The web-site is now in readonly mode. Login and registration are disabled. (28 June 2019)

Design-Practice Activity 4 - 'The Course Map - one example of a design representation'

Cloud created by:

Paul Mundin
5 April 2011

This activity will take about one hour.

As part of our learning design work we have been developing a number of conceptual tools to build representations, or views, of a learning activity. One representation is a Course Map (see embedded content for a Course Map template) which defines the learning activity, or set of activities, at a course level. It defines the course in terms of four categories, on a single page as an 'at a glance view' . The Course Map can be iteratively worked. Our OU view is built using an Excel work-sheet but it could be built using just pen and paper. The view enables a designer to describe the requirements -  or 'Gathering' of the learning activity in terms of:

  • Content and Activities – includes the media by which the learning activity will be delivered ,and the activities the student will be involved in to complete the course
  • Communication and Collaboration – includes the learning  interactions between the tutor and students (tutorials etc.), and the ways in which the students will work together (forums, blogs, tutorials etc.)
  • Guidance and Support - essentially the guidance and support acts as the ‘learning pathway’ and might include details on the learning activity structure and timetable or links to a calendar or study guide
  • Reflection and Demonstration – includes the ways in which the students will reflect on their practice and progress. Demonstration may take the form of diagnostic, formative or summative assessment

This representation provides a summary textual overview of the learning activity. In addition the view includes keywords, which give an indication of the nature of the learning activity. Keywords might include a description of the type of learning activity it is, in terms of mapping to some theory/model.

You could:

  • Try to represent an existing learning activity using the Course Map (it doesn't need to be a whole course) or,
  • Try to design a new learning activity using the Course Map (it doesn't need to be a whole course)
  • Post your comments about your experience of using the Course Map for either of these two activities
  • Upload your Course Map
  • Post your comments about your Course Map likes/dislikes
  • Spend some time reading the postings of other participants
  • Reply to postings to your own comments

Why use a visual representation?

A number of benefits in using these types of visualisation in learning design have been identified. These include:

  • Making the structure of the design and relationships between the design elements explicit
  • Supporting reflection on the learning design and in particular the student experience
  • Testing how realisable and practical the design is
  • Providing a diagnostic tool for the evaluation and annotation of a design
  • Collaborating with others and the communication of ideas
  • Organising thoughts, including mind‐mapping and brainstorming
  • Sharing the visual design or ‘learning plan’ with students
  • Supporting the teaching of the course
  • Capturing the process of design in addition to the final output (forming a record of discussion and development)
  • Supporting the delivery of change in practice
  • Expressing information, concepts or relationships in the form that is most easily absorbed and retained

What's next - The face to face workshop in Milton Keynes - date to be confirmed

Extra content

Embedded Content

Course Map - Design Representation

Course Map - Design Representation

added by Paul Mundin

SD226 Course Map

SD226 Course Map

added by Isabella Brown


Genie Gabel-Dunk
12:27pm 24 May 2011 (Edited 12:35pm 24 May 2011)

II will address suggestions one, three and four of the items included in the “You could:  listing

Try to represent an existing learning activity using the Course Map (it doesn't need to be a whole course)


I would have preferred to set out the Module Map Overview, which I include below within a table or in text boxes as used in the Embedded Content example for this activity; but have been unable to discover how to achieve this type of representation within  the context of the comment facility provided.


Module Map Overview:    E111: Supporting learning in primary schools


Guidance and support

module assessment guide

module study calendar

module Learning Outcomes

guidance for the six TMA submissions

seven, 2.5 hours face-to-face tutorials


Content and activities

module Study Topic folders (Study Topics 1 through 19)

    both in a printed and online PDF formats

practical activities within the context of each Study Topic

two module readers

two module CD, which includes 32 video sequences                                            


Communication and collaboration

face-to-face tutorials

Tutor group online forum

National student online forums (Cafe and Discussion)

   *note:  students who have not been happy with some restrictions relating to the OU parameters for online etiquette have established Facebook discussion groups



Reflection and demonstration

personal learning journals

Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory (ELLI) check list and review

six TMA submissions

online discussions within the Tutor group forum

feedback from tutor on the six TMA submissions


Module Summary

60 point module, Level 1, October to May presentation, entry module to a suite of three modules leading to a Foundation Degree in Primary Teaching and Learning

Seven Block of study over 32 weeks; whole weeks identified as TMA preparation weeks throughout the course of study

two weeks (weeks 30-32) identified as preparation weeks for the EMA submission


Key Words

practice based learning

aligned to teacher development frameworks

rich in practical activities informed by theory

read, investigate, relate to personal, professional practice within the primary school setting, reflect, analyse, develop academic writing skills

Post your comments about your experience of using the Course Map for either of these two activities

At this juncture, I found it easier to construct the Module Map Overview relating to the module as a whole rather than identifying a single activity; I note that I found that because of the limitations of this platform for logging comments or my inexperience of using it the representation of the Module Map Overview was difficult because I have not found a way of developing information within a table or text box format in the comment box facility provided

Upload your Course Map

What is represented below is an example of the type of Curriculum Map of which I have had pervious experience.  The example relates to a single block of study within a single module of a suite of modules leading to a diploma in Childhood and Youth Studies.

CURRICULUM MAP Diploma in Childhood and Youth Studies                                        

T denotes Taught; D denotes Developed; A denotes Assessed

Blue highlight denotes compulsory courses (of course in my cutting and pasting from the original document some of the formatting has been lost, for example the shading in cells).







A1   different theoretical perspectives that contribute to the study of childhood and youth, including biological, anthropological, psychological, sociological, legal, cultural  and historical accounts and how these inform effective communication with children and young people.





A2   the way ethnicity, religion, caste/class, gender, sexuality and disability shape childhood and youth; the impact of differentiation, inequality and exclusion; strategies designed to tackle these issues including safeguarding and promoting welfare of children and young people





A3   policies and provisions relating to regulation/promotion of children and young people’s  status, welfare, health and learning, including how these impact on  home, school, work and other contexts and an appreciation of the importance of multi-agency working





A4   the principles underlying a rights approach to childhood  and youth issues and how these may be applied to a variety of situations within international and national contexts including how these can support transitions





A5   a range of approaches and methods used in research with children and young people






Alison Clayton-Smith
4:59pm 26 May 2011

I'm doing this before the previous activity because I'm trying to work out how to print off the document to read hard copy, so I may have missed something here. Anyway, I only do 'mini' design for online so I'm not sure if I've quite got this right but I've used a session I've just devised for a day school that's coming up. It has been useful doing this as it has prompted me to think about explicitly creating a follow up activity - i.e. encourage them to post on the forum after the face-2-face session by posting 1 thing that was interesting/useful from the day.

Course Map: Discovering Psychology – Using the Online forum


Guidance and support

Outline of aims posted on online forum

Links/details to further help

Screenshots/’live’ show and tell in f-2-f session


Content and activities

Attendance at f-2-f show and tell, group discussion on barriers/benefits, idea generation on solutions. Exercise on ‘Is this message appropriate?’ Encourage action to post on forum afterwards in day school thread to say 1 thing that was interesting/useful. Could use ‘Is this message appropriate?’ exercise on forum afterwards.


Communication and collaboration

F-2-F session and follow up on online forum discussion


Reflection and demonstration

Reflection during f-2-f session on current use/not. Contributing to forum discussion thread afterwards.


 Course summary



Key words

Face-to-face activity

Online forum activity



Generic study skill

Manfusa Shams
9:41pm 31 May 2011

The course map is a fascinating subject for investing creative ideas and subsequent applications to design a course/module. Designing a course map is a challenging task, and the theoretical model underpinning the learning activity needs to be integrated into the representation of a course map.  

I will make an endeavour to represent a learning activity from my experience with 'Design and the Web' course.  The learning activity involves designing webpages for an individualised website, using appropriate tools, and design theory and principles.

Course Map : Design and the Web

Learning activity - Developing, creating and publishing a website

Content and Activities – Forum exercises, set textbook, DVD and Design guide

Communication and Collaboration – Online course forum discussion, Tutor support

Guidance and Support - Study guide, ongoing recommendation and references from tutors online, supportive comments from TG students and assignment booklet

Reflection and Demonstration – reflection of learning in a formal report for assessment, feedback on multiple choice questions, creating webpages and publishing a website, follow-up comments and feedback on this learning activity.

Overview of learning activity: The aim of the learning activity is to demonstrate the application of  design theory and principles  to develop and publish webpages using a webpage editor, and design guide. The major learning outcome is to understand design theory and principles to apply to the planning, designing, developing and publishing a website, and to critique web pages and websites from a design perspective. The learning activity is providing the opportunity to generate interests in representing appropriate designs to a learning activity/ assignment.

Key words: 

Design principles and design theory

Interactive design and embedded text

Technical skills 

Good practice in design

Ethical issues  in design practice

Richenda Power
8:56pm 4 June 2011

I've come into this a bit late in the evening for managing to produce anything, and feel a bit overwhelmed by the detailed materials in the first two comment boxes particularly.

So I'll come back tomorrow and try to upload a drawing instead, as I thought we were trying to use visual representations?

For some reason, various wierd and wonderful business videos kept interfering with the slide on course design.


Genie Gabel-Dunk
2:52pm 5 June 2011

Richenda, my intention was not to “overwhelm” anyone with my posting.  I am very aware of how that can feel as I participated in an online course in which I was very much at the lower end of the learning curve and in the end I did not complete the course because felt so “overwhelmed”.  With regards to uploading information using the comment facility in cloudworks, I copy below Paul’s response to me when I had a similar dilemma as you currently appear to be having.

“ . . . 1) No - unfortunately you have to select and copy text from the Cloudscape or Cloud and paste it into a Word document, mail etc. and edit it as required [in reference to getting at a version of the text that you can printout]; 2) Cloudworks does not have the facility to store graphics/diagrams/video etc. because we do not want to create large data storage issues for ourselves when other sites such as Slideshare and YouTube already offer these facilities. You will notice that the documents available in some of the Clouds are accessed as embedded content from Slideshare. If you wish to add a diagram to Cloudworks you can upload it to Slideshare for example (depending on the document format) and give the link to Cloudworks as embedded content. .. . ”

It is my hope that some of this will be clearer as a result of the face-to-face workshop on the 10th of June.  Genie

Manfusa Shams
3:33pm 6 June 2011

Hi Richenda - I think when we click on the embedded diagram, it takes us to the slide share cloud - an open space accessible to anyone, therefore we are also exposed to other business promotional slides and videos.

Paul has kindly mentioned this to me at the beginning of this training module.

Richenda Power
10:58am 7 June 2011

Thanks, Genie and Manfusa, for your helpful comments here.

I am in a state of overwhelm to start with, as I am trying to keep abreast of 4 OU courses that all began on 7/05, while preparing a talk for health journalists, and attempting to keep up with studying L314, the Advanced Spanish course!

But, on the other hand, the conjunction of all these things does provide me with plenty of opportunity to think about learning design.

So, I shall not try to scan my handwritten page just now, thanks to your advice Genie, and have put below an somewhat abstracted version of my current planning for the upcoming talk on 'abuse' to an audience I assume may have a broad range of knowledge and experience from professional and personal perspecives, or, none at all.


'abuse': how to get the audience thinking about it? Invite their existing ideas; buzz in pairs; brief plenary.

audience listen to speaker, and look at key points/Qs on Powerpoint: i.e. provision of up to date information and research; sources of further help and info.

media: powerpoint slide as trigger of question; use of flipchart to pool ideas from discussions; maybe microphone if large room with big audience, also bear in mind loop for hearing challenged.


Overlaps with the description above: part and parcel of the process of teaching and learning: a listening, sharing, discussing process.

Possibilities for collaboration beyond the session may occur: sharing emails, and providing handouts with resources, and an invitation for feedback.



Speaker suggests how session can be used at the outset, acknowledging breadth of knowledge and experience in audience, and the emotive nature of the topic.  Outlining the session, advising that will provide an overview at the end and a list of helpful, informative and supportive resources.

As topic in itself may cause distress in some participants, speaker also offers to be available to speak, email etc. immediately following the conference, and to give resources for further help and support.


Immediate feedback sheet on the session, designed by the speaker.

Longer term, invite the audience to stay in touch and let speaker know when they succeed in publishing on this area, or if they have further ideas and information.

(Just making myself think under these four headings has been helpful, as well as considering images and text for a slide presentation, which I think starts to become like Conole's description of a 'swimlane' as a process. A good experience. Originally I had hoped to come in here with feedback on the design of an activity for a virtual dayschool, but  in the end that was organised the course chair, so I did not have an input to the design process.)


Keylor Murillo Moya
6:13pm 15 June 2011


I have posted my contribution to this activity on the Activity 5 for this same cloud.


Dee Ellidge
11:26pm 27 June 2011

Hi everyone

I based this activity on a session developed as part my participation in the H812 course which was delivered to a group of community health workers.

Guidance & Support

 Learning Outcomes

 Ongoing Tutor & Peer support as emotive subject

Content &Activities

 Course activities:

  • Snowball
  • Tutor facilitated Whole Group Discussion
  • Small group work

 Additional reading / reference guidance.

Communication & Collaboration

 Face to Face delivery


 Flip chart

 Tutor facilitated discussion

 Peer discussion & feedback to share knowledge, skills and ideas.

Reflection & Demonstration

 Completion of pre & post session self assessment

 Evaluation of learning & session delivery.

Key Words

 Childhood Sexual abuse


Roles & Responsibilities.

Good practice


The section I found hardest was the course summary probably I think because I focused on a face to face session rather than a longer course. Any attempts I made to summarise just seemed to repeat the learning outcomes.

I did produce this in a grid format and feel that produced a more visual and clear plan than how it is presented here.



Contribute to the discussion

Please log in to post a comment. Register here if you haven't signed up yet.