Course Outline Mapping and Management System (COMMS)

COMMS (Course Outline Mapping and Management System) is a web-based application that allows faculty and staff at Northern College to create, edit, approve, and store course outlines on a College-wide basis. The application also enables users to map course curriculum to program outcomes and provides reports in the form of curriculum maps. 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. Course Outlines at Northern College are written in our Course Outline Mapping and Management System, or COMMS.

Northern College COMMS Site

Course Outline Writer
Once you are notified that a course outline is ready to be entered/revised, log into COMMS and click on Course Outline Writer. Then click on Write/Edit Course Outlines. Click on Edit beside the outline you want to enter/revise. You may preview your course outline at any time by clicking on Preview.

Preparing a Course Outline for COMMS
For courses that are part of a program leading to an Ontario College Credential, there are a few items to keep in mind as you prepare your course outline. There is the option to indicate the inclusion of the program learning outcomes in your course, as determined by the program mapping. There is also the opportunity to indicate how evaluations link to the course learning requirements and the Essential Employability Skills Outcomes. The following reports are available in COMMS:

  • VLO Program Summary
  • EES Program Summary
  • Course VLOs by Level for Given Program
  • Course EES by Level for a Given Program

Process map that shows the process for developing course outlines.
Course outline template with instructions on what to enter into each section.
Download/view the PowerPoint presentation - COMMS Training
Sample Completed Course Outline and CSI

The following checklist provides a summary of the questions that will need to be answered as COMMS is being used:

  • Is your course a Vocational, Essential Employability Skills (EES), or General Education course?
  • Is your course core or elective?
  • Have you indicated the course’s contribution to the program? (i.e., Vocational Learning Outcomes (VLOs), EES Outcomes or General Education Theme)
  • Have you written strong Course Learning Requirements (CLRs) that reflect the Program Learning Outcomes.
  • Have you identified the Embedded Knowledge and Skills for each CLR that clearly show the stepping stones to content mastery?
  • Have you identified what Learning Resources will be useful, appropriate, accessible and affordable for the learners?
  • Have you identified a variety of Learning Activities to meet the needs, interests and abilities of the learners?
  • Have you clearly identified what kinds of evaluation activities students must do to earn credit?
  • Where relevant, have you listed the weight of each learning activity?
  • Can you identify which CLRs and which EES each evaluation activity addresses?
  • Have you indicated the course’s eligibility for Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition?