Europe’s iversity Launches 1st MOOCs With 100k+ Students & Curriculum Of 24 Courses

by Natasha Lomas for TechCrunch on 14 October 2013

Berlin-based MOOCs startup iversity, which last year began a pivot away from online learning collaboration tools with the aim of becoming the Coursera of Europe, is launching its first clutch of free online courses today.

Back in March, iversity told TechCrunch it was hoping to attract six-digits’ worth of students at the launch of its MOOCs. And it’s managed to do so — saying initial student sign-ups have exceeded 100,000.

iversity CEO Marcus Riecke said the level of launch traction it has achieved proves the MOOCs concept can fly in continental Europe, which has lagged the U.S. in experimenting with the massive online courses model for free-to-learn higher education. In the U.S. a raft of MOOCs players have sprung up, with Coursera, Harvard- and MIT-backed edX andUdacity being among the biggest.

Full story is here.

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.

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iversity Post Announcing Their First MOOCs

Berlin, 15.10.2013 – iversity.org, the European platform for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), launches today with over 115,000 students. The launch includes the start of the first six from a total of 24 MOOCs provided by top professors from Europe and the US.

With over 115,000 students on day one, more students are enrolled on iversity.org than at Stanford University, Freie Universität Berlin and the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge combined. Some of the MOOCs on iversity.org have reached five-figure enrolment numbers, the three largest being:

  • The Future of Storytelling by the Fachhochschule (University of Applied Sciences) Potsdam has more than 29,000 enrolments, which is more than nine times as many students as the entire student body of the Fachhochschule (University of Applied Sciences) Potsdam.
  • Design 101 (or Design Basics) has 18,000 enrolled students. This course offered by the Accademia di Belle Arti in Catania teaches insights and hands-on skills about design in the age of digital technology.
  • Public Privacy: Cyber Security and Human Rights by the Humboldt Viadrina School of Governance in Berlin. 17,000 students have enrolled in this course dedicated to a cutting-edge topic that gained world-wide prominence through the revelations of Edward Snowden.

Marcus Riecke, CEO of iversity, comments: “We are delighted to launch our first courses today with so many students. In so doing, we have established iversity.org as the leading European MOOC platform and have delivered the proof-of-concept that MOOCs are as relevant and revolutionary to the future of higher education in Europe as they are in the US, where the phenomenon erupted last year.”

Full post here.

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.

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FutureLearn Launches First Batch Of 20 Free Courses As It Chases Coursera, Et Al.

by Natasha Lomas, for TechCrunch.com

FutureLearn, a U.K.-led MOOCs alliance, has launched its first set of free courses, nine months after announcing its intention to jump into the Massively Open Online Courses space.

FutureLearn has grown in size and scope during that pre-launch phase. It now describes itself as “U.K.-led” MOOCs provider — having added a couple of international higher education institutions (namely Trinity College Dublin and Australia’s Monash University) to a list that began as a consortium of U.K.-only institutions.

The thing is, FutureLearn is late to the MOOCs party — playing catch up with the likes ofCoursera and Udacity, to name just two of the U.S.-based pioneers in the space. So expanding its roster of course-providing institutions by casting its net overseas is one way to scale faster and start attracting a critical mass of students so it can shoot for profitability, down the line.

Full post here.

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.

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