RFP for a MOOC

Oregon State University's inaugural massive open online course (MOOC), a collaborative effort between Stanford University, the College of Education and the Oregon Department of Education proved to be a huge success. More than 3,000 participants enrolled in this course designed to help teachers support English Language Learners in meeting new, rigorous standards. As a follow-up to this success, Open Oregon State invites proposals for our next MOOC.

Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, are significantly different from traditional online, credit-based courses. Enrollments typically number from the hundreds to the thousands. MOOCs are free, so students do not pay tuition to participate, and the courses are open to all who wish to register. Participants are not typically degree-seeking students; instead, many are pursuing their own independent learning goals. Because MOOCs are vastly different from traditional online courses, they must be designed differently to be effective.

MOOCs are successful if they are designed with features such as:

  • Engaging content that is purposeful, relevant, interesting and well paced
  • Brief, modular multimedia objects created for an audience of self-directed, online learners
  • Instant, automatic feedback on practice problems, quizzes, scenarios, etc.
  • A strong emphasis on student-to-student interaction, with clear directions and guidelines for participation

This request for proposals (RFP) encourages the development and delivery of high-quality MOOCs that will engage a broad range of learners in topics based on the knowledgebase of Oregon State University's world-class faculty. Open Oregon State will support course development by providing instructional design, multimedia/video creation and possibly counsel on market assessment and funding sources if needed.

Open Oregon State would like to support departments and faculty who wish to expand instructional methods and experiment with innovative or experimental techniques.

How MOOCs support the university's land-grant mission

Oregon State, as the nation's only public university to hold land, sun, space and sea grant designations, has a mission to promote economic, social, cultural and environmental progress for people worldwide. The integration of teaching, research (scholarship) and outreach and engagement opportunities is essential to that mission.

MOOCs combine the strength of OSU's academic faculty with the best available technology, allowing us to deliver a free, engaging learning experience and high-quality content to those who want the information outside of a traditional classroom setting.

MOOCs can be used to improve student learning outcomes, student success, engagement and retention. They also can introduce a subject area in a new manner or enhance current instructional offerings.

The selection committee requests that the following are addressed when the proposal is submitted:

  • A description of the project and why you think it is a good topic for a MOOC
  • A valid assessment that indicates demand or need for the MOOC topic
  • A description of available or possible funding
  • A timeline for development and offering
  • Department approval (letter of support)
  • An agreement to collaborate with Open Oregon State in development/facilitation
  • The types of content you visualize in this course such as video, graphics, and interactive learning opportunities.

In addition, the selection process will value those proposals that address the following elements:

  • Is this course in one of OSU's signature academic areas?
  • How will this course showcase Oregon State's expertise?
  • Does the topic lend itself to the MOOC format?
  • Is the MOOC modular in format and can it be repurposed?
  • Is the MOOC topic experimental or innovative in nature?
  • Does it use open resources and is it delivered under a Creative Commons license?
  • Who is the intended audience and what is its perceived interest in this topic?
  • Do you have access to established communication channels, i.e., associations, listservs, etc., to promote the MOOC?
  • What is the timeliness of the course material
  • Developer has participated in a MOOC

Your proposal should be submitted by April 17, 2015 as a Word document or PDF to Dianna Fisher, Director of Open Oregon State, at dianna.fisher@oregonstate.edu.

RFP for learning modules and short courses

Open Oregon State (part of OSU Extended Campus) encourages the development of open-access (free), online learning modules as part of a new initiative. To support that goal, Open Oregon State offers funding of up to $2,000 to foster faculty participation in providing course content and working with the development team to design and produce modules and short courses. Proposals will be accepted and evaluated for funding once per term.


  • The module must focus on a subject or topic that is not already available openly. If it is already available, what is the reason for creating another?
  • The module must focus on an OSU niche program. Is this from one of OSU's signature areas or areas of expertise?
  • The module must have a defined, known audience in mind (e.g. K-12, international, higher education, Extension, Outreach & Engagement, etc.).
  • The module must be able to be reused in multiple contexts and for multiple purposes (as both a small unit of learning and as part of a larger project).
  • The developer must agree to offer the module under a Creative Commons license. Open Oregon State will help you choose the license that works for you.
  • Department Chair/Head approval.

Propose a module or short course

Other opportunities

Grant collaboration

When National Science Foundation grants are reviewed, there are two criteria used to determine merit – intellectual merit and broader impact. Most can figure out the intellectual merit of their grant proposal but need help describing the broader impact. Open Oregon State can help.

NSF will not consider a proposal unless it explicitly includes activities that demonstrate the project's broader impacts on science or society at large. One must also explain the extent to which these activities explore creative, original or potentially transformative concepts.

The NSF review criterion considers:

  1. Integrating research and education
  2. Broadening participation of underrepresented groups
  3. Enhancing infrastructure for research and education
  4. Broad dissemination of scientific ideas and methods (general scientific literacy)
  5. Direct benefit to society
  6. Increased partnerships between academia, industry, and other

  7. Improved national security
  8. Increased economic competitiveness of the United States

The Open Oregon State staff is available to help you navigate this process. Contact us today about a collaboration.