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Education: Studying online

At German universities are gold rush is spreading. This is due to our old friend, the Internet. After years of e-learning experiments, universities have discovered the social aspect of the online world for themselves. Lectures, seminars, courses are combined with new media and social networks.

This is not only interactive; it could mean a completely new dimension to higher education.By a “radical” change, process for academic training speaks about the Leuphana University in Lüneburg. Since January, she has her own “Digital School” in the teaching portfolio. This is an online platform where course content and teaching materials specially prepared for participants in the Internet and presented. For students, it should be as possible, free from anywhere in the world at any time have access to courses offered by the university can be. Presence of local events are not necessary. The contact with the professor, lecture, questions, tests, teamwork on specific tasks – all of which takes place online.

More than 13,000 participants from over 100 countries

Interactive courses are offered in many places in Germany. A prominent pioneering role as the HassoPlattner Institute (HPI) is a University of Potsdam. This was back in September of last year, the first free open online course started – in engineering jargon also Moocs (Massive open online courses). The English curriculum was aimed at IT professionals around the world who wanted to know more about a new type of database technology, the in-memory data management.

The teaching materials for „Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” is offered as an online course and immediately won over 160,000 students from 190 countries.In the course of the past year were added powerful competitors: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University have together launched the online teaching platform EDX, for which have so far 350,000 students enrolled.

Thruns former Stanford colleagues also founded the platform Coursera, recorded already after six months 1.7 million subscriptions in various courses. All of these offers are free for now. Given the huge inflow speaks Stanford President Professor John Hennessy believes that the universities, a “digital tsunami” in isolation.

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