Michael Boyle is Managing Director of Procurro Solutions and instructor for ‘Business Analysis 101’, a brand new course starting on January 15th 2015. Here he gives us a first glimpse into what we can expect when you enrol in this MOOC. Find out about the role of Business Analysis in the global workplace, and keep reading to find out about Michael’s promise to his top 10 students!

What do you find exciting about Business Analysis?

I believe, within the right circumstances, a good Business Analyst can bring real added value to an organisation, tied to the overall strategy and its execution within the enterprise. In our course, we talk about the alignment between the organisational mission and vision and the importance of aligning all actions to this anchor.

“I believe, within the right circumstances, a good Business Analyst can bring real added value to an organisation.”

Through the exercises starting with the ‘problem statement evaluation’ all the way through to the business case and the corresponding decision analysis, the Business Analyst ensures that traceability to these overall goals are adhered to.

How do you expect students to apply their learnings?

Apart from having a better idea what the domain Business Analysis is all about, we spend a good amount of time discussing the underlying competencies tied to this profession and where this skill set is required.

“Companies are realising that a more deliberate approach needs to be taken to stay competitive, and the Business Analysis profession will clearly profit from this trend.”

Through the research I carried out whilst preparing for this course, I was pleasantly surprised to find the number of disparate sectors where these underlying competencies are currently being practiced. Companies are realising that a more deliberate approach needs to be taken to stay competitive, and the Business Analysis profession will clearly profit from this trend.

Why is the course interesting for me, if I am not currently studying in the field?

Within the confines of this course, we talk about best practices that transcend sectors. In a world where regional and departmental confines play less and less a role, the basic tenets of Business Analysis:

  • establishing problem statements
  • understanding how to perform transformative activities,
  • understanding stakeholder needs and
  • defining the best solution for the problem and the objectives of the organisation

are traits that are valuable, regardless of the study one is focused on. As mentioned, these traits are not tied to any sector.

How can students prepare for the course?

It would be great if the students can start thinking about how the role of a Business Analysis could be deployed in companies. This will give them a starting point to either challenge that of what I am presenting (which I love) and/or set the stage for learning transformation!

What do you expect from this MOOC?

I will do my best to make the course as interactive as possible and hope that the enthusiasm to be found among the current Business Analyst practitioners will be evident.

“It is great when you can get such a diffuse group of individuals together and profit from the collective wisdom. I can’t wait!”

Once we start a dialogue with the students about some the Business Analysis competencies they are using, I expect the interaction to be as equally a learning experience for me. It is great when you can get such a diffuse group of individuals together and profit from the collective wisdom. I can’t wait!

What is one (fun) fact about you that your students wouldn’t expect?

For those who apply and successfully pass the Certificate Track, we are going to pick out 10 winners, and I will provide those students with an hour’s individual career counselling. Well, I guess there’s no turning back for me now on that offer!

If Michael’s interview has inspired you then why not enrol in ‘Business Analysis 101’ today?

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thumb_200_69877293128680Dr. Andrea Römmele is a Professor of Communication in Politics & Civil Society at the Hertie School of Governance and the main course instructor for the ‘Governance & Policy Advice‘ MOOC. Here she shares some background on her area of study, giving you an idea of what to expect from this brand new online course.

1.What is the most exciting thing about your field of study?

So many things are exciting about it :-) First of all, it is a interdisciplinary field bringing together political science, sociology and communication studies. It is great to see how it is developing.

“The 60-million-dollar question is: how does good advice come into politics/government?”

The second thing is to see how the real demand for policy advice is becoming larger. It’s a very interesting topic to study, both from the side of those that provide advice and those that seek advice. The 60-million-dollar question is: how does good advice come into politics/government?

2. What do you expect from this MOOC?

Two central things: the issue of political consulting and policy advice hopefully becomes more prominent in the academic debate and, second point, some intense debate between more academically oriented people, politicians and practitioners.

3. How do you expect students to apply their learnings?

In many different ways. First of all, it would be great if the idea that politicians actually need advice in todays complex world would come across. Perhaps by reading the daily newspaper students might already have another take on how politics works.

 “It would be great if the idea, that politicians actually need advice in todays complex world, would come across.”

There are many different ways to apply one’s learning: perhaps an internship, perhaps by research a case etc. If one already works as a consultant, perhaps the theoretical background given is helpful, perhaps also the cases from all over the world.

4. What is the most interesting fact about the course?

I would say the fact that academics, practitioners and politicians all come together to teach the course. Students really get an introduction into this topic from all possible angles.

5. What is one fun fact about you that your students wouldn’t expect?

If you listen to me in the various chapters, you can tell that I sometimes get mixed up between my US and British accent :-). Normally, I have a British accent, but I spent some time in the US recently, and so the West Coast accent sometimes blends in!

6. Why is the course interesting if I am not currently studying in the field?

It has links to many other areas in political science and really introduces students to a VERY RELEVANT topic.

7. What will help students during the course?

“You will be surprised how much “policy advice” there is in daily life :-)”

Looking at the additional reading material, chatting with fellow students and really just very thoroughly studying daily politics and the policy fields that are discussed in the MOOC. You will be surprised how much “policy advice” there is in daily life :-).

8. How should students prepare for this course?

Each chapter is standalone, so you should have an easy entry each single time – but there also is a story line. The reading recommended in each chapter should be great introduction as well.


Want to learn more about the world of ‘Governance and Policy Advice‘? Enrol in the course here.

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Fall semester is just around the corner and it’s time to think about what new things you want to learn. To help you out, let’s introduce you to 3 new courses. Did you miss any great courses this past year? Now’s your chance to enrol because 6 courses will re-run this October. You may also notice the great new design and new features on the course enrolment pages. Check out the preview videos and discover what each course offers.

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New courses

The new additions to the course catalogue dive into the fields of politics, economics and archeology. For you English speakers, the course “Governance and Policy Advice: How political decisions come to life” from the Hertie School of Governance will explore how policy decisions are made. Who advises politicians and how you can judge good political advice? Policy decisions affect us all and aren’t magically pulled out of a hat. It is important to critically examine this process and understand what shapes the political structures we live in. For German speakers, we have two courses that should spark your interest. “Einführung in das Rechnungswesen” from the RWTH Aachen teaches you about budgeting and cost management. As the Audi slogan goes, “How feels your tomorrow?”, you will learn how to use accounting and financing methods to plan for the future. Lastly, you don’t have to go to the pyramids in Egypt or see excavations of ancient Rome – interesting things can be found in areas where you least expect them – Northern Germany. The “Die Welt der Hanse” from Fachhochschule Lübeck sifts through hundreds of years of cultural history and takes you on a tour of the Hanse, the largest commercial confederation of early modern times, mainly located in today’s Northern Germany. Learn archeological working techniques that can reveal burial practices, cult rituals and the methods used to build medieval walls.

Courses coming back for another run

Some of our beloved courses are running again this Fall. Now you can take that course you missed or never finished. From business to math to the sciences, German speakers can enrol in Einführung in die Betriebswirtschaftslehre, Algorithmen und Datenstrukturen, Social Entrepreneurship – Changemaker MOOC and Sectio Chirurgica: Klinische Anatomie. For all you English speakers out there, Political Philosophy: An Introduction and Fascination of Crystals and Symmetry are waiting for you.

Ready to set up your Fall Semester schedule? Have a look through the course catalogue and find something that fits you! Keep an eye on the blog – we will share more information, insider interviews and fun facts about the individual courses and their instructors.

Go to courses

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Public attention across Europe these days seems to be directed towards the 100th anniversary of World War One. However, Europe’s roots reach back a lot further than that. This year also marks the 1200th year after the death of Charlemagne (748-814 AD). iversity commemorates the lasting influence of the emperor of the Kingdom of the Franks with a MOOC that starts today. The German city of Aachen, one of Charlemagne’s most important places of activity, hosts three major exhibitions about the man that is often referred to as “Pater Europae” – the father of Europe.

Image: Statue of Charlemagne in the German city of Aachen

The Empire of the Franks

In political terms, Charlemagne managed to establish a huge empire that stretched all the way from the Pyrenees to the Danube, and from Italy to the Baltic Sea. In doing so, he became the first post-antiquity emperor – with plenty of successors involved in bloody fights for the crown up until 1918, the end of the First World War, when four Empires (Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire) collapsed almost simultaneously.

Image: Largest extension of Charlemagnes empire

What many people don’t know about the man also known as “Charles the Great” is that apart from his military conquests, he kept his empire together by establishing the “Carolinian educational reforms”. In the late 8th century, the common literacy level of Latin had deteriorated so badly that many priests were unable to interpret or even read the bible properly. In an attempt to counteract the looming loss of knowledge (which, as everyone knows, maintains close ties to power), he gathered the best and most renowned Latin scholars in his court.

The roots of education

This included the scholar Alcuin, who created a curriculum and textbooks for Latin studies as well as the “seven liberal arts”: a blueprint for medieval education and a syllabus that consists of the so-called “Trivium”, the combination of grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric. In the eyes of Charlemagne’s contemporaries, this syllabus formed the basis of any critical thinking. With these as as starting point, students were then introduced into the “Quadrivium”, a second set of disciplines that encompassed mathematics, astronomy, geometry, and music.

Up until the late 18th century, generations of students in Europe were taught along those lines. Of course, during most of that time, education was a privilege of the few rich and the higher strata of society. Nevertheless, Charlemagne’s educational reforms also affected ordinary people’s lives, i.e. priests were better trained in Latin proficiency and bible studies. In effect, public thirst for education grew ever stronger and culminated in the foundation of the first universities less than 200 years after Charles the Great’s period.

To learn more about Charlemagne’s influence on European history, you have two great options: If you speak German, you can participate in the iversity MOOC “Karl der Große – Pater Europae?” offered by Prof. Rainer Leng from the German University of Würzburg, that deals with the aforementioned Carolinian educational reforms and other subject matter.

Secondly, regardless of what language you speak, you can visit the exhibition “Karl der Große – Macht. Kunst. Schätze” in Aachen, featuring original exhibits and documents from Charlemagne’s time. When opening the exhibition, German president Joachim Gauck had a clear opinion on Charlemagne’s impact: “That he’s called the father of Europe is still legitimate up to the present day.” Now he only has to convince the critical minds of Rainer Leng and his students.

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by Sagar Aryal

My curiosity about iversity first originated when I saw the course “DNA-From Structure to Therapy”. Since I was only interested in biology courses, the only choice left for me was to wait until April 25, the date for the official launch of the course. I had to wait nearly 5 long months since the mail came in my email regarding the launch of the course. I was one of the 39,000 participants who joined this course.

When there was about 1 month left before the start of the class, I made one event page in which I invited almost 20,000 people and around 2,000 confirmed to attend. Since I was an ambassador for iversity too, people believed that this event page was genuine. People started posting questions and queries about the course. One day our Prof. Sebastian Springer also posted in that event describing the course and I was very pleased to see that. Before the start of the course I prepared some banners and posters to post in my different pages and websites, which I usually do.

Diving into the world of DNA

In this course, there was total 6 chapters which was subdivided into about 80 units, in which the 1st was about the introduction. Dr. Susanne Illenberger, Dr. Nicole Kühl and Prof. Sebastian Springer from Jacobs University, Germany were the professors dealing with this online course. When I started my first chapter, I told my classmates to take this course too. I told them that it will support our studies as well. Then several of my friends took the course. We used to watch the videos and play quizzes in the library of St. Xavier’s College, Kathmandu, Nepal, where we study Microbiology. During the course, I met new friends, mainly from India and Pakistan. I also got to know them through my event page.

From Nepal to Germany

It was very different from other online courses I took. This course deals with theory as well as practice. Professors made the models themselves and presented us diagrams to help us understand the material in a practical and easy way. I am from Nepal, very far from the place where I was taking this online course, but the way our professors taught me, made me feel like I was in the class dealing live with the teachers. Languages were also clear and they tried to make it simple and productive. A new thing about this course was homework, which we have to do within a limited time, submit it and it was checked by other participants. It was also fun being like a teacher for some time. The discussion board in the website made the course more interactive. We could interact with national and international people about the chapters and discuss with some confusing questions.

My friend Raskin said, “The course DNA-From Structure to Therapy was very informative. The teachers explained the every details about the structure of DNA in very interesting way that even a participant of non-biology background can easily understand. The course also enlightened in the therapy associated with the genetic disorder in very interesting way”.

Course complete, but now what?

Finally, I completed the course on 2nd June 2014 and downloaded my certificate of participation. I heard that course will again re-open in the Fall. When the registration opens, the first thing I am going to do is promote the course again and let the world know that this course and iversity exist and that people can take online courses for free.

I was happy that I completed the course, but on other hand, I was sad: what to do now? There was no other biology course at iversity, but in future, I hope to see some other new biology and microbiology related courses where I can enroll again and acquire novel things from our professors.

So I highly recommend that all my friends take this course and gain more information about DNA, genetic disorder and its therapy.

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