A curriculum outline is the official contract between the schoolhouse teaching the course and the program manager funding the course. The curriculum outline informs the program manager these are the resources the schoolhouse needs (reoccurring funding, space, manpower, travel, equipment, etc) in return the schoolhouse promises to teach these specific objectives to this many students with this many convening’s. Using the ADDIE model of curriculum development: (analysis, design, develop, implement, evaluate) the curriculum outline is produced during the design phase before work in the develop phase begins.
There are 11 parts of a curriculum outline:
1. Cover and Routing Page- This page lists the people the curriculum outline has to be routed through in order to get approve. It contains the course code, the course name, who developed it and the next course revision date.
2. The Table of Contents Page- This is self explanatory. It lists everything you find in the curriculum outline.
3. The Course Data Page- This page lists all of the changes to the course. It acts as a quick reference for people that are reviewing the curriculum outline. It lists the following requirements: staffing, funding, equipment, length, prerequisites, etc.
4. Mission and Scope Statements- Here we describe the overall objectives of the entire course, the scope and mission. This page also lists any special prerequisites students have to have or security clearance requirements.
5. Terminal Performance Objectives (TPO)- The section is the real bulk of the curriculum outline. This section has each terminal performance objective statement listed on a separate page, the references to support this TPO, the time required to teach the TPO, the delivery method, and the enabling objectives that support the TPO.
6. Course Content Reference Table- This section of the curriculum outline lists all of the TPOs and what is the justification for teaching them. Even though the program manager is funding the course, there may be other legal requirements from other managers to teach the course. For instance you may be tasked to write a course on mid management leadership by the program manager. However, the CFO has documented the need for financial management be taught to mid level managers. The Course Content Reference Table would document this.
7. Exhibits- This section lists all of the training aids, equipment, texts, references, videos and facilities needed to teach this course. This is a very detailed list. Do not sell yourself short when compiling this list. For instance if you require a storage unit for all of your publications, list it here. If the students require a lounge area, list it here. It doesn’t mean you will get your separate lounge area, or that funding will increase, it only means you require one to teach your course.
8. Course Limiting Factors Sheet- This table describes the max student throughput, classroom furnishing, and amount of instructors you have. It basically tells the program manager why you can’t teach more classes than you are saying currently.
9. Instructor Contact Hours- This table cross references every TPO into the delivery method. For instance this TPO requires 1 hours of lecture, 2 hours of lab, 1 hour of demonstration, and 3 hours of practical examination. This is vitally important when you have bottleneck periods. A TPO may only require 1 instructor during demonstrations, but will then require 2 instructors for practical applications. This table will show that and give an accurate picture.
10. Additive Man Hours- This table lists any extra things instructors have to do to support teaching the course. For instance, do instructors have to spend time scheduling adjuncts to come in and teach? Do instructors have to spend time recertifying specific topics in order to support the course? Is there any special training that instructors have to do in order to teach?
11. Staffing Standards Sheet- This is the final table that figures in the Instructor Contact Hours and the Additive Man Hours information and tells the program manager how many instructors are required to teach this course successfully.
After the curriculum outline is finalized and routed through the course’s chain of command, the instructional designers will start building the lesson plans and presentations to support the terminal Performance Objectives.
Much more detailed instructions on the Coast Guard Curriculum Outline can be found in Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) Volume 6 Curriculum Outline at http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg1/cg132/docs/SOP_6.pdf