Year in Review: 2018-19

UCSC Online Education Year in Review: 2018–19

New Courses

In the past year UCSC Online Education helped produce and launch 16 new online and hybrid courses.

These courses offered students unique opportunities to gain important life skills such as personal finance management (Personal Finance and Investing by Patricia Kelly); think about the questions of identity and culture through the lens of food (Feeding California by Melissa L. Caldwell); explore different facets of game design through a cluster of three courses in Art and Design: Games and Playable Media (Introduction to Game Art Production by Kristen Gillette; 3D Game Art Production by Marcelo Viana Neto, and 3D Character Rigging and Animation for Video Games by Ed Gregor), or even create a whole new language from scratch (Invented Languages by Pranav Anand).


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are public free or low-cost courses available to anyone, anywhere in the world. The MOOC Feminism and Social Justice, taught by Professor Emerita Bettina Aptheker, launched on Coursera in March,  just in time for International Women’s Day, and is attracting hundreds of new enrollments every week. Professor Aptheker’s course is the tenth UC Santa Cruz MOOC on Coursera, and more will be released next year.


Course Revisions 

The courses Ecosystems of California (BIOE 125 / ENVS 125) and Writing Disney (WRIT 2) have undergone major revisions and the updated online versions were first offered to students in the Spring and Summer quarters, respectively. Professor Erika Zavaleta’s Ecosystems of California was also taught in summer, while WRIT 2 is now called Rhetoric and Bullshit and is taught by Anthony Breakspear.

New ILTI-Funded Courses 

Ten new proposals for funding online courses were submitted for the November 2018 and April 2019 deadlines of the Innovative Learning Technology Initiative (ILTI), a UC Office of the President funding program designed to meet UC campus needs for high-quality online courses.
We are extremely proud that all ten submitted course proposals received funding, amounting to more than $850,000 in new funds to the campus. We are grateful for ILTI’s generous support for online education within the University of California. 

    • Technology and Justice (Chris Benner), in development, planned first offering in Fall 2020
    • History and Memory in the Okinawan Islands (Alan Christy), in development, planned first offering in Spring 2020
    • STEM Success (Stella Hein & Ronnie Lipschutz), planned first offering in Spring 2020
    • Global Environmental History (Minghui Hu), planned first offering in Fall 2020
    • Personal Finance and Investing (Patricia Kelly), developed, first offered in Summer 2019
    • Cultures of India (Annapurna Pandey), in development, planned first offering in Fall 2020
    • Community Analysis for Global Health (Mary Beth Pudup), in development, planned first offering in Spring 2020
    • History and Theory of Biological Anthropology (Jay Reti), developed, first offered in Summer 2019
    • Earthquakes (Susan Schwartz), developed, first offered in Summer 2019
    • Engineering California (Zac Zimmer), planned first offering in Fall 2021

Congratulations to all awarded faculty! UCSC Online Education is excited and honored to work with you.

Enrollment Growth 

Students continue to choose online courses. Academic year 2018–19 was once again marked by steady growth in both the number of enrollments — most of which take place during Summer Session — and online courses offered. 

Project Partnerships 

UCSC Online Education partnered with several campus units on a variety of projects, including the following: 

    • Division of Graduate Studies and Center for Innovations in Teaching and Learning: Teaching as an Ethical Practice: A Guide for Teaching Assistants. The online course, required for all new graduate student Teaching Assistants, reviews professional ethics with a special attention to educational equity and accessibility. The online format offers convenience, more in-depth teaching resources, an introduction to key campus resources, and an ongoing reference guide that graduate students can continue to use throughout their teaching careers on campus. A sample video from the course, featuring Mecaila Smith and Cynthia Tibbetts, is available for viewing here.
    • Staff Human Resources, Department of Learning and Development: UCSC Well Campus Videos. With funding from Healthy Campus Network, our team produced a series of videos on personal mental wellbeing practices featuring campus leaders: Marlene Tromp, Jody Greene, Bettina Aptheker, and Meg Corman). You can view a sample video from the series, featuring Jody Greene, below.
      • Disability Resource Center: ASD Webinar for Faculty (currently in development). The purpose of the webinar is to inform the faculty on what neurodiversity is, how it manifests, and provide them with helpful strategies and practices for how to best support students with autism and neurodiverse students.
      • Our unit also supported the Division of Academic Affairs, our parent division, with the Fair Hiring Practices Workshop, a hybrid training whose purpose is to prepare faculty who will serve on search committees. You can watch a sample video — VPAA Herbie Lee’s introduction to the Implicit Bias module of the workshop — here.
New Website 

Our unit rolled out a brand new website in June. While still a work in progress, we are excited about having a new virtual home and a go-to place for all information about online education at UC Santa Cruz for faculty and students.

Undergraduate Assistants 

This year, our team was reinforced by eight undergraduate employees: six in video and course development, and two in testing. We are honored to work with such talented students, and are grateful for all the hard work they do supporting our unit’s mission.

New Location 

As of summer 2018, UCSC Online Education has had its new home in Kerr Hall (room 467). You are welcome to drop in, or make an appointment. Our shared email address is

And if you would like a sample of the content we produce, here is a selection of our promotional videos for online courses The United States of America from the Founding Fathers through Our Time, Introduction to SF, and History and Theory of Biological Anthropology.