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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.

This webpage provides a video tutorial and a mapping tool to explore to what extent the various elements of the Connected Curriculum are evident in your module or programme. This is also a resource for those completing the mapping activities in support of CIM programmes.

Self Evaluation Tool

The Connected Curriculum self-evaluation tool (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.

This video provides an overview of a number of UCC programmes mapped against the Connected Curriculum framework and takes you stepwise through how to use the self-evaluation tool.

Video: Using the Self Evaluation tool (13 minutes) 

Engage with the Self Evaluation Tool

  1. Download the Self Evaluation Tool excel file.

  2. Open the first page of the Self Evaluation Tool and consider the extent to which your module or programmes integrates the Connected Curriculum elements. This scoring guide or rubric describes increasing levels of integration of the distinct elements in a module or programme as move from left to right for each element. Use this guide to reflect on your programme or module.

  3. Open the second page of Self Evaluation Tool and begin to score your module or programme.
    For example, write a score of 1 in the 1st column of the research based teaching element if you are introducing this element. Write a score 2 in the second column of the research based teaching element if there is more structured inclusion of the element. Write a score of 3 in the third column if it is the main focus of a learning activity, etc. The scoring guide/rubric on page one of the excel file will help you to determine what score is appropriate.
    Note: Write only one score per element, e.g. if your module introduces Civic Engagement, then just put 1 in the first column and nothing in the other four columns for that element. Some people prefer to use qualitative text to initially complete the mapping exercise and then score on review of the text. Pick whichever approach is more useful for you.

  4. This scoring exercise results in an auto-generated radar graph which can be helpful for visualising the extent to which the various elements are integrated into your programme or module. You may wish to retain this scoring result so as to contrast with future developments of your module or programme. 

  5. In CIM programmes an element is considered present in a programme if you score 2 or higher for that element. If lower do not select the element.
    Note: When you select "Sustainability" on CIM programmes, you will be prompted to complete a short mapping exercise using UCC's SDG toolkit (see further resources below). 

Intended use of Self Evaluation Tool

In the Self Evaluation tool, the six elements of the Connected Curriculum 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 below and via the Connected Curriculum short course 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. Learning and Teaching with the SDGs - self-paced, short course on how to embed sustainability in your teaching.
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. UNIC Handbook on Physical and Virtual Mobility - this publication gives guidance on how to design intercultural learning and teaching, reflecting examples from across the UNIC Universities Alliance.
  6. Connected Curriculum and You self-paced, short course for staff.
  7. Graduate attributes programme assessment: a dedicated space to support you on reviewing your programme in relation to UCC's graduate attributes is available at 

Design Sprint

For staff seeking to make the Connected Curriculum more explicit in their curriculum, the Design Sprint provides an interactive approach, facilitated by CIRTL activity to reflect on current or prospective module design and how to integrate the various elements of the Connected Curriculum. A typical Design Sprint combines staff and students but can also involve programme teams or a range of programmes directors in a school or department.

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,