Berlin-based MOOCs startup iversity, which last year began a pivot away from online learning collaboration tools with the aim of becoming the Coursera of Europe, is launching its first clutch of free online courses today.
Back in March, iversity told TechCrunch it was hoping to attract six-digits’ worth of students at the launch of its MOOCs. And it’s managed to do so — saying initial student sign-ups have exceeded 100,000.
iversity CEO Marcus Riecke said the level of launch traction it has achieved proves the MOOCs concept can fly in continental Europe, which has lagged the U.S. in experimenting with the massive online courses model for free-to-learn higher education. In the U.S. a raft of MOOCs players have sprung up, with Coursera, Harvard- and MIT-backed edX and Udacity being among the biggest.
Size is key to the MOOCs phenomenon — the M stands for ‘massive’ after all – with routes to monetisation typically requiring a portion of students to be willing to pay to get certifications. Ergo, the more students a MOOCs purveyor attracts, the more profits they are likely to be able to generate down the line (since only a percentage of users are likely to end up paying).
Six MOOCs are available from iversity at launch, with its initial curriculum spanning 24 courses in total (15 of which are in English, with the rest in German). The other courses will start at later dates this year and on into 2014.