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,” said 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.”

cybersecurityIn 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 Gang Qu in electrical and computer engineering, Jonathan Katz and Mike Hicks in computer science, 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," said 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

February 11, 2014

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