variation in modality, instructor, learning resources, assessments, and timeframe with Variations in place.

Let’s look at an example. Say you have a class called “College Algebra, Math 141”. This course could have nine different variations:

Variations and the course nucleus

  1. F2F 15-week (base variation)
  2. F2F 8-week
  3.  F2F Project-based
  4.  Hybrid 8-week
  5. Online 15-week
  6. HyFlex Fall 2020 13-week
  7. Dr. Bear’s Section
  8. Business Section
  9. Nursing Section

Even with all these variations, there is there’s consistency with:

  • course name, description, course ID, and number of credits
  • c-layer type, names, descriptions, and corresponding IDs
  • learning objectives and their arrangement in the c-layer (LO/MLO to CLO alignment)
  • mappings of the learning objectives to any outcome sets (CLO to PLO alignment)

The consistent part? That’s your course nucleus.

The differences are your variations. They can have assorted flavors too. Some you might organize your delivery design by course length – say eight weeks or 15 weeks—others you might organize by module. You can even vary the order that the learning objectives are taught. You’ll have a lot of powerful flexibility.

 Borrow activity sets to build new variations.

Suppose you’ve built out all your assessments and learning activities in a course. Wouldn’t it be nice to reuse those same activities when making new variations for different instructors or modalities? We thought so. You’ll save time by re-using your activity sets and have the confidence that your learning objectives are being fully covered by a diverse set of engaging learning activities.

How does it work? Let’s say your base variation is for a face-to-face learning experience, but you want to add an online section. The manager can build a new variation by adding the base’s complete activity sets, including the readings, videos, and quizzes from the face-to-face experience. Then they can add new activities that’ll only be part of the online variation. The best part? All the learning objectives stay consistent across your variations. You don’t have to “reinvent the wheel” on each one!

You can dig deeper into this exciting aspect of Variations in the help article. In the meantime, here are some quick screenshots.

Screenshots of CourseTune's new Variations Feature

 The new Variations Activity Report

Since your courses may now have multiple variations, you’ll want to keep track of how they all compare with each other. Even though the nucleus of your variations is the same, you could have many differences with your bundle organization and activities. That’s why we include a new Variations Activity Report to show you how your activities differ from variation to variation (by time or by points).

The new Variations Report

Ready to unleash the power of Variations?

Whether we’re already working together or you’re ready to start your journey, we’re here to help bring a transparent, focused perspective to the critical work you care about!

CourseTune delivers one place to design, manage, and plan your curriculum. Our unique, patented, visual curriculum maps equip you with a common platform. One that helps faculty, staff, and leadership focus on the big picture while revealing how learning objectives, competencies, and accreditation criteria impact student outcomes. CourseTune supplies you with the communication and workflow tools that promote collaboration and unlock innovation across your institution.

Set up some time for a demo or discussion. Or click the help button on the lower-left, and chat with us.

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