Create a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

Vanderbilt partners with global online learning platforms, Coursera and edX, to reach learners across the world through Massive Open Online Courses, also known as MOOCs. These courses are available for anyone to enroll, allowing you broad reach to educate learners across the globe. Faculty and programs are invited to propose new courses and specializations as part of Vanderbilt’s partnership with these platforms. Below is a brief outline of the process, but please reach out to discuss your proposal and how to partner with us.

What to Expect & Resources

The Office of Digital Education (ODE) collaborates with units across Vanderbilt University to enable the development and delivery of Massive Online Open Courses, also known as MOOCs, allowing you to educate learners across the globe. As the hub for digital education, we strive to provide academic units with the infrastructure, expertise and resources needed to launch online courses that ultimately broaden reach, access, and impact.

In partnering with us, you can expect strategy guidance, video/media production support and coordination with Coursera and edX partner representatives to help deliver new online programs successfully.

The following are the different services we can offer at various stages of MOOC development:


  • Course Strategy & Ideation: In collaboration with Vanderbilt’s Coursera partner representative, ODE can support identification of new course opportunities based on learner demand.


  • Media & Production Management: Produce video/media content for online courses
  • Instructional Design: Provide instructional design consultations and support


  • Marketing: Oversee and manage marketing of your course within the Vanderbilt community.


Planning, preparation and development time for a MOOC is usually a 24 week process. ODE is available to provide guidance at any part of the undertaking. From course content design, to assessments or media production, we will get you ready to launch your course to millions of learners around the world.

Proposing a Course

Those interested in proposing new courses are encouraged to learn more about the Coursera platform and its affordances. One way to do so is to enroll in one or more of Vanderbilt’s courses on the platform.

Potential instructors are also encouraged to arrange, through ODE, a conversation with Vanderbilt’s Coursera partner representative, who can advise about course topics likely to be of interest to learners, including a list of in-demand topics that can help guide course proposals.

Once potential instructors are ready to propose a course or specialization, they will need to complete a Coursera Content Definition Form. This form requests a working title, a list of all instructors, an overview of the course or specialization, expected target audience, and more.

Course proposals should include:

  • completed content proposal
  • statements from the instructors’ supervisors (e.g. school dean, department chair) that the work involved in developing and offering the course or specialization is consistent with the instructors’ effort obligations

Submit completed course proposals to:


The proposal will be reviewed for approval by Office of the Provost and, if approved, a revenue distribution agreement will be drawn up. Courses and specializations typically follow the revenue share policy for royalties as defined by the Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization.

Building a Course

Once approved, Coursera will arrange access for instructors on the platform to begin designing and building their courses. Instructors are encouraged to consult with ODE staff for instructional design and production support.

Interested in going online but a MOOC doesn’t seem right for you? Check out these other options for developing online learning in partnership with the ODE.

Launch an Online Program

Dedicated to enabling high-quality, uniquely Vanderbilt programs our team can partner with you to plan, develop, and launch online or hybrid graduate degrees, certificates, and Stackable Portfolios.

Learn more about how to launch an online program

Explore Advisory Services

ODE is here to discuss your needs and provide direct assistance, vendor recommendations, instructional design resources, and digital media production.

Learn more about our advisory services and resources

Not Sure How to Get Started?

The Office of Digital Education is committed to enabling the development of uniquely Vanderbilt online and hybrid programs. Whether you have an early idea with a basic concept in mind or pre-existing course content you’d like to bring online to a global learning platform, discover what’s possible by contacting us through the form below.