University at Albany
MOOC developer and Rockefeller Assistant Professor Yvonne Harrison videotapes segments for online learners.

Rockefeller Launches First Nonprofit MOOC

On January 26, 2015, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy launched its first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), "The Governance of Nonprofit Organizations," piloted by Rockefeller Assistant Professor Yvonne Harrison and research partner Vic Murray of the University of Victoria.

Nearly 12,000 learners from 179 countries have enrolled in the 17-week course, which can be taken for a Verified Certificate or free through Coursera's online teaching and learning platform ( 

Harrison and Murray developed the course with support from a University at Albany Provost's Online Teaching and Learning Grant and a SUNY Innovative Instructional Grant (IITG).  The MOOC, designed to increase access to nonprofit management and leadership education, introduces new scholarly research and theories on governance. It also provides a SUNY Open Textbook, Guidelines for Improving the Effectiveness of Boards of Directors of Nonprofit Organizations, written by the course developers.   Another innovation is the opportunity for participants to carry out an academic service-learning project using an open research tool ( Harrison and Murray developed to assess the impact of board performance assessment on governance and organizational effectiveness. 

"We believe that the integration of open education and research is one way to address gaps in nonprofit board and organizational capacity," said Harrison.  The course is supported by a team of instructional designers (Alena Rodick, Chi-Hua Tseng, and Shoubang Jian) and Community TAs, MPA students who completed Professor Harrison's spring 2014 onsite nonprofit governance class (Kevin Sullivan, Scott Hobson, Anna Bartlett, Sreyashi Chakravarty, and Adi Storm).

View the OPEN SUNY textbook from Yvonne Harrison and Vic Murray