Algonquin College’s Course Outline Mapping and Management Software (COMMS) is a web-based program that simplifies and streamlines the course outline writing process for instructors and academic supervisors. Using COMMS can greatly decrease the amount of time spent on writing course outlines, and allows supervisors to efficiently manage outlines and optimize the delivery of courses.
Using the Course Outline Editor in COMMS, instructors can focus on preparing a course without worrying about creating the outline. The COMMS course outline editor knows exactly what information needs to be included in the course outline—and more importantly, what doesn’t need to be included. Learning Outcomes, Elements of Performance, and other standardized information can be preloaded into the system. COMMS also handles all formatting and design decisions, further reducing the time required.
When a course outline has been submitted for approval, COMMS sends automatic e-mail notifications to academic supervisors to help move the process along. Course outlines can be easily previewed and approved with just a few clicks of the mouse. Even if a course outline is incomplete or incorrect, COMMS allows supervisors to explain the problem and submit their comments back to the writer for review. Once finished, COMMS creates a high-quality PDF file of the course outline for archival and distribution.
Academic supervisors can also instantly compare courses across a program and optimize the delivery of learning requirements through the report generator in COMMS. The reports compare the delivery of course learning requirements and display the distribution of learning outcomes. Supervisors can immediately see if and where certain objectives are missing or lacking, and how they can be improved.
Using COMMS reduces the stress of writing course outlines, simplifies the approval process, and delivers an organized and understandable final product for students. The flexibility and customizability of COMMS makes it suitable for the needs of any college. Colleges across Ontario should consider incorporating COMMS into their current course outline development strategy to deliver consistent results and reduce the amounts of time and energy spent on course outlines.