Addressing Global Challenges in an Interconnected World


Join the Center for Academic Innovation (CAI) as we work to advance learning and extend academic excellence by making the University of Michigan’s diverse wealth of knowledge accessible at scale.

As our global society considers a post-pandemic future, we are faced with critical questions around climate change and sustainability, automation and the future of work, shifting global structures, the impact of social media, and mental and emotional health – all within an increasingly interconnected world. U-M is uniquely positioned to empower learners across the world to successfully understand and solve these novel challenges and meet the demands of our rapidly changing world.  

Our growing dependence on technology is not only transforming the boundaries between the physical and digital worlds but also changing the nature of interpersonal interactions. Simultaneously, there is an increasing need to preserve and promote prosocial behaviors to lessen pressures on the environment and human health. The exponential increase in global enrollment for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) since the onset of the pandemic points to the growing demand for upskilling while learning how to maintain our wellbeing.

We invite faculty to submit proposals for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and course series that teach the knowledge and skills required to effectively solve problems and effect change. As we explore the theme of how to navigate the digital world and enhance our quality of life in techno-urban environments, consider partnering with us on the topics below.


University of Michigan faculty are invited to submit proposals for funding to support the development and delivery of open courses aligned to emerging technologies, sustainability, and changing societies – helping to address interconnected issues across the globe.

In our mission to make the University’s world-class education inclusive and open, we also welcome proposals in other categories, apart from those listed below.

  • Climate Change and Sustainability: How Different Disciplines and Industries are Responding 
    • Renewable Resources
    • Planning Future Cities
    • Food Systems
    • More
  • Intermediate or Applied Fintech (building on existing content offering)
    • FinTech Applications (i.e., AI, blockchain, other payment tech)
    • Risk Management
    • Cyber Security
    • Investment Strategy
    • More
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Applications for R Programming
  • Robotics
  • Mobility: Technology and Policy Innovations 
    • Model-based Systems Engineering 
    • Additive Manufacturing 
    • Autonomation
    • Urban Planning 
    • Accessibility
    • Social and Environmental Impacts
    • More
  • Social Media: Ethics, Economics and Implications for Technology, Business, Policy and More 
  • Mental Health
  • Humanities: Making Sense of Current World Structures through Culture, Race, Gender, Philosophy, and History

MOOCs & Open Learning Communities

Michigan Online open courses give learners across the globe access to on-demand video lectures, activities and assessments, as well as community discussion forums and shareable course certificates upon completion.

The U-M online learning community has learners from more than 200 countries, including India, US, Brazil, China, Canada, Great Britain, Mexico, Germany, Russia, Egypt, and beyond. In total, our U-M open online courses have generated more than 15.5 million enrollments. Through our 190+ MOOCs, learners across the globe earn certificates and pathways to degrees online, while building skills for the future of wellbeing and work. 

MOOC lengths can vary due to a variety of factors.  As a best practice, we recommend designing courses with the following features:

  • 4-6 weeks per course in length 
  • 3-8 hours per week of asynchronous learner effort per week (effort includes watching videos, reading articles, responding to discussion prompts, completing assessments, etc.) 

A MOOC series is 3-6 MOOCs, typically designed and intended to be taken as a sequence.

Funding and Support

For approved proposals, the Center for Academic Innovation will provide: 

  • A faculty stipend ($10,000 for a single course, $25,000 for a series) 
  • In-kind support in the form of instructional design consultation, project management, and media production
  • Funding for student Course Development Assistants
  • Potential for shared revenue generated from courses
  • Up to $50,000 in additional funding for selected topics through external partnerships.


To support the proposal development process, we are happy to engage in exploratory conversations about proposal topics, and we will be offering informational sessions about the Call for Proposals for any faculty interested in learning more. 

  • Call for Proposals launch: October 11, 2021
  • Informational webinars: TBD – dates and details upcoming
  • Consultation opportunities
  • Proposal deadline: November 19, 2021
  • Decisions announced: Week of December 13, 2021
  • Course development: End of January 2022
  • Course launch: Sept 2022 – June 2023

Proposals are due Friday, November 19, 2021.

Note: Development for a single course (from kick-off through design, content development, media production, and course building, to launch) can take on average 6-8+ months based on a variety of factors, including faculty bandwidth, content creation needs, complexity of course media, etc.

Proposal Submission

To submit a proposal, please contact for a consultation.

Proposal Requirements:

  • Eligibility: Faculty Status Policy
  • Special Considerations for MOOC Proposals:
    • Proposals for the creation of new Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) must be submitted by a faculty member.
    • MOOC proposals must be submitted to the appropriate administrator in the lead faculty member’s School/College for School/College approval prior to submitting to the Center for Academic Innovation.

About CAI

The Center for Academic Innovation seeks to shape the future of learning to further the University’s mission to serve the people of Michigan and the world. The Center leverages innovation and research to make learning inclusive, equitable and open for all. By cultivating a sense of belonging while creating and sharing knowledge, we hope to nurture lifelong learners who embrace complex challenges and pursue diverse perspectives to create a better tomorrow.

Over the past seven years, the Center for Academic Innovation and our faculty partners have developed a broad portfolio of more than 200 learning experiences across the 19 schools and colleges.  These MOOCs, series, and other initiatives serve to:

  • highlight the breadth and depth of expertise at the University,
  • provide Michigan students with supplemental and exploratory learning opportunities,
  • further position faculty and schools as leaders in their fields, 
  • re-engage alumni as lifelong learners, and 
  • provide a global community of more than 9.2 million learners an affordable gateway into disciplinary programs, enabling them to refine existing skills and dive deeper into new areas of interest.

More than 190 University of Michigan courses are currently available on Michigan Online and across our platform partners Coursera, FutureLearn and edX, making us a leader in global learning and education.