About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1439-1445
Publication year: 2014
ISBN: 978-84-617-2484-0
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain


L. Blasco Soplon, J. Minguillón Alfonso, J. Melenchón Maldonado

Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (SPAIN)
Academic degrees or curricula are usually presented with text or tables, following a semester structure. This structure helps learners to create their own itineraries within a given degree in perspective. Both text and tables are useful to explain parts of a specific curriculum, but they are limited for visualizing the links between the different subjects, competence acquisition and development, learning outcomes or the activities carried out in each subject. Competences and subjects are fully entangled but, due to the nature of the enrollment process, learners make their decisions based on which courses they want to take only, not the competences they will acquire or develop.

This paper proposes a new way to visualize an academic degree curriculum, paying special attention to the connections among its different subjects and competences. We have applied this visualization to some degrees offered by the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC).

It is well known that forming mental images is a prerequisite in human thought, because they give meaning to and organize new information, providing modes of reasoning and decision-making (Damasio, 1994)(1). Visualization techniques can be also used to provide a shared mental image of an academic degree curriculum; therefore, the relation between subjects of a degree can be made visible through their common (i.e. shared) competences. In this sense, information visualization is a recently growing field, with a promising future in the learning context (Gómez et al.)(2). It allows the creation of shared mental images that help us to analyze, understand and take decisions about the curriculum design of an academic degree and its development processes.

This proposal let us to take pictures of a degree during the design process. These images enable us (as teachers and degree managers) to analyze the work in progress, make strategic decisions based on curriculum appearance, and update and validate curriculum design from a different point of view.

But the proposed degree visualization seems to be also useful to three types of agents involved in the teaching-learning process: students, teachers and management staff. The visualization of the relationships between the different subjects helps to place each student in a degree general map; it also helps to place teachers who teach the subjects, regarding the relationships with other subjects and other teachers; finally, it also helps to provide the management staff (dean, programme/degree director or technical assistants) with an overall picture, that may help them to get a better understanding of the degree development.

As a result, this paper aims to contribute to a dialectical construction of the academic curriculum by means of a visualization proposal, that provides a shared and integrated vision, as well as to assist and improve self-reflection during its design process but also during the teaching-learning process.

[1] Antonio Damasio. “Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain”. New York, Avon. 1st edition. 1994.
[2] Diego Alonso Gomez Aguilar, Cristobal Suarez Guerrero, Roberto Theron Sanchez and Francisco Garcia Peñalvo “Visual Analytics to Support E-learning” In Mary Beth Rosson (Ed.) “Advances in Learning Processes”. InTech. 2010.
author = {Blasco Soplon, L. and Minguill{\'{o}}n Alfonso, J. and Melench{\'{o}}n Maldonado, J.},
series = {7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2014 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-2484-0},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {17-19 November, 2014},
year = {2014},
pages = {1439-1445}}
AU - L. Blasco Soplon AU - J. Minguillón Alfonso AU - J. Melenchón Maldonado
SN - 978-84-617-2484-0/2340-1095
PY - 2014
Y1 - 17-19 November, 2014
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2014 Proceedings
SP - 1439
EP - 1445
ER -
L. Blasco Soplon, J. Minguillón Alfonso, J. Melenchón Maldonado (2014) CURRICULUM VISUALIZATION BASED ON SUBJECT COMPETENCES, ICERI2014 Proceedings, pp. 1439-1445.