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German University Offers MOOC with Credit

A public university in Germany is joining the MOOC movement with a course that will come with "university credit points" that it said could be accepted by degree programs. Leuphana University, based in Northern Germany, will be offering its first massive, open, online course for students around the world starting on January 9, 2013. The topic: creating the ideal city of the 21st century.

"ThinkTank Cities" participants will design models for future living in urban centers under the direction of architect Daniel Libeskind. His buildings include the Jewish Museum Berlin, an extension to the Denver Art Museum, and the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester, England. He's also involved in redesigning the central building on campus.

Guest lecturers will include faculty from Columbia University in New York, Arizona State University, the London School of Economics, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and others as well as experts from private industry. Lecturers will present in their disciplines via video keynotes and other supporting materials. They'll also provide feedback and advice on the main project categories, architecture, economics, social science, cultural history, sustainability, infrastructure, and public health. Students will participate in five group projects and engage in virtual classroom discussions with peers and instructors.

"Mentors" will provide permanent teaching input, lead classroom discussions, and give a qualitative evaluation of all final submissions. Tutors will supervise related groups and their team pages, monitor project output and group performance, and assist in evaluating the final submissions.

Leuphana will be running the program on Candena Scholar, an online course delivery platform developed by Candena, a start-up that works out of an incubator project run by the university and the regional government.

The course, which will run for three months, may earn a student credits, which, according to the university, could be applicable to degree programs at other institutions. Leuphana will also sell a certificate of participation for €20 or about $26.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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