They may be a little late to the MOOC party, but two newly-launched European open course platforms might still be able to carve out a niche.
Coursera and edX, the two main players in the US at this point, have been up and running for almost 18 months. And although both ventures have a long list of international partners, the rising cost of higher education is building interest in MOOCs in Europe and the UK. The founders of new European platforms -- Future Learn in the UK, and iversity in Germany -- are betting they can still make headway in an increasingly crowded market.
A subsidiary of the British Open University, Future Learn is in its beta stage, but it's already boasting partnerships with universities across Britain, Ireland, and Australia. And come this November, it will be rolling out courses across multiple disciplines. Take for example:
- The mind is flat: the shocking shallowness of human psychology - University of Warwick
- Web science: how the web is changing the world - University of Southampton
- Introduction to ecosystems - The Open University
- England in the time of King Richard III (NI) – University of Leicester
Meanwhile Berlin-based startup iversity recently relaunched itself as a MOOC platform. This week, iversity’s first six courses begin. Four are in German and two are in English: Contemporary Architecture and Dark Matter in Galaxies. A total of 115,000 students are currently enrolled.
Future Learn and iversity both seem to be aimed at audiences who are relatively new to the MOOC concept. Both sites take care to explain what MOOCs are in very simple terms—which may be a smart strategy for businesses setting out to convince Europe and Britain that the MOOC trend is for real.
Kate Rix writes about digital media and education.