Digital Culture Visual Planner

Here at ASU, I am faculty in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering (AME). We recently designed and began teaching a new undergraduate degree program called ”Digital Culture” which now has nearly 400 majors. We attempt to support new types curricula by structuring differently the way students move through courses. With a constantly shifting and changing curriculum, structuring course enrollment using class prerequisites leads to fixed and rigid pathways through the curriculum. Instead, Digital Culture structures course sequences based on the students accumulation of abstract ”Proficiencies” which are collected by students as they complete courses, and which act as keys to unlock access to higher level course. As a student accumulates more and more of these proficiencies, they are increasingly able to unlock new courses. This system leads to more flexible and adaptive pathways through courses while ensuring that students are prepared for entrance into more advanced classes. 

It is however more complicated and requires that students strategically plan their route through the curriculum. In order to support this kind of strategic planning we have designed and deployed a course planning system where students can simulate various possible paths through the curriculum. 

Our visual planning tool for our Digital Culture students.

You can read more in the paper "Visual planner: beyond prerequisites, designing an interactive course planner for a 21st century flexible curriculum" where we show our design process in coming up with our ”Digital Culture Visual Planner”. This design process starts with a network analysis of how all the Digital Culture courses are interrelated by, visualizing the relationships between proficiencies and courses. A number of possible design directions result from this analysis. Finally we select a single design and refine it to be understandable, useful and usable by new undergraduate Digital Culture majors.