What’s in a name? Maybe you need MaPS?

A couple of people have commented that the acronym ‘SPaM’ may not go down well in some circles. However, the structure of the acronym is purposeful and as such I am intending to keep it in this format.

Whilst the three domains should be considered equally the reality is that nearly all of the course design or curriculum development activities I have been involved with, either as a course director or as an educational developer, have almost always started with a discussion about “what” is going to be in the course, i.e. the “subject knowledge”.

That’s not to say that “content is king” as subject knowledge is more than just content, but it is very often the starting point for the curriculum design process and strongly informs learning outcomes and structure of programmes. For this reason ‘S’ for Subject is the first letter in the acronym.

Additionally both Subject & Pedagogy are already established elements of the TPACK framework (although ‘subject’ is referred to as Content Knowledge) so it makes sense to have these as the first two letters whilst the domain. Additionally, conversations about “how” a course/programme will be taught often follow on from “what” will be taught. Finally, the component which I have added into the framework is Modality, the domain which is likely to be least familiar and as such become the focus of the conversation later on in the process (hence having ‘M’ at the end of the acronym).

However, I wouldn’t want an acronym to stand in the way of a useful framework being used and so on the rare occasion where someone may object to SPaM then please feel free to use the alternative – MaPS.

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