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Company Offers Cash Prizes to Lure Professors to Teach MOOCs

Scottsdale, Ariz. — A German course-platform company, looking to help kick-start the MOOC movement in Europe, is inviting professors and others interested in creating and offering massive open online courses to compete in its contest for a chance to win one of 10 MOOC Production Fellowships—and with it, a prize of 25,000 euros.

Applicants have until April 30 to apply. Iversity, the Berlin-based company sponsoring the fellowships, will hold online voting for the finalists through May 23.

Stifterverband, a German nonprofit association that promotes university-industry collaborations and innovation, is putting up the money, a total of 250,000 euros, or about $325,000.

The 10 winners, to be selected by a jury, will be invited to Berlin in late June for a two-day symposium where they can share ideas with one another on ways to present their courses.

“We want to create a community” among those offering the MOOCs, says Hannes Klöpper, managing director of Iversity. The contest and fellowship are also designed to help Iversity learn more about what people need and want from MOOCs because the winners will be using its MOOC platform, says Mr. Klöpper.

Mr. Klöpper was in the United States last week promoting the contest at campuses and at the Education Innovation Summit, held here. Already, he says, interest seems high. About 1,300 people have gone through the registration to view details about the contest, and hundreds have at least begun to apply.

The proposed courses need not be Euro-centric to win—after all, he says, “there’s nothing particularly European about chemistry,” for example. But Mr. Klöpper expects many will have a global focus.

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