One of the increasingly popular forms of personal education is MOOCs, or massively open online courses. These learning opportunities allow registrants to benefit from free educational opportunities, and many more are even incorporating a revenue model that allows students to pay only if they wish to take a final exam for accredited university enrollment.
While companies like Coursera are seeing a current wave of interest and participation in the US, Europe trailed behind in the availability of MOOC choices for students of all demographics. Now, Berlin-based iversity is working to change that, and has already enjoyed some measure of success by increasing its enrollment to over half a million registered class users in just the first four months of its launch. Even more interesting is the fact that iversity, which began with twenty-four courses to choose from, has only grown to offer twenty-eight classes in that time period.
But one of the common denominators that plagues MOOC companies is the surge of interest in enrollment, but the very pathetic fizzling out of students along the way, leading to less than ideal completion. iversity has now finished its first virtual semester, and only achieved a four percent completion rate.
An article on the company for TechCrunch does offer some hope for MOOC success though. While the article points out one of the inherent obstacles to MOOC participating in Europe, namely that higher education in the EU is typically far less expensive than in the US and therefore does not carry the financial burden that makes MOOCs so popular in America, Natasha Lomas explains that letting users choose to pay for final accreditation for their efforts in the online class can lead more students to see the purpose in completion. As more and more MOOC providers ink deals with major universities to provide learning options to a range of students, initial participation may surge once again but completion can also rise.