iversity has come long way since Jonas Liepmann took the first steps in 2008 and Hannes Klöpper and some friends won a student idea competition for an online learning platform. Soon after launching the blended learning course platform (“The collaboration network for academia”) in autumn of 2011 we first announced that we would create “Open Courses” on iversity. Back then we contended that:
“Up to this day .. [open educational] resources have only been posted on static websites, void of possibilities for interaction between instructors and 'students', or just between independent learners themselves. What so far has been missing was exactly what for many learners is the key part in the learning process: the exchange with others. This is what iversity's free 'Open Courses' seek to provide. By integrating open educational resources and public domain content into a social learning environment, iversity enables self-learners to engage with the content and exchange with their peers.”
As the first experimental open courses grew more and more popular, we realised that this was indeed the right direction to pursue. In January of 2012 Hannes wrote a piece in the Huffington Post on the emergent MOOC-phenomenon. Since then we have been working on bringing this idea to Europe. We wrote about it in our blog, talked to professors, investors, large companies and institutions of higher education, working tirelessly to popularise the idea on this side of the pond.
Deeply convinced of the transformative potential of the MOOC-phenomenon Marcus Riecke decided to join our team in December 2012. A long-time veteran of the European Internet industry Marcus did not only joined our team as full-time CEO. He also invested some of his own money in the company. Impressed by this level of commitment our existing investors Frühphasenfonds Brandenburg, BMP media investors and Masoud Kamali as well as T-Venture decided to join the round. At this point we would like to express our deep gratitude to them as well as the countless others who have supported us throughout.
Today is not only the culmination of our team’s work of the first two months of this year. It is also feels like we arrived at the destination of an expedition that started over a year ago. Surely our journey is far from over. Today just marks the beginning of an even more exciting trip that now lies ahead of us. Managing the MOOC Production Fellowship selection process and the subsequent course production will present us with many new challenges. But we extremely excited to have this opportunity to publicly and practically rethink what higher education should look like in the digital age.
We are taking the road less travelled and we are excited to see where it takes us.