The EECS Curricular Goal Map is intended to document the equivalent of an API specification for each subject: the contractual relationship between the subject and the surrounding curriculum. It sketches a shared universe of curricular goals, each of which reflects some documented level of understanding of a topic or sub-topic of a course.

Each such goal has a unique name (identity), a brief description, a detailed description, a list of subgoals, and a list of rubrics. Each subject will document its curricular role by the specification of two sets of goals:

  • prerequisite goals, reflecting assumptions about the level of understanding of incoming students; and
  • outcome goals, reflecting expectations about the level of understanding of students successfully completing the subject.
The EECS Department is in the process of documenting curricular goals for key undergraduate courses, a project that we expect to extend to our entire curriculum over time.

Exploring the goal map

On the left is a dynamic graph whose nodes represent subjects and goals, and whose edges represent relations between them (e.g., prerequisite or outcome relationship). The right portion of the screen contains a tabbed text display area, typically conveying information about the portion of the curricular map that is currently displayed on the left.

You may notice the graph moving to rearrange its nodes and edges. The site uses one of several popular packages that does graph layout via a simulated physics model involving spring tensions and node repulsion; you can tweak the layout by dragging nodes around on the screen.

Click on a node (a subject or goal), and you'll see its description on the right. You'll also set that node as the focus of the graph, effecting the subset of the curriculum selected for display. At any point, the graphical display includes only nodes that are in the immediate neighborhood of the focus node. You can set the size of the neighborhood displayed by incrementing or decrementing the Horizon control at the top of the right screen panel.

Another abstraction mechanism that may provide useful control over the amount of displayed information is support for the decomposition of complex goals into component subgoals. A goal may specify a set of subgoals, each of which can be viewed as being contained by the parent goal. These containment relationships may optionally be represented by fat edges on the graph. A second control, called Detail, may be incremented or decremented to control the number of levels of subgoals displayed. In low-detail displays, subgoals are folded into their parent goals. At the low extreme of the Detail setting, intervening goals between subjects are not shown, leaving just the graph of prererquisite subjects (hopefully reflecting our listed prerequisite requirements for each).

Subjects, Goals, and Topics lists

Clicking the Subjects, Goals, or Topics tab at the top of the right-hand screen panel selects a list of subjects, goals, or topics respectively. These lists can be scrolled if necessary; clicking on a subject or goal sets the focus of the map to that node and displays its particulars in the right-hand panel. Over time, we expect to add new tools for browsing the growing universe of curricular goals and EECS courses that relate to them.
Click on a subject to map it.
Click on a goal to map it.

Topics and subjects:

Horizon: ?? Detail: ??
Click on a node in the graph to recenter the graph on that node, and display its details here. The horizon and detail controls, above, can be used to determine the extent and depth of the displayed portion of the graph.