Redesigning UICOM Phase 1 Curriculum

silver imac on top of brown wooden table


In preparation for the redesigned medical school curriculum that debuted in fall 2017, I presented a design mock-up with a colleague from our Peoria campus to faculty and administration to demonstrate how to create connections between various services and products that students, staff, and faculty use. This is specific to ‘phase 1’ of the curriculum, which includes the M1 and M2 years.

  • Target Audience: Faculty and staff at UICOM
  • Tools Used: Adobe Spark, Camtasia
  • Budget: N/A (internal project).
  • Client: University of Illinois College of Medicine
  • Year: 2017 – ongoing

Ongoing: Iterative design of templates to be used by faculty and administration. These documents are current as of 21 November 2021.


In addition to the development of these forms, there was a strong need to create consistency of the look and feel of the learning management system (LMS) that is used in the college, Blackboard. One of the most important aspects was the naming of the courses in the LMS. The naming conventions needed to be consistent and consecutive, so it would be easy for the faculty, staff, students, and eventually accreditation agencies, to find content.

Naming Convention of Courses
This is an example of the adopted naming convention:

Illinois Medicine Curriculum Phase 1 (Chicago, Class of 2023)
Phase 1 is the traditional M1-M2 years of education.

Illinois Medicine Curriculum Phase 2 (Chicago, Class of 2021)
Phase 2 is the M3 year of education.

Blackboard Left-hand Navigation
As the curriculum entered the 3rd iteration, accommodations to campus-specific requests had to be addressed. For example, the Peoria campus administration wanted to include a tab on the left for their virtual reality projects.

Prototype and Final Product

A ‘dummy’ course was created to show all stakeholders some options for the redesign. A subset of students along with staff and faculty helped to guide the design. It was crucial to get their input as they would be the users of the redesign. The final design has gone through a few tweaks over the past few years as the curriculum has also evolved.

Blackboard navigation Template for Class of 2023

On the left is an example of the original left-hand navigation for the class of 2021.

On the right is an example of the modified left-hand navigation for the class of 2023. To accommodate any campus-specific needs, all three campus stakeholders agreed that the top section “above the line” should remain the same and anything below is ‘fair game,’ within reason (i.e. we don’t want to have a left-hand navigation that is too long).