Your New Year’s resolution: Learn and grow with CU on Coursera

Free online learning program features over 150 faculty-taught courses
By Staff


Written by Christopher Haynes and Jaimie Henthorn; graphic by Josephine Koch

Meet your personal and professional goals in 2020 with CU on Coursera, a free online learning program for the University of Colorado.

CU on Coursera is a suite of over 150 online courses taught by faculty from across the University of Colorado. These courses are available at no cost to faculty, staff, students and alumni from all four campuses and the system offices.

Many of the CU on Coursera opportunities are short, three- to six-week courses taken at your own pace. For each course you complete, you earn a verified and shareable certificate of achievement. Courses are offered online and feature interactive videos, readings and resources alongside practice exercises and graded assessments to provide feedback about your learning.

CU on Coursera offerings also are available to supplement on-campus teaching and learning and as a way to connect students on one campus with faculty on another. For instance, CU Boulder faculty could include content from courses at CU Anschutz, or CU Denver students could expand their cybersecurity skills with the extensive offerings at UCCS.

Many at CU already are enrolling in and completing courses for personal enrichment and professional development through programs like the Effective Communication specialization from CU Boulder or Become an EMT through CU Anschutz.

CU on Coursera is a space for exploration. You can find new lines of academic inquiry such as Medical Cannabis: The Health Effects of THC and CBD from CU Boulder, open up new spaces for inclusion with CU Denver’s Queering the Identities: LGBTQ+ Gender and Sexual Identities, or gain comprehensive understanding of Homeland Security and Cybersecurity through UCCS’s volume of courses on the subject.

Over 1,000 faculty, staff and students across all CU campuses enrolled in Coursera courses in 2019.


A medical animator and illustrator at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Jodi Slade completed the Preventative Healthcare for the Newborn Baby course led by Dr. Dan Nicklas of CU Anschutz and Children’s Hospital. To keep her certification, Jodi needed to obtain continuing education units (CEUs) from an approved institution and in a course that includes feedback and evaluation. “I thought I would just have to push through getting my continuing education, but the lecturers for the CU course on Coursera actually made the topic interesting and engaging,” she said. “I stuck with the course because the instructors were engaging and thorough and kept the material relatable and interesting.” In her role, Slade creates animations, illustrations and interactive materials to explain complex surgeries and ease patient anxiety about upcoming or past procedures for the Surgeon in Chief Program. She looks forward to using what she learned in the CU on Coursera course for her job. “I gained a functional knowledge of basic newborn care that I can use to help create visuals to teach new parents,” she said. “Having taken this course, I feel I can now distill down the most important concepts so new parents don’t feel so overwhelmed with information.”


Margarita Lavrouk, an accounting and finance professional in Academic Affairs at CU Boulder, recognized the value of the Teamwork Skills: How to Work Effectively in Groups course taught by CU Boulder professor Matt Koschmann. “From my experience, I realized how a lack of communication and teamwork could potentially create conflict, misunderstanding and poor performance in the workplace,” Lavrouk said. The course answered questions “that were really important for me.” She wanted to improve her teamwork skills as well as extend and improve her vocabulary because she is not a native English speaker. “I believe that I can apply concepts of group development at my workplace to improve the performance of my team,” she said. The most important thing she took from the course? “I became more confident in professional communication.”


Frank Leresche, a postdoctoral researcher in CU Boulder’s Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, completed the course Water in the Western United States, taught by CU Boulder’s Anne Gold, director of CIRES’ Education and Outreach program. “Coming from Switzerland, which has abundant water like the eastern U.S., I was interested to learn how the water scarcity was managed in the West,” said Leresche, adding that he “learned about things that will be useful to me in the future and were not covered in my curriculum. I feel that the Coursera courses will help me to find new work opportunities.” In CU on Coursera, Leresche found an important opportunity for continual learning and growth. “I can pass my evenings watching some TV or reading a good book but I also enjoy to take a moment to learn something new. I appreciated that you can follow a course at your own pace and the readings suggested at the end of each lecture to further investigate a particular aspect of the course.”

Popular courses on CU on Coursera

Popular courses on CU on Coursera

Many learners in the program are seeking data analysis skills (Introduction to Data Analysis for Business, Introduction to Clinical Data Science) and personal and professional development (Business Writing, Giving Helpful Feedback). CU on Coursera provides resources for these personal learning plans.

Beyond these, new courses are being added to the program on a rolling basis, like Queering the Schoolhouse: LGBTQ+ Inclusion for Educators from CU Denver and course sequences in Digital Advertising Strategy, Mind and Machine, and Leading Sustainable Community Transformation from CU Boulder.

How to get CU on Coursera:

You can access CU on Coursera in two ways:

  1. Head directly to the CU on Coursera program welcome page
  2. Log into your campus portal and access “Training Resources” (or search for “Coursera” in BuffPortal), then click the tile or link.

At the program welcome page, click “Join for Free” and then “Log in with University of Colorado.”

CU on Coursera is sponsored by the Provost’s Office for Academic Innovation at CU Boulder and the Office of Digital Education and Engagement at the University of Colorado system.