While the previous sections of this handbook (Requesting Articulation and Assessing an Articulation Request) dealt with the most common form of articulation in BC, bilateral course-to-course articulation, several important disciplines organise their articulation activities quite differently. Where a program has similar outcomes, or similar courses offered across institutions, it is often possible to establish multilateral articulation agreements and construct a multilateral transfer guide.
Unlike the course-to course section of the BC Transfer Guide, which presents transfer information by institution, a multilateral transfer guide organises information by subject area. Institutional representatives on articulation committees assess courses collaboratively, comparing each course to a set of outcomes or content statements that have been jointly developed as representing an acceptable standard for the course. The committee accepts responsibility for annually maintaining and updating the resultant transfer guides.
A multilateral articulation model is more appropriate to some contexts than to others. For some programs using a multilateral approach offers several distinct advantages over a bilateral course-to-course articulation model. First, multilateral articulation does not require some institutions to function as sending, while others function as receiving institutions. In effect, all are simultaneously sending and receiving, and many faculty find this a more democratic and collaborative approach. Second, such an articulation model results in a transfer guide that can provide information for students as they move between like institutions: between universities, for example, or from one college to another college. Third, although assessing many courses at once in order to construct the initial transfer grid can be a significant task, it is an efficient way to build and maintain transfer tables.
The Adult Basic Education (ABE) Programs have established a set of common curricular elements for most of the major courses offered within the ABE curriculum. Each institution is expected to address the outcomes and the core topics listed for each course. Expectations are clarified and changes are agreed to at the annual meeting of each ABE working group, and the results are recorded in the Adult Basic Education Articulation Handbook, published each year by the Ministry of Advanced Education. To quote that handbook: "The process brings order to the Adult Basic Education program area as offered by the post-secondary system and permits the orderly transfer of course work and credits between participating institutions."6 The latest edition of the ABE handbook is located at aved.gov.bc.ca/abe/handbook.pdf.
Articulation within ABE reaches beyond post-secondary institutions, since ABE programs share a common adult graduation credential, the BC Adult Graduation Diploma (BCAGD). Since students regularly can take courses from both sectors and apply the credits earned towards the BCAGD, it is particularly important that the ABE course offered in colleges conform to the outcomes and core topics outlined in the ABE handbook.
Similar to ABE programs, ESL programs for adults offered at BC post-secondary institutions are provincially articulated. The information is published by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development in Articulation Guide for English as a Second Language Programs in the British Columbia Public Post-Secondary System. This publication is available at aved.gov.bc.ca/esl.
In the case of ESL, a significant factor has been the establishing of the Canadian Language Benchmarks. Aligning provincial ESL curriculum to these national standards holds the promise that adult ESL students should be able to move more easily from institution to institution and from province to province, and have their ESL credits recognised.
The ESL Articulation Committee maintains a transfer grid based on a series of outcomes for each level. Each year the grid is revisited and new courses assessed for placement.
To construct this guide, a group of faculty assessed all courses for equivalence and arranged similar courses in the same band on a transfer table. Institutions collaborated to verify the information and agreed to the use of the information as a transfer guide. A subcommittee of the Business Articulation Committee maintains and updates the guide each year.
Please note: this guide was formally discontinued as of 2009.
Several other program areas have recently embraced this approach to constructing a transfer guide. There is multilateral transfer information in the BC Transfer Guide for Biology, Applied Business Technology, Early Childhood Education, Forestry and Earth Sciences/Geology.
Any articulation committee or discipline based group interested in using a multilateral approach to transfer in a particular discipline or program is encouraged to contact the BCCAT office.
Next Section: Block Transfer Agreements