Connected Curriculum

The Connected Curriculum has been a focus of the University for a few years now and helps name what already is happening in learning and teaching in UCC. It comprises of six elements: research-based teaching, employability, sustainability, inter- and transdisciplinarity, global reach, and civic and community engagement.

Self Evaluation Tool

The Connected Curriculum self-evaluation tool has been developed to support staff to consider how they might integrate the various elements of the Connected Curriculum into their modules and programmes. It articulates what programme teams and module coordinators are already doing, but it also creates a common langauge to describe this and suggests a direction of travel to guide reflection, aid review and redesign.

Engage with the Self Evaluation Tool

  1. Open the first page of the Self Evaluation Tool (xls) and consider the extent to which your module or programmes integrates the six elements of the Connected Curriculum.

    The tool describes increasing levels of integration of the distinct elements in a module or programme as move from left to right of the table. The last column for each element describes how the element could be included as a design feature of a module or programme, and also intersects with research-based learning whereby students problematize and critique the specified element as it relates to their discipline.

  2. Open the second page of the xls file and begin completing the table in relation to your module or programme. Score yourself 20 if you are introducing an element, 40 if there is more structured inclusion, 60 if it is the main focus of a learning activity etc. The details on page 1 of the xls file should help you. Don't score partial numbers just whole numbers, e.g. 20, 40, 60. Write only one score per element, e.g. if your module introduces Civic Engagement, then just put 20 in the first column and nothing in the other four columns. Some people may prefer to use qualitative text to complete the mapping tool. Please pick whichever approach is more useful for you.

Need further guidance and examples? This video provides an overview of a number of UCC courses mapped against the Connected Curriculum framework and also takes you stepwise through how to use the Self Evaluation tool.

Intended use of Self Evaluation Tool

In the Self Evaluation tool, the six elements are separated to provide greater clarity, but many modules and programmes combine these elements in a range of different approaches and activities. While the structure of the table suggests a progression from left to right, it may not be appropriate for a discipline or a module to focus on the element other than as an introductory consideration. The intention is that this self-evaluation tool provides guidance to staff on how to integrate the various elements of the Connected Curriculum and additional resources will be provided on the Connected curriculum website to further support this work.

This tool was designed to support staff in the following activities:
1: Review and development of modules and programmes
2: Supportive document in cyclical Quality reviews
3: Prompt in new programme development
4: Prompt in Learning Design workshops

Further Resources

  1. SDG toolkit - a digital resource with curated materials to support staff in integrating sustainability in learning and teaching
  2. Civic engagement toolkit -  a digital resource containing ‘Practice Insights’ articles - sharing practical tools and examples for best practice implementation of civic engagement in learning and teaching
  3. PaPOR TraIL online course - this self paced course for students explores the principles and practices of principles and practices of open research in support of research based learning
  4. Handbook on Virtual mobility - this publication gives guidance on how to design intercultural learning and teaching, reflecting examples from across the UNIC Universities Alliance.
  5. Self-paced, short course on the Connected Curriculum and You.
  6. Design Sprint - This is an interactive approach facilitated by CIRTL through which staff and students are facilitated to reflect on current or prospective module design and how to integrate the various elements of the Connected Curriculum. Further details on this approach follow below.

Design Sprint

For staff seeking to make the Connected Curriculum more explicit in their curriculum, the Design Sprint provides an intense professional development activity for supporting staff and students to integrate the Connected Curriculum in their module or prorgamme. 

The first Design Sprint was run in April 2021 and focussed on two elements of the Connected Curriculum, i.e. 'Civic Engagement' and 'Sustainability'. Participants had a specific credit-bearing module in mind which they wished to adapt based on the Design Sprint and engaged 3-4 of their students in the initial Learning Design activities and the Design Sprint workshop.


Overview of Design Sprint approach

The Design Sprint methodology is as follows:

  • PREPARE (~40 minute): Engagement of participating staff and 3-4 of their students with a self-paced Canvas resource in preparation for the Learning Design workshop. 
  • DESIGN (1x 90 minute workshop): Participation of staff and 3-4 of their students in an interactive, online Learning Design workshop. 
  • ALIGN (1x 60 minute workshop): Participation of staff in a subject-specific online workshop, i.e. on Civic Engagement or Sustainability.
  • REFINE (3 x 30 minute online catch-ups): Engagement of staff in 1:1 meetings with professional development mentors. 

Interested in this approach? Please contact CIRTL ( to request a Design Sprint workshop. 

Centre for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL)

West Lodge, Main Campus,