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Office of the Provost, Division of Academic Affairs, University of Maryland


RFP For New Coursera MOOCs

After nearly two years, UMD has become a leader in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) with some of the highest enrollments and most profitable courses offered by Coursera. We have developed 16 courses so far ( with specializations in mobile programming and cybersecurity, and a new specialization in entrepreneurship. These MOOCs have provided unprecedented exposure to UMD expertise, with more than 1.2 million registered students. 

These courses are engaging our faculty in creative use of technology, not only to scale up student learning, but also to analyze teaching methods and resulting learning outcomes to improve course materials and pedagogy. These improvements in teaching methods and materials are then often being used by our instructors in our for-credit classes. When the classroom is "flipped", some of the content is learned outside of class with MOOC material, and class time can then be used for more active, engaging and challenging work. The result is that MOOCs are improving our face-to-face classes.

While most students take the MOOCs for free, they also have the option of paying a small fee for an authenticated certificate. A good chunk of those fees comes back to UMD to run the MOOC program and to support the instructors in developing and running the courses. Finally, we are also finding success in converting students who take our MOOCs to become paying UMD students, especially for our online professional graduate programs. 

We are now offering a Request For Proposals to develop a new set of MOOCs on the Coursera platform. We plan on adding approximately four new courses funded by the Provost’s Office with the goal of expanding the successes described above. Our goal is to start course development in January with new courses to be offered starting summer 2015. All campus faculty are eligible to apply.

There are numerous resources available to understand the process of creating a MOOC. If you would like more information about what it takes to develop a course using the Coursera platform, please take a look at this guidance [pdf], contact our existing MOOC instructors, or contact the TLTC instructional design team who will be happy to meet with you and provide access to a "test" course as an instructor. It is also possible to talk to Coursera about content strategy while your are developing your proposal. For any of this support, please email

We will also have an open information session on November 6, 2014, 2-3:30pm in CSS 4402 where we will meet people interested in potentially submitting a proposal. We will give an overview of our partnership with Coursera, where the platform is going, and have plenty of time to answer questions. And we'll have fruit and cookies, so come and learn more.

Full Request for Proposals: