A curriculum review may find that the curriculum continues to be a relevant and useful guide to the teaching and learning of a course; it might also find that a curriculum is no longer effective, requiring anything from a bit of tweaking to a major overhaul. The following flowchart (Figure 5) identifies questions and decisions to be made when considering whether and what to revise:
Figure 5. Revision flowchart
If a curriculum review indicates that the curriculum documents are largely irrelevant to the learners and the course that is being taught, then the curriculum planning process may need to start again from the beginning (i.e., with Section 1: Determining Needs), or the viability of running the course may need to be questioned.
If it is found that the course is, for the most part, relevant and successful, it may be that small changes to the curriculum documents can be postponed to a later date or can be dealt with by instructors while they are teaching.
In many cases, however, it is likely that, while most parts of a curriculum may remain relevant, necessary changes to other parts of the curriculum will be identified. In this case, the following questions will need to be addressed:
• Who will facilitate the desired changes? Does the team tasked with reviewing the curriculum have the expertise to create these changes? If not, are the changes important enough to justify further training or outside help?
• What resources will be necessary in order to make effective change (staff time, materials, etc)?
• How should reasons for the change be best communicated?
• What will be the timeline for implementing the changes?
Once revisions have been made, it is important to have a plan in place for reviewing the effectiveness of the revisions. That is, at a specified later date, you will need to investigate whether the changes to the curriculum plan have been implemented in the course as it is being lived in the classroom. Have the changes had the intended effect of making the curriculum more relevant to the learners, more effective in guiding teaching and learning, and/or more congruent with the curriculum as it is being lived in the classroom?
The review and revision process is a time when professionals pause and reflect on their practice. It provides opportunity for professional growth, for improvement in learning, and for attuning programs to current realities. In times of scarce resources, programs may be inclined to put off review and revision indefinitely. Saving review and revision for later prosperity, however, is false savings. Understanding the impact of a course on stakeholders allows programs to discern whether the course is meeting its intended purpose, thereby making the program more efficient and effective.