Totally random, but I was a reading an article for one of my classes when my mind started to wander, eventually landing on the process of selecting your classes in grad school.

I’m a big fan of presenting information visually whenever possible because I think it is generally more intuitive. Right now, most of the tools for planning out your courses/curriculum at Kellogg are primarily text-based: course catalog, major requirements, an Excel spreadsheet planning tool that we are given, etc. It all works out well enough, but I don’t think it does a great job of presenting the big picture.

So I sketched up something (redrawn to the best of my ability with the GIMP below) that I think would make for an interesting “curriculum/development map.” Although I think it would probably be ideal for a touch-based interface (e.g. iPad), I imagine it could also work via a regular web browser.

Curriculum/Development Map

I haven’t worked out everything, but the idea would be:

  • Available courses are organized by discipline and ordered going from more general (the broad foundation) to more specific (deep skills in an area). If you have an idea for what you eventually want to do, you could pick your classes accordingly. For example, someone interested in consulting may prefer to stick with the more general classes, where as someone interested in PE might go full bore into the Finance stuff
  • You could pinch and zoom around to see all of the available classes
  • Clicking/tapping on a class would bring up the information for that class in a side window or something, and the map could draw lines between classes showing requirements, complements, etc.
  • Color-coding would be used to show specific things that the user selects. Like they could look at what classes make up a major, what they’ve already taken, classes available for a given quarter, etc.
  • The map would quickly show you what areas you are developing
  • There would be “cross-discipline bands” for classes that don’t fit neatly into any one area

Of course, something like this would require a lot of thought and planning early on while developing the catalog of available classes, but I think it could be pretty useful for students.

I wonder how other schools manage this.

What do you all think? Any ideas?