MOOCs: Defying the Numerus Clauses

There’s big, concerning news in the realm of higher education in Germany, about which iversity recently published a press release. Germany’s 20 biggest universities will, starting in winter 2013/14, apply a Numerus Clauses to two third of their undergraduate programs, as reported by the „Süddeutsche Zeitung“. Barriers to entry are alarming, but it seems that universities must impose restrictions on registration to maintain class sizes. Universities face increasing numbers of first-year students, many of whom are from other European countries. There are also more high school graduates than ever eager to gain admittance to German universities.

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Without the resources to hire more professors and expand academic departments, traditional universities cannot adequately educate all of the masses who are eager to learn. That’s where MOOCs, and iversity, come in, complementing existing higher education institutions. 

MOOCs have no maximum capacity; they are open to unlimited numbers of students. Hannes Klöpper, co-founder of iversity, emphasises: “We need to see the educational expansion as an opportunity to rethink university teaching. Instead of excluding prospective students by setting high barriers to entry for a growing number of subjects, the universities in Germany should develop MOOCs. Thus, it is possible to keep the quality of education while broadening access to higher education.” 

iversity will offer MOOCs starting this winter semester, in collaboration with universities from Germany and Europe. The  courses are from a wide range of topics, and are relevant to students who both gained university entry, and who unfortunately did not. For those enrolled in universities, MOOCs can supplement their studies. And those who did not receive space at a university don’t have to delay their learning; they can start with iversity courses online. As Klöpper says, “No one will fail to access a MOOC because of a numerus clausus.”

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