iversity was founded by Jonas Liepmann and Hannes Klöpper in 2011, but we have to go back a bit further to see how it all began.
In 2008, iversity started out as a student project. Jonas Liepmann was frustrated with the digital infrastructure in use at the institutions he attended. Jonas and Hannes felt that universities were using glaringly outdated software solutions, so they set out to create a kind of course management system that worked like an online social network for students and faculty. When Sebastian Thrun launched his famous MOOC about Artificial Intelligence, they decided that iversity should fully focus on the idea of open courses bringing this phenomenon to Europe. Their vision was to democratise and modernise education: using online tools and multimedia resources to make higher education both accessible and enriching.
In 2012, Jonas, Hannes and the iversity team spent a lot of time informing people about the MOOC phenomenon. The next big milestone happened in early 2013 with the launch of iversity’s MOOC Production Fellowship contest. The contest awarded ten of the best applicants with 25,000€ each to produce their very own MOOC. It was an overwhelming success: we received over 250 applications from 20 countries. Besides the ten fellows, there were many other great applications, so we soon started working on providing more courses.
iversity also made it's mark in September 2013, becoming the first MOOC platform to have courses that offer ECTS credits. The Bologna Process and the ECTS system have opened up an incredibly valuable academic market, and being based in Europe, iversity can build partnerships with professors and institutions in order to offer MOOCs that allow students to earn credits.
Upon the launch of iversity.org on 15 October (the starting date for our first courses), we offered a total of 24 MOOCs and had 100,000 registered users. Both numbers have been steadily growing since. Our course catalogue is designed to reflect the diversity of academia and offers courses from a wide range of disciplines, setting out to provide every individual with a course that suits their interests.
In December 2013, iversity.org announced the formation of its advisory board. Its first board members include former iversity managing director, Marcus Riecke, and managing director of the CHE Centre of Higher Education, Jörg Dräger, PhD.