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UMD at the Forefront of Next Chapter in MOOCs

January 21, 2014

Alana Carchedi 301-405-0235

"Specializations" Now Offered, Including in Android Development and Cybersecurity

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland is taking a pioneering role in expanding students' learning experiences with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) beyond just one course. Starting this semester, the university's MOOC offerings will include "specializations"—multi-course sequences in cutting-edge fields. These specializations, now being offered through Coursera, are a new type of program that allow students to dive deeper into learning and develop mastery in a particular subject.

“These specializations take MOOCs to the next level by adding structure and consistency,” says University of Maryland President Wallace Loh. “We just pioneered a MOOC specialization with another institution, and now we can expand the concept at home, drawing on our many strengths in cybersecurity.”

android developmentThis semester, UMD, in partnership with Vanderbilt University, is offering one of the first-ever specialization programs shared across universities. The MOOC specialization on Android development includes courses on:

  • Design and implementation of user-facing applications;
  • Middleware systems programming; and
  • Integrating mobile devices with computing clouds.

The first course in the specialization will be taught by UMD Computer Science Professor Adam Porter, and the following two will be taught by Vanderbilt Computer Science Professor Douglas Schmidt and Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Jules White.

“MOOCs are exciting to the University of Maryland, not only because they demonstrate our excellence in so many areas, but because they also help us learn how to better take advantage of technology to improve our on-campus courses,” says Professor Ben Bederson, special advisor to the Provost on technology and educational transformation.

cybersecurityNext, in Fall 2014, the university will begin an all-new MOOC specialization in cybersecurity. Taking advantage of UMD's expertise through the Maryland Cybersecurity Center, the specialization will present students with a broad, multidisciplinary perspective on current topics in cybersecurity, including courses on:

  • Cryptographic algorithms and protocols;
  • Tools and techniques for developing secure software;
  • Human-centered approaches for designing usable secure systems; and
  • Elements of hardware security.

This new series will take a unique, interdisciplinary approach to teaching cybersecurity, with professors from across the university, including Jonathan Katz and Mike Hicks in computer science, Gang Qu in electrical and computer engineering, and Jen Golbeck in the iSchool.

Capstone courses, in which students will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge in several of these areas, will finish off both specializations.

"With the recent security breaches of several major U.S. corporations, the importance of addressing the cybersecurity challenges of today's world has become increasingly critical," says Katz, director of the Maryland Cybersecurity Center and a professor of computer science. "Our multidisciplinary course sequence, drawing on faculty from three different departments on campus, will provide students with a unique opportunity to obtain a comprehensive introduction to this exciting—and growing—field."

The University of Maryland also offers individual MOOC courses on a variety of topics, from understanding terrorism and developing innovative ideas, to tolerance in religious societies and making better group decisions. To view UMD's full MOOC offerings, visit https://www.coursera.org/umd.


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