This paper demonstrates how engaging in the development of MOOCs produces benefits beyond student learning and reputational benefits to the institution. The Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS), a University of Wollongong (UOW) specialist centre in ocean law and policy research, developed a MOOC as a first step towards a fully online Masters program, despite the team’s limited experience with online teaching technologies. This small scale pilot suggests that engagement in the development of MOOCs supports not only staff skills’ development, but also stimulates capacity-building - both within the academic unit and within the broader institution - for a transition to the development and delivery of fully online/distance curriculum development. The skills developed among staff were across both pedagogical and technological domains. The additional capacity developed for distance/online delivery within the university were primarily across the domains of organisational systems, but to some degree also effecting technology, partnerships and processes – all dimensions of organisational capacity.