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Palomar College Guided Pathways

Meta Major Card Swap Feedback and COCI Analysis

In Spring 2019, 51 teams of three to eight faculty, staff, administrators participated in a card swap activity to cluster Palomar College’s academic programs into commonly shared themes or “Meta Majors.”  The office of Institutional Research and Planning (IR&P) then analyzed the data reporting that seven Meta Major groups/clusters emerged.  Below is a list of the seven Meta Major clusters from the Palomar card swap analysis.

*A survey requesting your input will be sent out soon!  We look forward to your thoughts.  Until then, you are welcome to email the GP team at: 

These seven Meta Majors, as determined through the Card Swap analysis, were then presented to several College committees and at three Professional Development workshops to collect feedback. Along with the presentations, faculty, staff, and administrators had the opportunity to provide feedback using an online survey.  

Following the feedback on the initial seven Meta Majors from the card swap activity, an analysis of our COCI (Chancellor’s Office Curriculum Inventory) data was provided from Palomar’s IR&P group.  The IR&P Group was able to use the data in the Curriculum Inventory to conduct an analysis of our degrees based on common course overlap, meaning degrees that have common course paths.

It is important to understand the difference between the Card Swap activity and the COCI analysis.  The Card Swap activity was about our perceptions of how programs should be clustered, whereas the COCI analysis used data on courses in our programs to common courses within programs.  The Card Swap was our subjective perspective and the COCI data was an objective data driven analysis of common courses. Both of these methods are very valuable and allow us to better understand how our employees and students believe programs are clustered while ensuring that students in a Meta Major can “swirl” hopefully without losing credits.  “Swirling” here refers to a students who might decide to switch their program of study within a Meta Major. We want to make sure students who “swirl” within a Meta Major are hopefully taking courses that could be used in both paths.

The Following is the data from the Card Swap Analysis, Feedback on the Card Swap Analysis, the initial COCI results, and the final suggested clusters based on all of the information obtained

Feedback from the Meta Major Review Workshop and Committee:

  • We should consider looking at what our area K-12 schools are doing and align them.
  • We need to figure out what tools will we use to help students identify which Meta Major they are interested in.
    -    Possibly use Holland Codes, also referred to as RIASEC (used heavily through Vista Unified School District also used in the MyPath Career Coach)
    1.   About MyPath Career Coach 
    2.  My Path
  • Possibly align RIASEC codes to our Meta Majors (Example: Mt. Sac or Saddleback)
  • It was suggested that we pull out only the student feedback on the Card Swap activity to better understand the student perspective.  
  • After looking for the Meta Majors at several other colleges it was noted how it took over 5 clicks at several colleges to find their Meta Majors which makes it difficult for students to find.  Students should be able to get to the mapper page within only a couple clicks from the main page; they shouldn’t have to search for it. Where we choose to locate the mapper will be important for ease of use for our students. 
  • There was a suggestion to try to track how students are using the Pathway Mapper, and there were questions asked about whether there is any data that we can pull from the Program Mapper tool currently in implementation.-
    -    Answer:  We can include a Google Analytics code to track page use/views.

Card Swap Feedback Form Responses:


  • 61 people provided feedback using the feedback form.  We had participation from all employee groups:
  • 49.2%= Full-Time Faculty
  • 13.1%= Part-Time Faculty
  • 26.2%= Classified Staff
  • 11.5%= AA, CAST, Student

Business Cluster Feedback

  • 77.2% liked the name “Business” for this cluster, but several would like to see a more catchy student-centered name.  A common suggested name was “Business and Economics”.
  • 83.3% agreed with the list of programs in this cluster.
  • Suggestions for revision to the program included removing legal studies and economics.

Health and Public Safety Cluster Feedback

  • 94.8% liked the name "Health & Public Safety."  
  • 89.8% agreed with the programs in the cluster.
  • Suggestions for revision includes adding child development and psychology and removing nursing, administration of justice, and fire.

Humanities and Social Science Cluster Feedback

  • 82.8% liked the name "Humanities & Social Sciences." Other suggestions included adding Education, naming it “Human Society and Culture,” and naming it solely “Social Science.”
  • 79.7 agreed with the programs in the cluster.
  • Suggestions for revision included adding Economics, English, Library Technologies, Legal Studies, AJ, and ASL, and removing Child Development, Psychology, Humanities, Philosophy, and Religious Studies.

Languages Cluster

  • 77.2% like the name "Languages." Other names to consider were “Applied Communication,” “Languages and Communication,” “Written and Spoken Languages,” and “Languages and Humanities.”
  • 85% agree with the programs in this cluster.
  • Suggested revisions to this cluster included adding Humanities, Philosophy, Religious Studies, American Indian Studies, and Journalism, and removing Speech, English, and ESL.

Trade and Industry Cluster

  • 94.8% like the name "Trade & Industry."  Other names to consider are “Industry and Trade Technologies” or “Mechanics, Welders, and More!”.
  • 95% agree with the programs in the cluster.
  • Suggestions for revision included adding Architecture and Drafting and removing Library Technologies.

Arts and Media Cluster

  • 93% like the name "Arts & Media." Other names to consider are “Arts and Digital Media” or “Arts, Media, and Design.”
  • 89.6% agree with the programs in the cluster.
  • Suggestions for revision included adding Communication and Library Technologies, and removing Architecture and Drafting, Graphic Communications, and Journalism.

STEM Cluster

  • 85.7% like the name "STEM."  Other names to consider are to spell out STEM as “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics,” or just “Science and Technology”.
  • 91.4% agree with the programs in this cluster.
  • Suggestions for revision included adding architecture and Drafting and removing Computer Science, Math, and Geography.

Naming Meta Majors at Palomar

  • When asked what we should call our Meta Majors, 53.5% voted for Academic and Career Pathways, which is the same name used by MiraCosta.  The next names with top votes were Palomar Pathways at 25% and Areas of Interest at 20%.
*All results can be viewed here:


The COCI analysis focused on common courses within degrees.  The cluster analysis of our COCI data suggests 12 Meta Majors.  Below is a look at the COCI results.

Please note, the COCI Analysis used our degrees and not Programs as was used in our Card Swap.

*In the tables below you will see codes next to the names, the table to the left references those codes.

Outcome: Combining the findings from the Card Swap, Feedback, & COCI

Below you will see 7 Meta Majors that were designed by reviewing the Card Swap Data, the Feedback on the Card Swap data, and the programs with common courses as suggested by the COCI analysis:

Combined 7 COCI Clusters Table.2019.11.15