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Competency Mapping and Search

About Individual Course Competencies

Using competencies in your curriculum is good for tracking skills and knowledge across courses and experiences. A competency structure is especially useful in skill-based education, such as preparation for certification exams, teaching students to troubleshoot, et cetera. Brightspace offers a comprehensive overview of how standalone competencies work in individual D2L courses (see Competencies Tool Videos for Instructors or Documentation). The standard competency mapping tool works on a course-by-course basis.

About Program-Wide Competencies at MSU

The program-wide curriculum mapping tool at MSU allows faculty, administrators, and support staff to search for specific competencies within their department, and see where those competencies are represented within the course structure. Knowing the location of different competencies is important for ensuring program quality and alignment, reporting for accreditation, and more.

Programmers at MSU Information Technology have developed a searchable competency mapping tool that can span multiple courses within a program. Once you have met with your curriculum committee and know the competencies you would like to map, contact the IT Service Desk and ask to be connected to an Instructional Designer. You will be contacted by representatives from MSU Information Technology Teaching and Learning, who will schedule a competencies design meeting with you. This meeting will serve to look at your competency structure and help develop the naming mechanisms and technical infrastructure you need in order to get your faculty mapping the desired competencies in their courses.

What You Should Prepare For Your Competencies Design Meeting

In order to move forward with your design meeting for developing a program-wide competency structure in D2L, you will need to know the following:

  1. What do you want your program to be called in the system?
  2. Who are the people who will be able to administer the program on D2L?
  3. What courses will be included in your competency mapping structure?

With this information, representatives from MSU Information Technology will be able to work with you to develop a stable, intuitive mapping structure.

For information or help, visit

Technical Documentation - Competency Search

Once you have worked with IT Services to set up your competency structure, naming convention, et cetera, you can enter your competencies into the system and use the Competency search tool to see where they reside in your curriculum. This is helpful for ensuring coverage and alignment, while avoiding unnecessary overlap.

First, use your program's unique URL to access the competency search tool. For the examples below, we use

Use the MSU D2L Competency Advanced Search tool to find competencies and navigate the competency mapping structure.

D2L Competency Search

Adjust the search field by Name, Description, or an Additional Identifier:

field filter 

Adjust the match specifications to Contains, Is (exact match), Begins With, or Ends With:

contains filter

Type your search criteria into the Search for box:

search for field 

If necessary, click the Add Criteria button to add criteria and refine your search. Click (remove) if you do not need additional criteria specified:

add criteria 

When you have added all search criteria, click on Search for Competencies. The related competencies and mapping structure will appear below:

The competencies appear with the identifier "Competency".

competency search results

Click on Show Parents/Hide Parents and the + or - box to the left of the competency to expand and collapse the mapping structure.

show/hide parents

In the example below, the parent competencies (NBOME CD3 OPC and NBOME RE3.2) are the Core Competency and Required Element that exist at the program level. NBOME MO 3.2.5 Accurate patient records, appearing below the parent competencies, is the Measurable Outcome competency that exists at the program level and aligns to the course level below. BMB-515 BioChem.FS15 CG.01 is the Learning Objective for the course BMB 515. Finally, BMB-515 BioChem.FS15 LE.01.Forces;Energy;AndTheConceptOfEquilibrium.LO.01 Energy in quantitative and chemical terms appears as the Learning Event within the course BMB 515 that aligns to the Learning Objective above.

Example Competency tree

MSU Documentation