Through the past year, iversity.org established itself as a platform which offers unprecedented opportunities for students and professors and it encompasses Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). With the establishment of such platform, instantly, a new world of knowledge was created where students from all corners of the planet are enabled to dive in and take new academic journeys, gain experiences that would tie them with professors. Simultaneously, all professors would extend their reach by teaching tens of thousands students globally.
Such access to education can both vastly improve people’s lives on continual base and bring about real change to big number of communities. That is why all courses are free to everyone at iversity and why the course offers at iversity are constantly expanding (review here), covering a range of subjects including Medicine, Computer Science, Economics, Physics, Law, Design, Philosophy… With MOOCs, education becomes accessible to everyone and in the same anywhere over the globe, affirming the vision of iversity that online education brings on a vivid and transformative power around.
“Our aim is not to replace the university but to empower academics. Likewise, being based in Europe, we are able to take advantage of the European Credit Transfer System. Our partnered institutions have the opportunity to offer exams that award ECTS credits. We are the only MOOC platform to have courses that offer ECTS credits and working to expand this possibility further,” clarifies the iversity team.
Into the MOOC factory
picture credits: iversity
The MOOCs to be found at iversity during this spring semester are really all so different and embed vast number of fields of interest. You will find special courses all from Web-Engineering, courses on Cars and how they function for all enthusiasts in the field; courses on DNA or Crystals for the enthusiasts in Chemistry and Biology and so much more. But, who hides behind and who prepares all these courses?
“I left Belgium, ready for a new adventure in another European capital: Berlin,” shares Cobi, intern at iversity and sharing from the heart of the MOOC factory. “I started my first day a bit nervous: accompanied by my best friend Google Maps, I learned how to get around with the U-Bahn in Berlin and arrived safely at a little town called Bernau bei Berlin. Although the first days were quite overwhelming: with a lot of new faces, new concepts and impressions, my colleagues were very welcoming and friendly and I quickly got to know the people behind these faces, the way of working at the office and the company itself. I remember how pleasantly surprised I was when I learned more about the company that I was working for”.
“To be honest, my knowledge about online education wasn’t very advanced before I started working here, but who knew I could learn so much in such a short time? The MOOCs, the platform and the ideas behind it fascinated me so much, and I tried to keep my eyes and ears open all the time to make the best of my six weeks. One thing that was a big help in exploring the whole company was my first task; I was asked to write the ‘Meet the Team- blog series’. In these 4 blog posts, one department of the company (Marketing, Product, Academic Partnerships and Operations) would be highlighted every week and the blog post would be a great opportunity for iversitarians to get to know the team behind”, adds up Codi.
The voice of the professors
Professor Fries and Dr. Frank Hoffman are among the professors who have encountered on their own journeys with iversity. Professor Fries stands behind the Modelling and Simulation using MATLAB course launched this Spring semester, and Dr. Frank Hoffman is engaged with the Crystals and Symmetry course.
“Simulation can be described as the creation of a model that can be manipulated to find out, how the physical world works. We gain an understanding of how an existing system operates and what would happen if we changed it – or we can estimate how a suggested new system would behave. In a simulation, we perform experiments on a model of the real system. In most cases, that is faster, cheaper or safer rather than experimenting with the real system itself. In our course we are to explain the principle of modeling and simulation. In addition, you will learn how to develop models using MATLAB®. We as the lecturers are keen to gain experience on teaching and learning in such a large intercultural community and finally we expect to have a lot of fun”, shares professor Fries on his expectations for the Modelling and Simulation using MATLAB course.
picture credits: iversity; Dr. Frank Hoffman
“Crystallography is one of the most important analysis methods in science. It helped discover the structure of DNA and is being used to analyze rocks on planet Mars. Our course will open the door to this very interesting field of study and we want to explain the principle of crystal structures in a more pictorial way. We hope that the students will share our fascination of the beauty that lies deep within crystals. We have carefully thought of interesting exercises to deepen the understanding of the basic concepts of crystal structures and symmetry. We hope that there will be lively discussions among the participants and interesting contributions from all over the world, reflecting also the various different cultural backgrounds, e.g. when sharing examples of different symmetries around us. Finally, we hope that this MOOC will help the students to be prepared for advanced courses in solid-state chemistry or similar scientific fields”, shares Dr. Hoffman on behalf of the lecturers to the course on the Crystals and Symmetry course.
“Compared to traditional college studies, online education is very different. It requires self-initiative, determination and ability to adapt in maximizing your output from them,” says Ankit Khandelwal, as he shares some tips on how you can maximize your learning from MOOCs.