Curriculum Development & COMMS

Curriculum Development is central to Academic Quality at Mohawk College. Curriculum is developed with the end in mind and highlights the connection between Program Vocational Learning Outcomes (VLOs), Essential Employability Skills (EESs), External Standards (ESs), Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs), Course Assessments, and Experiential Learning activities (EL). The Course Outline Mapping and Management System (COMMS) highlights all of the connections between these elements of Curriculum Development at the course and program level.

Curriculum development is supported through the Centre for Teaching & Learning

Curriculum Development

Course Learning Outcomes

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) are central to your course’s curriculum. They articulate to students, faculty, and other stakeholders what students will achieve in each course and how their learning will be measured.

A Learning Outcome (LO) is a measurable, observable, and specific statement that clearly indicates what a student should know and be able to do as a result of learning.

More details about writing course learning outcomes.


Assessment is the process of gathering information about how well a student is achieving specific outcomes. Through assessment, faculty gather information about student performance, provide students with formal or informal feedback, and guide students to improve their learning.

Evaluation is an assessment of learning – where students demonstrate their learning through a performance task that faculty can use as evidence of student achievement. This evidence is how we determine whether a student has met the learning outcomes for a lesson, unit, course, or program.

More details on how to develop assessments.

Course Descriptions

A course description is a brief summary of the significant learning experiences for a course. Course descriptions appear in individual Course Outlines and in the Program of Studies (POS) for individual programs.

More details on how to write course descriptions.

Learning Plans & Lesson Plans

These are developed by faculty teaching a specific course. They identify the learning outcomes for a specific lesson, helping faculty to focus on the content and provide students with a clear understanding of how each lesson connects to the overall course learning outcomes. 

More details about learning plans and lesson plans.



Course Outline Mapping Management System (COMMS)

COMMS (Course Outline Mapping and Management System) is a cloud-based web application designed to facilitate the standardized creation, management and archiving of course outlines. The Course Outline is a contract between the college and the student that provides information on the curriculum and learning students will experience in a particular course. It articulates the specific outcomes students will achieve in the course, identifies how those outcomes will be measured and assessed, and includes information about course-specific resources and policies.

All course outlines must be entered into the Course Outline Mapping and Management System (COMMS) and submitted to the Associate Dean for approval. PDFs of approved outlines must be posted in MyCanvas course to be shared with students.

COMMS is developed and enhanced by Algonquin College.

COMMS at Mohawk College is guided by the Program Curriculum policy (PDF).

COMMS Tutorial

The system has a built-in help button (by clicking on the ? sign) on each page. (MyMohawk login required)

Access to COMMS is provided once the person has a valid contract in banner. When logging into COMMS, the system checks if the user has an active contract. If the user does not have an active contract they will receive an error message and will not be able to login.

COMMS Timelines

There are two distinct timelines for the COMMS system.  A timeline for Full-Time and a timeline for Continuing Education.

COMMS Post Secondary Roll Over COMMS Continuing Education Roll Over by Term
Once per Academic Year - End of April 

By Term

Spring/Summer - Second week of March

Fall - Second week of July

Winter - First week of November

COMMS Process

Process For Review And Approval

  1. Faculty will access COMMS through MyMohawk and make edits to assigned course outlines. If new faculty are to be assigned as writers, please submit a list ASAP. Alternatively, program coordinators can do this.  In the same way, if program coordinators are to be changed, please advise Jaspreet Dhindsa, COMMS Support Specialist who will make those changes or the Associate Dean can also log in and make the change.
  1. Once faculty have completed their edits, click submit. Course outline will then go to the program coordinators, who will review and submit to the Associate Dean for approval. Please note, after submission, no further edits can be done, unless the AD returns it for editing.
  1. Once approved, an email with a pdf link of the approved course outline will be sent to the faculty, who should then upload it to their MyCanvas course for students’ use.

This way, course outlines are completed and approved for the September start of the academic year.


Selecting A Role In COMMS

There are four common roles in COMMS:

  1. Course Outline Writer is identified by the Program Coordinator to enter or revise the content of a course outline and to map the course to the program’s Vocational Learning Outcomes.
  2. Program Coordinator is assigned by the Associate Dean to assist in identifying course outline writers and to review outlines submitted by the Course Outline Writer before they are submitted to the AD for approval.
  3. Associate Dean assigns program coordinators, reviews, approves and/or unapproves course outlines, and can add departmental information to a course outline.
  4. Associate Dean Designate is identified by the AD to perform all tasks available to the AD, except approving/unapproving course outlines. That remains the task of the AD.

COMMS Resources

Navigation Flowchart for Using COMMS (PDF)
Become COMMS Savvy (PDF)
User-Friendly Course Outline Template (WORD)
Program Coordinator Role in COMMS (PDF)
AD Role in COMMS (PDF)
COMMS-Understanding your Course Outline (PDF)
An accessible version of the List of Steps for Using COMMS is available here (WORD)


Need further assistance?

Jaspreet Dhindsa is available to provide assistance with the COMMS system.  jaspreet.dhindsa1 [at] (subject: AQ%20Website%20%7C%20COMMS%20Inquiry) (Email Jaspreet)

The system also has built-in help (by clicking on the ? sign) on each page.  

Contact us

Still have questions?  Visit the contact us page to meet the team, and get your questions answered!