Beginning this month, professors and students can get free access to an online collaboration network, iversity, set up with €1.1 million of venture capital from the European Union, the federal state of Brandenburg and BMP media investors.
“This funding provides us with a sizeable launch pad. It enables us to present a world-class product,” says iversity's founder Jonas Liepmann.
More than 11,000 users registered at www.iversity.org during the beta phase. Their feedback is driving a redesign process, with the new iversity website due to go live during September. It is now possible to sign up for early access on iversity.org.
iversity will allow lecturers to organise courses and manage interaction with students, whilst also providing students with tools for interaction and collaboration that standard e-learning systems do not provide. “iversity offers, what I always felt was lacking during my own studies – possibilities for real student collaboration outside the classroom,” Liepmann said.
iversity claims to address one of the key problems of universities in the age of mass higher education. For example, in Germany, not only is the number of incoming students rising year on year, but changes in the high school system in some federal states mean two full year groups will enter universities this year. Rather than just sitting alongside each other in anonymous lectures, iversity enables students to learn from and with each other online,” iversity claims.
The iversity team is made up of twenty international young graduates from a variety of academic backgrounds make. They have studied, amongst others, at the universities of Cambridge, Columbia, Duke, Princeton, the Humboldt Universität, the Freie Universität Berlin, the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris and the National University of Singapore.