Open Online Short Course Development Grant

March 15, 2023

Dear Colleagues, 

The Office of the Provost and the University Center for Teaching and Learning (UCTL) have created an Open Online Short Course Development Grant to encourage interested full- and part-time faculty members to develop non-credit, stand-alone, asynchronous courses designed to serve large enrollments for the Coursera platform. It is intended that these courses would serve as a gateway to form degree programs, either in-person or online, at the University. The Coursera platform reaches over 100 million learners around the world. Pitt’s partnership with Coursera provides faculty, schools, and the university opportunities to create innovative learning experiences at scale, share expertise with learners across the globe, and reach students who may otherwise not engage with Pitt.

Grant recipients will receive a $10,000 stipend and support from Pitt Online services to design and launch their courses.

Courses must be focused on skills development for the professional learner, have a clearly defined target audience, and fit one of the two following criteria:

  • align with an existing or future online graduate certificate or degree
  • feature application of important areas of University research or initiatives.

Faculty are invited to submit proposals from all disciplines and subjects. In addition to meeting the above criteria, courses should demonstrate the following:

  • Appeal to a global audience
  • Be designed to be completed in 4-8 weeks
  • Provide opportunities to learn skills and knowledge that meet workforce needs and can be applied to professional development, upskilling or reskilling
  • Provide meaningful learning opportunities to non-traditional students or students who have limited access to higher education
  • Support innovative course design and materials
  • Lead to the development of materials that can be leveraged in other contexts and for other learning audiences online or on-campus (residential course; professional education program; future online program)
  • Enhance the visibility and reputation of the University, support Pitt’s mission and vision, and showcase what is unique about our faculty, research, and curriculum

Courses must also include an accompanying marketing plan.

Proposals are due by April 16, 2023.

Proposals must be discussed with and approved by the faculty member’s department chair or Dean prior to submission.

Faculty will be notified if their proposal is accepted the week of May 1, 2023. Design and development can begin in summer 2023. Courses must be launched by the end of 2023.

Faculty interested in submitting a proposal are invited to attend an informational webinar on March 22, 2023 from 12-1 pm, to learn more about Coursera, the design process, and to ask any questions. Registration is available here and through the UCTL website.

Thank you for sharing this exciting and important opportunity with your faculty members.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions.


Ann E. Cudd
Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor
Professor of Philosophy

University of Pittsburgh