Atlas Core Curriculum Project

AtlasCoreCurriculumProjectProject description

The three goals of the Atlas core curriculum project are:

  1. to assemble core concepts and topic-level learning outcomes that fairly represent the curricular content of required courses in leading MPP and MPA programs;
  2. to provide sufficient explanation of the core concepts, along with links to open access pedagogy, so that an able and motivated Atlas user could acquire a B+ to A- level of mastery of the core curriculum with online resources; and
  3. to include sufficiently fine-grained assessment questions to permit a student or a program to determine whether mastery has been achieved for each of the 120 topics in the core curriculum.

The term “B+ to A- level mastery” is elaborated at Atlas Examination Standards.

Potential uses of the Atlas core curriculum

When completed, the Atlas core curriculum could assist programs that wished to raise academic standards in their required courses closer to those in leading programs (see Using the Atlas to Raise Academic Standards). The Atlas core curriculum could assist prospective and current students in such programs by providing: a) transparent and detailed descriptions of what they should expect in their required courses; and b) online resources to help them meet the program’s expectations. When all the topics in the core curriculum are available online, instructors and students could make better use of classroom time (see Using the Atlas to Flip the Classroom). In addition, programs could designate certain modules of the core curriculum as “strongly recommended for online study” (with or without examination and credit) without mounting a traditional course (see Using the Atlas to Fill Curricular Gaps).

Progress to date

As outlined at Core Curriculum, the conceptual framework for the Atlas core curriculum project has been largely completed. It is elaborated in the specification of SubjectsMPP/MPA Core Competencies and Atlas Standards (including the Atlas Examination Standards), the identification of Reference Programs, and creation of the template for Atlas Courses.

What remains is the continuing task of fleshing out the content and linking it to online pedagogy. As of 4 June 2017 we have identified, in draft form, the full slate of 120 core topics (although these will undoubtedly be adjusted as the project progresses) and have created pages for 92 of these topics (with links pointing to the older version of the Atlas for most of the remainder). We have created over 600 of what we expect to be close to 1,200 core concepts and terms. As illustrated at Core Curriculum and Atlas U, we have essentially completed Atlas100 Governance and Institutions and Atlas109 Leadership and Communication and substantial progress has been made with Atlas107 Implementation and Delivery, Atlas101 Policy Analysis and ProcessAtlas102 Economic Analysis, Atlas104 Quantitative Methods, and Atlas111M Ethics. Concept comprehension questions have been developed for over 200 concepts at Concept Quizzes for Atlas206 Internship Reading.

Next steps

We hope to have the following completed by the end of 2017:

  • Atlas102 Economic Analysis – complete all 12 topics in this core subject (10% of the core curriculum) by finishing the integration of the Jonathan Gruber MIT OpenCourseWare material into the current content that based largely on the Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok MRU course, including the assessment questions from both sources.
  • Atlas104 Quantitative Methods – complete all 12 topics in this core subject (10% of the core curriculum) by creating Atlas concept pages for the relevant concepts and integrating them into the current materials which are largely links to subchapters in the OnlineStatBook.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified 4 June 2017.