Call to Develop Open-Access Courses on the Coursera Platform

Call released October 25, 2023

Would you like to share your teaching and scholarship with students all over the world? Is there a course that you’ve taught, or one that you’ve always hoped to develop with colleagues, that can have global impact through the practices, knowledge, and skills that students would develop? The Teaching and Learning Center seeks partnership with UC Santa Cruz faculty to create open-access courses (massive open online courses) on the Coursera platform. 

These courses can reach tens of thousands of students annually, and they can lead to new collaborations and opportunities. For courses with large enrollments, there is a potential for generating revenue for the course creator and their department. Through the campus partnership with Coursera, UC Santa Cruz faculty are providing world class education on a global scale, including to communities that don’t have universities or community colleges nearby. 

We are interested in developing courses that highlight the diversity of work being done by faculty across campus and welcome proposals from all disciplines, including cross-division collaboration. This is an open call: submissions on all course topics will be considered. Preference will be given to courses that forward the social justice mission of the UC Santa Cruz campus. This mission may take shape in the offering of courses that provide knowledge and skills to engage with the modern world (activism, communication, coding, digital literacy), that take on topics of civic or global importance (climate justice, social justice, racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, ethical perspectives on technology, economics, the future of work), as well as courses that are likely to generate high enrollment, or that represent the creative and distinct scholarly work of the faculty at UC Santa Cruz. 

Faculty whose proposals are awarded will receive one course release or equivalency, and extensive design and videography support from the Teaching & Learning Center to create the course. 

UC Santa Cruz faculty currently offer a variety of courses and specializations on Coursera, including Feminism and Social Justice (Aptheker), C for Everyone (Pohl), Ecosystems of California (Zavaleta), Bayesian Statistics (Heiner, Kang, Lee, Prado, Rodriguez), Russian History: From Lenin to Putin (Kenez), and The History of Medicine: Philosophy, Science, and Psychology (Hartzog and Gates). Some of these courses are condensed versions of popular UC Santa Cruz courses, and others were developed specifically for a worldwide audience. As of 2023, over a million learners from every inhabited continent have enrolled in our courses. 

If this sounds interesting to you, we invite you to submit a simple proposal following the guidelines below.

Proposal Guidelines

Proposals will be accepted until February 15, 2024.  

Using this form, provide responses to the following prompts:

  1. Provide a brief overview of the course you are proposing for the Coursera platform.
  2. Explain why you are proposing offering this course and what you hope to accomplish through sharing it with a global audience.
  3. Who is this course for? What level of learners does it serve (beginning, intermediate, advanced)? 
  4. Provide three course-level learning outcomes. What will students be able to do after completing this course?

Feel free to email us at for more information. We are happy to meet with you or to answer any questions you have about developing an open-access offering for the Coursera platform and to learn more about your course ideas. A Q & A is available below.

MOOC Development Q & A

What is a MOOC?
  • A MOOC (massive open online course) is an asynchronous course available to anyone who wants to explore a subject or learn a skill, without needing to be enrolled in an educational institution. 
  • There are several online platforms that host MOOCs. Through a long established campus partnership, UC Santa Cruz hosts its MOOCs on the Coursera platform.
  • UCSC MOOCs on Coursera are available to anyone in the world with an internet connection.
  • UCSC MOOCs on Coursera are generally free unless the learner desires a certificate of completion. Through the Coursera for UCSC learning program, all UC Santa Cruz students, faculty, and staff have free access to thousands of courses from UCSC and other participating institutions (including certificates).
  • At UCSC our MOOCs are sometimes condensed versions of credit-bearing courses.
  •  All course content in a MOOC is asynchronous, and there is typically no faculty engagement with learners. Faculty are welcome to voluntarily interact with learners in Coursera discussion forums. 
  • There are two kinds of assessments in UCSC MOOCs: automatically graded quizzes, and peer-reviewed assignments. Both work well in the MOOC learning environment.

What does the TLC provide to partnering faculty?
  • Course design in Coursera, including mapping course content by module/week; reviewing material; developing assessments
  • Video production and/or post-production
    • The TLC will record and edit lectures, including placing provided images
    • In certain cases videos can be self-produced
  • Course video & audio design
    • Each MOOC has a tailored look, including:
      • Course images for the Coursera catalog
      • Video title and closing sequences with music
  • Coursera Review & Launch
    • Course settings
    • Grading structures
    • Review of the captions for errors
    • Course readiness check
  • Marketing & Promotion
    • Within UCSC
    • Through the TLC website & other TLC channels
    • Directly to Coursera learners
  • Revenue Distribution
    • As described in the Exhibit A of the UCSC Coursera Course Agreement
    • Faculty receives a portion of course revenue, once production costs have been covered.

What are partnering faculty expected to provide?
  • Course description
  • Proposed syllabus, including:
    • Course formatted in Modules/Units
      • Summaries
      • Learning outcomes
    • Lecture scripts
      • These can be developed in collaboration with a TLC Instructional Designer
  • Readings that are freely and widely available
    • TLC can help with accessibility
  • Assessments
    • Created in collaboration with TLC using practices that work well in the MOOC learning environment 
  • Images, supporting videos, sound recordings, tools, and concepts
    • These should be the intellectual property of the faculty or copyright-free (TLC can help with this)

What’s the time commitment like?
  • Faculty: Roughly 10 weeks, including recording lectures
    • For faculty receiving course release, your work should be completed within the quarter you receive the release 
  • Teaching & Learning Center: 2–4 months to design and launch the course after faculty contributions are completed

Can I see some examples of UCSC courses on Coursera?

Last modified: Nov 22, 2023