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UMD to Lead Citizen Developer Training for edX

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The University of Maryland (UMD) has been tapped by edX, one of the leading global online learning platforms, to develop its Citizen Developer training course, with up to $100K being provided to support the endeavor.

The course, to be taught by William Brantley of UMD’s Project Management Center for Excellence, will be designed to help team members in a business become skilled citizen developers, as well as to assist managers and business architects as they incorporate this emerging paradigm into their organization. 

Citizen developers use no-code or low-cost platforms to build sophisticated apps and software solutions without formal training in computer science or software engineering. The approach has drawn increased interest as companies grapple with burgeoning software needs amid a shortage of trained developers.

“This is clearly the direction in which a lot of organizations will be moving in the future,” said Brantley. “Just as musicians can create sophisticated sounds on an electronic keyboard without knowing the back end programming, people no longer necessarily need to be coders in order to build apps.” 

“Our course will provide tools and techniques that can be used by people in a wide variety of organizational roles. We cover everything from the foundations to the finer details,” Brantley said.

“Our course will provide tools and techniques that can be used by people in a wide variety of organizational roles. We cover everything from the foundations to the finer details.”

William Brantley, Ph.D.

UMD is one of 10 educational institutions selected by edX to spearhead a series of new courses focused on essential skills in the virtual workplace. Others include Arm Education, Davidson College, HarvardX, Indiana University, Jesus College, UCLouvain, Universidad Politècnica de València, University of Queensland, and the University of Wisconsin. Topics covered by the courses, which will begin as early as summer 2022, cover the gamut from digital teamwork to emotional resilience.

Nearly 100 submissions from 22 different partners from 5 continents responded to edX’s Request for Proposals (RFP), a spokesperson said.

John Johnson, assistant director of the UMD Project Management Center for Excellence, said the UMD team will apply its knowledge of online learning best practices as it develops dynamic, engaging courses under the edX program.

“The Project Management program strongly values its close working relationship with edX. We are approaching 500,000 enrollments since launching our first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in 2018. Dr. Brantley has been critical in helping build this program, and now his Citizen Developer courses are going to help a lot of people. Everyday we get notes of appreciation from around the world about how our UMD MOOCs are changing lives,”  Johnson said.

The Project Management Center for Excellence is based at the UMD civil and environmental engineering department, part of the A. James Clark School of Engineering. It has won numerous accolades, including a Distinguished Faculty designation from the Project Management Institute (PMI).

“Our project management team have been pace-setters when it comes to developing effective learning approaches in the virtual environment,” said Alba Torrents, interim chair of the department. “These will be dynamic, impactful courses, with great relevance to today’s professional workplace.”

Published May 9, 2022