Frequently Asked Questions

UCSC faculty have generally developed hybrid and online course materials for three categories of use: 1) traditional classroom use at UCSC, hybridizing portions of a class or developing a fully online version of an existing course; 2) developing fully online courses for the UCOP Innovative Learning Technology Initiative, which opens the enrollment of credit-bearing courses to students on all UC campuses as well as to non-matriculated students; and 3) developing fully online Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) offered on the Coursera platform. The following FAQs include general responses to the most common questions in these categories. These responses often refer to UC (systemwide) or specific campus policies, and are not intended as legal advice. Faculty considering a contract to develop a course with a third-party online course provider, for instance, should carefully review that document and retain legal counsel if needed.

Please contact Michael Tassio at mtassio@ucsc.edu with any unanswered questions.

General Questions Relating to Online Education and UCSC Courses

What are the faculty benefits of teaching hybrid or online courses?

UCSC faculty who have taught hybrid or fully online courses generally comment on two benefits: 1) the technology, when used well, permits new opportunities for student learning and can improve learning outcomes; and, 2) faculty are less consumed by preparing and reviewing lecture materials and have increased time for interaction with their students and Teaching Assistants. 

How do I develop a hybrid or online course?

Developing a hybrid or online course is a challenging and highly rewarding process that takes a significant amount of time, resources, and creative thinking. An excellent first step is to contact the campus Instructional Designer, Aaron Zachmeier, at azachmei@ucsc.edu. Campus resources for hybrid and online course development, including recent requests for proposals, are available on this website. 

What online platforms and tools are available to deliver hybrid and online instruction at UCSC?

There are several options currently available to deliver hybrid and online courses: eCommons, UCSC’s learning management system (LMS); Canvas, the LMS used by the UCOP Innovative Learning Technology Initiative and several other UC campuses; and third-party platforms such as Coursera and iTunes U.

What resources are available to faculty interested in developing a hybrid or online course?

See the “Resources” page on this website for details on the range of resources for course development at UCSC. If you have additional questions, please contact Academic Affairs Analyst Michael Tassio at mtassio@ucsc.edu

I have lecture videos taken in my classroom. Can I use them for a hybrid or online course?

Your videos might be a good starting point, but production value is very important in hybrid and online formats, and video-recordings of face-to-face lectures might not be of adequate quality or functionality. We recommend contacting instructional designer Aaron Zachmeier at azachmei@ucsc.edu for a consultation on converting a traditional course to a hybrid or online format.

Can I convert a current course to hybrid or online format?

Yes, you can. However, the Committee on Education Policy (CEP) must approve any hybrid or online course in which the amount of time students spend with an instructor or teaching assistant is reduced. CEP’s online education course approval forms are available at the following link: http://academicaffairs.ucsc.edu/online-education/course-approval.html

Do I need a video release for a guest presenter, or for students that appear in my lecture videos?

Yes, you need a signed video release for all guest presenters or for any students who appear or can be heard in a video used for a hybrid or online course. UCSC generally uses the following video release, but there is a specific release for use in courses for the Coursera platform. Please contact Michael Tassio at mtassio@ucsc.edu to request the release.  

Can my online course be offered to students from other UC campuses and to non-matriculated students?

Faculty can propose that their course be offered through the Innovative Learning Technology Initiative, which will open the course to students at other UC campuses as well as to non-matriculated students. 

Can I share my hybrid or online course materials with my colleagues?

You are generally welcome to share any content you create and produce for a hybrid or online course with your UCSC colleagues, assuming you own the content. Information on UC copyright policy, including policy on the ownership of course materials, is available at the following link: http://copyright.universityofcalifornia.edu/index.html.

Can I use materials (such as videos, images, text) that I didn’t develop myself in my hybrid or online course?

That depends. Some materials are designated as free to use for non-commercial educational purposes and some materials may be used under the Fair Use principle (see UCOP Fair Use website: http://copyright.universityofcalifornia.edu/use/fair-use.html). Other materials likely require permission from an author or publisher. Faculty are encouraged to work with a UCSC librarian to identify open access materials, works with a creative commons license, or open educational resources. A Librarian can be reached at: instruction@rt.library.ucsc.edu

Do faculty retain ownership of the course materials they develop for their hybrid or online course?

By way of the UC policy on the ownership of course materials, faculty generally retain ownership of the course materials they develop. The policy, however, states that if “exceptional university resources” are used to create course materials, a separate agreement will specify how rights will be owned and controlled. Please see below for information on the ownership of course materials developed for the Innovative Learning Technology Initiative or for the Coursera platform.

Questions relating to online courses developed for the UCOP Innovative Learning Technology Initiative (and/or UC Online Education)

Are all faculty eligible to participate in developing courses for ILTI?


Yes, all faculty titles are eligible to participate in developing courses for ILTI, although some systemwide funding calls require a senate faculty member to be the lead. 

Which courses can be offered online through ILTI?

ILTI typically releases an annual Request for Proposals that identifies areas of interest for course development. The Winter 2015 RFP targeted fully online collaborative multi-campus course development efforts for high-demand and high-enrollment courses. Faculty with an interest in enhancing or revising their existing online courses are eligible to participate in the RFP, or to opening their fully online courses to cross-campus enrollments. If you are interested in the latter, please contact Academic Affairs Analyst Michael Tassio at mtassio@ucsc.edu or 831-459-1349.

How do I submit a proposal to offer an online course through ILTI?

The campus advertises the ILTI call on the Academic Affairs website and it is distributed to all faculty by email through Divisional Dean’s offices. 

Will faculty be obligated to offer an approved ILTI-funded course for a certain number of years?

The current UCOP expectation for courses funded by ILTI is that each course will be offered six (6) times over three (3) years. UCOP does not currently count summer offerings towards this requirement. Please contact Academic Affairs Analyst Michael Tassio at mtassio@ucsc.edu or 831-459-1349 to explore options if this expectation cannot be met. 

Do faculty retain ownership of their course materials?

Faculty retain ownership of the course materials they create and develop. Under the UCSC Online Education Agreement for Cross-Campus Enrollment Courses, faculty grant the campus administration a non-exclusive license to distribute the course. Faculty interested in developing an online course for ILTI are encouraged to review the agreement. 

Does the campus have plans to reduce instructional costs as a result of developing credit-bearing online courses for the UCOP initiative?

There is no campus plan to reduce instructional costs by offering online education courses. The production of high-quality online instructional materials is expensive, and the on-going costs to offer courses through the UCOP initiative are similar to traditional courses. 

Questions relating to Coursera

Are all faculty eligible to participate in developing UCSC MOOCs for the Coursera platform?


Yes, all faculty titles (including Lecturers) are eligible to participate in developing courses for the Coursera platform. 

Which courses will be offered online through Coursera? 


A faculty committee adjudicates proposals for Coursera course development. UCSC has thus far offered two MOOCs on the platform: C++ for C Programmers, and The Holocaust. 

How do I submit a proposal for a Coursera MOOC?

The administration released its first formal call for MOOC proposals for the Coursera platform in Fall of 2014. Faculty interested in developing a MOOC proposal, within or outside of the RFP cycle, are encouraged to contact Academic Affairs Analyst Michael Tassio at mtassio@ucsc.edu or 831-459-1349. 

Do faculty retain ownership of their course materials used for a Coursera MOOC?

Faculty retain ownership of the course materials they create and develop, though faculty must grant certain rights to use their course materials to facilitate the MOOC offering on Coursera. Under the current Coursera contract faculty are required to grant the campus a non-exclusive license to distribute their course on the Coursera platform. Interested faculty should review the current Coursera contract for more details. 

What agreements does Coursera require the University and Instructor to sign to offer a MOOC on its platform?

Coursera’s Online Hosting and Services Agreement is signed by the Campus administration and Coursera. The course instructor must sign a Coursera Instructor Release. Additionally, there is a campus specific agreement between UCSC and the instructor, the Pilot UCSC Online Education Agreement for Coursera Courses, which describes faculty and university rights and obligations with respect the Coursera agreements in light of university policies, such as the UC policy on copyright and ownership of course materials.

Does the campus have plans to reduce instructional costs as a result of its partnership with Coursera?

UCSC MOOCs offered through the Coursera platform do not carry academic credit, and there is no plan to reduce instructional costs as a result of the partnership. UCSC faculty developing Coursera courses are encouraged to use portions of the course materials they develop for their MOOC (such as course videos that would augment lectures) in their traditional or hybrid courses.