Call for Proposals

Cornell University offered grants for the creation of four MOOCs on the edX platform ( to be released during 2015-16.  In order to be eligible, applicants must be current Cornell faculty.  Non-tenure track faculty may apply for this award with written approval and support from the department chair(s) in which the applicant’s teaching assignment(s) are made.

Pre-proposals were accepted by November 16, 2014.  Those applicants selected to submit full proposals were contacted by December 12, 2014.

Full proposals were due on January 15, 2015.  Both pre-proposals and proposal applications were reviewed by the university’s Online Learning Development group. Final decisions were announced in March 2015.



By November 16, 2014, interested faculty were asked to submit a pre-proposal.

The Pre-proposal should contain the following information:

  1. Instructor name(s), department(s) and college(s).
  2. An overview of the project, including its relationship to current Cornell programs, courses, or activities.
  3. A statement addressing the five assessment criteria listed immediately below.

Pre-proposals and subsequent invited applications will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  1. The potential for the particular course proposed to advance Cornell’s mission “to discover, preserve, and disseminate knowledge; produce creative work; and promote a culture of broad inquiry throughout and beyond the Cornell community.”
  2. The course or instructor’s representation of a distinctive Cornell resource or approach.
  3. The potential likelihood that the course will attract a defined audience, for whom it will provide a meaningful learning experience.
  4. The relationship between the subject matter of this course and that of other proposed or currently developing CornellX online courses, in order to maintain a diversity of fields of study.
  5. The potential for this online course to enhance on-campus education.
  6. Availability of the faculty to work with the production team to design, develop and teach  the MOOC during the designated production periods.

Interested faculty are encouraged to review the pre-proposal support document, Preparing for your MOOC .



By December 19, 2014, indicate intentions regarding submission of a full proposal.  Full proposals were due by January 15, 2015.

The proposal should contain the following information, and should be no more than 10 single-spaced pages, and include the following information.

  1. Instructor(s) names.
  2. Course information: working title, length (e.g. 4,-8 weeks), subject category, brief course description (~140 words), prerequisites, if any.
  3. Select your availability for developing your MOOC (course design, content development and video shoots) using the following options (select all that apply):
  • May 2015 – Sept 2015
  • August 2015 – January 2016
  • November 2015 – April 2016
  • February 2016– June 2016
  1. Learning outcomes for the course (what participants will leave the course knowing or being able to do), and proposed assessments (how you might measure what participants have learned).
  2. A brief description of the course’s prospective audience, including how this course might or might not appeal to an international audience.
  3. A statement explaining why this course would be a good candidate for a MOOC.
  4. Any information you might have about whether a comparable course is offered as a MOOC by another university (e.g., through edX, Coursera, etc.).
  5. Please provide a brief description of the instructor’s previous experience developing and/or teaching online (MOOC or other), blended, or distance learning courses. Provide a URL of the course web site, if available.
  6. Brief statements from the faculty member’s department chair and dean, acknowledging the proposed application and including a commitment to provide at least one TAship to support the course when offered, and appropriate time compensation as described above.

Award Details: Funding and Project Support Resources

Funding will include $50,000 for each grant, distributed as follows:

  • The faculty member (or faculty members in co-taught courses) will be provided with a total of $10,000 to support his/her or their research program or other university activities;
  • The department (or departments) will be provided with $20,000 (shared in the case of multiple departments or colleges) to partially offset this new effort;
  • $20,000 is allocated for production costs coordinated by Academic Technologies.
  • The department or college—collaboratively in the case of joint instructors—will be expected to provide at least one TAship to support the course when offered and to provide the instructor with appropriate time and compensation.

This funding will be available for the period from April 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016.  If a MOOC launch extends beyond June 30, funding availability will be extended on a case by case basis as needed.  Funding is distributed through the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education to awardees by departmental fund transfer.  In co-taught courses with instructors from multiple departments or colleges, the instructor collaborators are responsible for determining the “split” of funding between accounts and for providing this information to the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.

In addition, support for the design and creation of the course will be provided by the university, through the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), Academic Technologies (AT), and the University Library.



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