Collaborative curriculum mapping: ESD and veterinary medical education

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


This paper outlines the use of a curriculum mapping tool to map the veterinary medical curriculum to the Higher Education Academy/Quality Assurance Agency (HEA/QAA) Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) graduate outcomes.

The goal of the project was to investigate how students learn about social responsibility and sustainability issues within a veterinary context. While integrated in veterinary medical training, this currently forms part of the hidden curriculum (present but not explicit to students). The aim of the mapping process was to highlight areas of best practice, and determine gaps or inconsistencies requiring development through course review.
The activity was in three stages, with the author carrying out the first stage by linking, or mapping, between the HEA/QAA and veterinary curriculum graduate outcomes. COM:MAND (Curriculum Outcome Mapping: Management and Delivery Online) was used to carry out the mapping activity. This tool was developed by the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine and the Learning Technology Service at Edinburgh, and provides a straightforward drag-and-drop interface to simplify the process. In the second stage, the initial mapping was discussed with relevant course leaders to confirm links, weightings and consider future developments. COM:MAND has crowdsourcing functionality, providing the third stage of student collaborative input to the discussion.

The activity provides a visualisation of ESD skills and attributes within the curriculum, facilitates course and programme team discussions, and opens the curriculum planning process to student input. The paper will review the exercise as a process to facilitate student and staff co-development of learning and teaching.

Theme(s) addressed: ongoing review of the core veterinary medical education outcomes in the last decade have sought to embed ESD into the curriculum, with a view to encouraging a holistic approach to skills development. As a result of these developments, there is limited awareness or appreciation of ESD within the curriculum. In some areas, as in veterinary public health, concepts are touched on but opportunities for deep reflection and engagement appear limited within a crowded curriculum.

The curriculum mapping exercise serves to evidence and highlight areas of ESD good practice, and demonstrate to students and staff how this forms part of the essential skills expected of veterinary professionals in the 21st century. The three-stage mapping process provides the opportunity for students to engage in curriculum review and enhancement, and take an active lead in future course development initiatives to resolve any gaps or areas of weakness noted as a result of the process. It facilitates discussion on these topics, bringing them to the forefront to question not simply where they are covered, but why and how this could be done in a better way. Working together, students and staff can challenge how these skills and attributes can be developed and enhanced for all members of the veterinary medical profession.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sep 2015
Event‘Learning From the Sharp End’: Implications for sustainability in Higher Education - Bristol, United Kingdom
Duration: 7 Sep 20158 Sep 2015


Symposium‘Learning From the Sharp End’
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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