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29 March 2013

Euro MOOC platform to launch

Online course provider Iversity enters into the rapidly-growing Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) market, and issues a €250k ($320k) challenge to universities.

Author: Gregg Bayes-Brown, editor

Iversity, a Berlin-based MOOC platform, has launched, and is to award ten €25k fellowships to fund the production of first online courses to universities.

The platform, originally founded as a digital collaboration campus in 2011, has since rebranded itself as a MOOC provider. It has opened up the €250k challenge to individual and groups of university professors until the end of April, and plans to use the 10 courses that are generated as its original offering when Iversity begins enrolling students this coming September.

The challenge is being offered in partnership with German think-tank Stifterverband. Volker Meyer-Guckel, deputy secretary general of Stifterverband, said, "Universities should use technology to improve their instruction. We want this contest to provide an incentive to do just that."

The change from digital campus to MOOC platform comes after a venture round in January, in which Deutsche Telekom’s venture unit T-Venture invested an unspecified sum in Iversity. At the same time, the MOOC platform appointed a new chief executive, Marcus Riecke, who has previously held senior executive positions at Bertelsmann, AOL Europe, and eBay.

Speaking on the €250k challenge, Riecke, said: "Our goal is to show that online courses are not only the future of education in the United States, where MOOCs have caused quite a stir in the past year, but they hold tremendous potential for European higher education as well."

Deutsche Telekom join the European Union, the federal state of Brandenburg and BMP media investors, which all invested in a venture round for Inversity during August 2011 which raised €1.1m.

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