Inside iversity

Students from all over the world love iversity. But not only them, journalists have also dedicated lots of their attention to us and the MOOC phenomenon as a whole. Since our recent announcement that two of iversity’s courses will award ECTS credits to their students, several major European and international online media have given us the spotlight. Here’s a small selection of articles devoted to iversity:

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The New York Times points to the fact that iversity is offering ECTS credit points for two courses (which as of now, is three!). Focus, a popular German news magazine, also highlights this development and stresses the fact that students don’t necessarily need to be enrolled in the university offering the course, enabling them to study wherever in the world they may live. The renowned Italian newspaper La Stampa expresses excitement that the European Higher Education Area is finally taking shape.

The French edition of the Huffington Post puts iversity in the context of the global MOOC movement and argues that it’s about time for Europe to keep up with the highly successful US-American providers of Massive Open Online Courses. The US edition of the Huffington Post goes on to explain that the ECTS credit development moves iversity beyond its US-MOOC counterparts. The German newspaper Berliner Morgenpost is euphoric and quotes iversity’s CEO Marcus Riecke: “The university of the future will come to the students”. We’re very proud to be recognised by the media to such an extent. You’ll find more press commentaries in our press section.

German TV station “Deutsche Welle” featured iversity in its show DW Shift on 7 October, so be sure to check it out! And there’s more to come, as the lauch of our platform on 15 October quickly approaches.

Be part of the MOOC movement and don’t forget to enrol to your favorite courses!

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If you haven’t signed up with iversity yet, now’s the time! There are a couple of big perks waiting for you: iversity just launched the one and only Ambassador programme and you are invited to be a part of it.

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What’s it all about?

Our goal at iversity is to make higher education accessible to as many people as possible. Now we need your help spreading the word! The Ambassador programme enables you to join our mission and give more people all over the globe the opportunity to take free online university-level courses!

Three steps to becoming an Ambassador

It’s pretty easy! First, sign up at iversity and enrol in at least one of our courses. Second, after registration, get a personalised link in the dashboard or by clicking the share button. Third, use that link to invite your friends. Each new sign up counts as one point for you. Finally, the ten students with the most enrolled friends will become Ambassadors! But the clock is ticking: the winners will be announced on the 31st of October.

The perks of being an Ambassador

Several perks come along with being an Ambassador. You will receive an iPad mini so that you can enjoy your favorite MOOCs wherever you are! You also have the opportunity to contribute to iversity's blog by writing about your learning experience on a weekly basis. If you do so, we will give you 500€ for your work. Alongside this, you will have Ambassador status in the course, receive a letter of recommendation from the professor, and last but not least, feel great about supporting a good cause.

If you don’t become an Ambassador, worry not! If you enrol more than 50 friends, we will give you a 50€ voucher to Amazon.

Are you ready? Sign up and check it out!


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Fellows at Work (Photo: David Ausserhofer)

iversity's MOOC Kick-Off Workshop in Berlin began last Thursday with a motivating speech from Dr. Volker Meyer-Guckel, Deputy Secretary General of the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft. “Together, we are exploring new frontiers of higher education,” he said, welcoming the fellows who journeyed to Berlin from as far as Madrid and Southern Italy.

The workshop continued as fellows presented their course concepts. Their plans encompass a great breadth of academic topics, reflecting the fellows’ backgrounds as diverse as law and social sciences, finance, math and medicine. Our staff at iversity then helped fellows detail their plans, counseling them on an array of topics. We worked on MOOC basics and gave practical production advise, as well as tips for managing and maintaining student engagement and successfully marketing courses.

Panel Discussion at MOOC Production Fellowship

Award Ceremony (Photo: David Ausserhofer)

On Thursday evening, iversity and the Stifterverband welcomed distinguished guests from academia, business and politics for the award ceremony of the MOOC Production Fellowship. State Secretary Dr. Georg Schütte of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research began the evening by assessing the future of today’s universities. “Revolution or evolution?”, he argues, was the wrong question to pose about the transformation of higher education. Instead, he invited the audience to partake in this process by asking whether to “shape the transformation, or merely react to it.”

A panel discussion of “Higher Education in the Digital Age” followed, during which Dr. Thomas Kathöfer, Secretary General of the German Rector’s Conference, Dr. Jörg Dräger, Member of the Executive Board of the Bertelsmann Stiftung, and two of the fellows, Prof. Dr. Christoph Hermann with his MOOC "The European Union in Global Governance" and Prof. Dr. Christian Spannagel with his MOOC on Mathematical Thinking discussed the opportunities and drawbacks of MOOCs for universities. Their opinions were both optimistic about and sceptical of MOOC impacts, but the panel agreed that MOOCs are here to stay, and universities must integrate them into their academic programming.

MOOC Production Fellows (Photo: David Ausserhofer)

During the workshop’s second day, fellows worked together extensively. In small groups, they discussed course creation, challenges faced, student recruitment, class forums, and the visual aids their MOOCs will employ. They refined their courses and concretely strategized their marketing. Fellows were extensively coached by iversity staff, and experts such as Prof. Dr. Jörn Loviscach and Prof. Dr. Sandra Hofhues. As the fellows worked on their projects, they also “established community along with MOOC courses,” said iversity co-founder Hannes Klöpper. The workshop closed as fellows presented their updated course concepts.

Throughout the workshop, participants got to know one another as they networked, discussing their lives and academic pursuits. Over coffee, meals, and downtime in Pariser Platz, they shared stories and similarities. In just two days, iversity fellows invigorated and amplified their courses with new ideas from other fellows, with the strategic and didactic feedback needed from iversity experts and our partners. Fellows are now working to produce their MOOCs, and we look forward to supporting and guiding them throughout this next stage in producing their courses. Beginning this autumn, the first MOOCs on iversity will be launched. See all our courses here.

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iversity is buzzing with creative collaboration and intellectual exchange about new MOOCs. Today, the kick-off workshop is in full swing. Our MOOC Fellowship winners and their teams are currently convening at the Stifterverband office in Berlin, amongst others with our Italian Design 101 team completing their road trip (check @stefi_idlab for some hilarious en-route updates).

The workshop marks the beginning of the production phase of ten new, unique MOOCs. As iversity plans how to best offer higher education in the digital age, fellows are forming a community and together shaping, revising, and solidifying their course concepts.

Together, they will “revolutionize how we use the Internet,” said iversity CEO Marcus Riecke as he welcomed our professors. iversity is orienting our fellowship teams, outlining how MOOCs work, the support their iversity partnerships provide, and different ways to teach and assess online and attract students to courses.

The fellows, however, take center stage, sharing their course components and higher education ideas- and their razor-sharp intellect over shared meals and downtime. 

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The jury has selected MOOC Fellowship Competition winners from more than 250 submitted course concepts. The winning courses cover a diverse variety of scientific disciplines: from media studies to arithmetics, from medicine to agricultural science. 

The result of the preceding MOOC voting was one of the factors in deciding the winners. “It was important to us that that actual skills are taught in the courses and that the instructors use the new capabilities the web offers,” says Dr. Volker Meyer-Guckel, secretary-general of the Stifterverband and head of the MOOC Fellowship Competition jury



Design 101  is one of the  winning courses 

Production of the MOOCs will be the next step for the winners. iversity and the Stifterverband will not only support the professors and teams with the grant money of 25 000 Euros (33 000 USD), but will also give technical advice and advise the winners individually on how to produce a MOOC.

“We are amazed by the diversity of the topics and are looking forward to seeing the concepts become excellent online courses. I believe that, together with the Stifterverband, we’ve proven that online education and MOOCs will be a significant force in the future of higher education on this side of the Atlantic as well”, says Marcus Riecke, CEO of iversity. 

iversity warmly congratulates the winners of the MOOC Fellowship. We are looking forward to meeting the Fellows during our workshop in Berlin.

The winning entries can be found on

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