Summary: Based on his observations at the 2014 AMEE Annual Conference, one45 software CEO Brian Clare shares his thoughts on a working definition of Curriculum Management. Description: I had the pleasure, along with two colleagues, of attending the 2014 AMEE Annual Conference in Milan, Italy. We had a booth (thanks for coming by, if you did!). We also went to many of the sessions and had a chance to browse the enormous array of posters.

One of the topics that came up a lot was curriculum management. There were several posters on this topic, and we heard many questions on curriculum management and related items like curriculum blueprinting, curriculum mapping, and curriculum structure.

In my opinion, there’s a lot of confusion around this topic. Do a quick web search for "curriculum management", and you will find few articles that give a clear definition of the concept.

Ronald Harden, who posts frequently here on MedEdWorld, is an advocate of curriculum mapping. He’s written a great paper on it here: www.themedfomscu.org/media/elip/curriculum_map.pdf. In his paper, Harden mentions curriculum management as one of the windows through which the curriculum map can be viewed, implying that curriculum management is not the same as curriculum mapping.

A curriculum is just a big learning plan. And, as the saying goes, "No plan survives first contact with the enemy". As new research is published and as practices change, you will be forced to make updates to your curriculum content. Abnormal assessment scores will force you to revisit your sequencing and assessment approach. Inevitably, you will be faced with curriculum drift if you don’t keep on top of these changes.

How do you prevent curriculum drift from occurring? How do you ensure that your carefully designed curriculum adapts properly to the forces pushing it around? You do it with a structured set of activities designed to assess and adjust your curriculum; in other words, with curriculum management.

So, my working definition of curriculum management is that "Curriculum management is a structured set of activities designed to assess and adjust your curriculum".

I think that a sound curriculum management approach will include the following activities:
1. Curriculum mapping
2. Content & structure analysis
3. Student assessment
4. Program evaluation
5. Research, review, revise

You can read more about the activities here: www.one45.com/curriculum/what-is-curriculum-management/.

These are my thoughts on a working definition of curriculum management, based on many years helping medical education programs through this process. I’d love to hear your feedback. Am I missing something? Way off base? Right on? Let me know!