Berlin, 17.11.2011 - Just in time for the international day of philosophy anyone can now take advantage of free 'Open Courses' on the online platform iversity. 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. Thematically, the spectrum of the 'Open Courses' ranges from a Shakespeare reading group to a introductory class in computer science to a discussion group on the current financial crisis.
Making what has become accessible, social: open access goes web 2.0
For a few years now, there is a growing trend to make learning materials freely accessible online under the banner of Open Educational Resources. In 2001, the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology started this trend by making its courseware publicly available. Since then the idea of open education has turned into a global movement. More than 200 universities from around the world have joined the so-called Open Courseware Consortium.
Until now, however, these open educational resources have simply been posted on static websites. They were available for download, so that you could print them out and work with them on your own. “What so far has been missing was exactly the aspect that for many learners is the most important part: the exchange with others. Having the opportunity to ask questions, share insights with one another or to validate one's conclusions is crucial for successful learning,” says Hannes Klöpper, one of iversity's co-founders. iversity's Open Courses approach now enables self-learners to do just that: the Open Courses do not only offer raw learning materials, but provide a variety of ways for students to interact and share.
Nobel Laureate supports the idea of Open Courses
The idea of making open educational resources social also convinces renowned professors. Nobel laureate Günter Blobel, for example, points out: “It makes sense to use the Internet for cost-efficient provision of learning materials independent of time and place. Integrating them into an interactive and social learning environment – this approach to me seems to be the logical next step! I'm happy to see that young people in my native Germany are so passionate about education. I wish the team of iversity all the best.”
Check out iversity's Open Courses at: un.iversity.org
iversity is developed by an interdisciplinary and international team of 20 young graduates. Members of the team have studied at universities such as Cambridge, Columbia, Duke, Humboldt, Oxford, Princeton, the Sorbonne, the Freie Universität Berlin and the National University of Singapore. Together they want to build a learning infrastructure for the digital age.
Following an EXIST-Founder Scholarship from the German Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, iversity received funding from the BFB Frühphasenfonds Brandenburg and bmp media investors in July 2011.