Skip to main content

Course Proposal & Approval Process

Deadline: None. Rolling proposals throughout the year.
Eligibility: University of Maryland (UMD) Faculty.

As described in general below, the proposal requires detailed information about the proposed course including syllabus, market, your capabilities, sample video, and expected campus impact including how the materials will be used on campus, and how MOOC students might be "converted" to paying University of Maryland (UMD) students.

While you will be provided with support in the development of your course, our expectations are high. Furthermore, the course will have to be partially developed before being publicly announced, and it will have to be substantially completed (including videos and assessments) before the course is launched. Most traditional MOOCs will be designed to run for approximately 4-6 weeks, though some may vary.

The courses developed are not offered for academic credit, and faculty will not be given teaching release time. For courses that are selected, the Provost’s office will provide funding (up to $10K) through this program and services to support their development and continued offering, however, the funds may not be used for teaching release or salary overload (summer salary is ok). In addition, a portion of revenue generated from the course will be shared back with the instructor and the instructor's units per the approved guidelines.

The MOOC Advisory Committee, comprised of UMD Faculty and Staff to guide the program, will help to select among the proposed courses. Courses will be selected according to the following criteria, weighted equally:

  • Enhance UMD's reputation: Courses must help the public perceive our excellence – which can be made apparent through a range of course characteristics. Offerings that are likely to appeal to a broad set of learners demonstrate UMD's breadth, excellence in pedagogy and clarity of communication and course structure are important elements. But so are engagement, fairness of assessments, and relevant and engaging course material.
  • Enhance UMD courses: Instructors that have a plan for enhancing their UMD courses (face to face or online) through the use of the MOOC content or analyses will be more highly ranked.
  • Student recruitment: We want to bring students to our UMD online and campus programs. MOOCs that are natural entry points to our paid programs, and proposals that have specific plans for recruiting those students will be more highly ranked.
  • Be able to run course successfully: Creating and running a successful MOOC requires a significant commitment. These courses require substantially more than recording video lectures. Rather, the material must be broken down into small segments with integrated quizzes and assessments that can be graded automatically (or by peers) with potentially tens of thousands of students. The instructor must have some experience creating video, and be comfortable with video and online learning technologies.
  • Measurable learning outcomes: MOOCs must have clear learning outcomes and corresponding assessments that monitor student achievements of learning outcomes.
  • The following additional characteristics are desirable but not required:
    • Course material that will be re-used in UMD for-credit courses (whether face-to-face or online).
    • Efforts that include research in online learning.
    • Innovation in course offering: As MOOCs are continuing to rapidly evolve, it is important that UMD participates in not only delivering online courses, but also in helping to lead in the creation of new ways of offering courses. Thus, innovation in any aspect of a course offering is appreciated – whether it is related to how the course is structured, assessments are designed, how communities are developed, etc.

The following information will be required for your proposal.

  • Name and Email of submitter
  • Instructor name(s) 
  • Proposed launch date
  • Requested production advance ($), if any
  • Proposed title and topic area
  • Target audience or learner persona, and learning outcomes
  • Sample job roles requiring these skills (required only for business, technology, and data proposals)
  • Final project deliverable (required for Specialization proposals)
  • An explanation of how you address the selection criteria above
  • Your background: Briefly explain your background and why you will be good at creating and delivering a UMD MOOC
  • Chair approval
  • A sample course segment. This must include a short video on any topic, preferably within the course. For the purposes of this proposal, the quiz can simply be plain text. 
  • A detailed course plan is preferred, including a weekly schedule, readings, and types of assessments. If you expect to use any copyrighted materials, please indicate the approximate quantity and type to help us estimate costs in acquiring a license to that material (note that “fair use” does not apply to MOOCs). However, please note that we would like more detailed information about the kinds of assessments you are planning on offering as well as information about copyrighted material.
  • A description of what resources and support you would require in order to create the course.
  • Responses to any additional questions from the selection committee in response to the pre-proposal.
  • Dean approval – please have your Dean separately email approving your course.

In addition, your department (or unit) head must separately email Please refer any proposal-related questions to Bill Aarhus.

Submit your proposal by sending it to

You will be kept apprised of your course's proposal status at each approval step, and be asked to address any questions as they arise. Please note that proposal consideration may take up to several weeks from the time it is formally submitted.

  1. Improve UMD Reach and Branding
    • Expose new learners to UMD (including international)
    • Expose more people to the UMD brand with a positive experience
  2. Innovate and Improve On-Campus Teaching and Learning
    • Create resources that support on-campus learning (e.g., in blended and flipped settings)
    • Engage instructors and assistants in improving their teaching
    • Encourage innovative thinking regarding teaching and learning
  3. Improve UMD Access and Affordability
    • Lead generation for graduate programs (especially online)
    • Generate revenue for academic programs and MOOC reinvestment
    • Increase access and affordability for all learners
Questions? Contact Us