Here you will find everything you need to know about the contest


Academics across the world are beginning to grasp the potential of digitalisation for innovation and transformative change in higher education. The “MOOC Production Fellowship” contest, hosted by Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft and iversity, sets out to support this trend.

The contest seeks to identify ten innovative concepts for massive open online courses (MOOCs). Fellows will receive funding as well as assistance with course production. Stifterverband and iversity hope to raise awareness for the tremendous potential of digital technology in education and seek to activate a process of creative adaptation within the academic community.

Up to ten instructors or teams of instructors will be awarded a fellowship for their innovative Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) concepts. Fellows will receive a 25,000 Euro stipend to pay for the production of their courses. The aim is to have at least five courses online in the fall of 2013. Up to five courses may go online in the spring of 2014. The courses will run on the iversity platform and will be available to the public free of charge.

  • Application stage: March 11, 2013 - April 30, 2013
  • Info session in Berlin: April 5, 2013
  • Voting stage: May 1, 2013 - May 23, 2013
  • Jury decision: until June 10, 2013
  • Announcing of fellows and workshop: June 20 and 21, 2013


Fellows will receive 25,000 Euros to implement their MOOC concepts. There will be a public award ceremony, and fellows with receive ongoing support during both the production and marketing phases of the project.

The grant will enable the fellows to manifest their course concept vision. The public voting stage will give an early feedback about the potential demand for the course idea. There will be a kick-off workshop, and we will support the fellows throughout in the development and implementation of their course concept. We will provide them with insights and guidance on current trends and the latest developments in open course instruction. Moreover, the community of fellows is meant to act as a support network of practitioners that pursue a common goal: Collaboratively developing innovative approaches to online education.

Ulitmately, fellows are free how they want to produce the course: whether all by themselves, alongside other fellows, with outside service providers, or in collaboration with development partners we recommend. The fellowship funds can be used for production costs, research and/or student assistants, equipment or a teaching buyout.

Terms of Participation

Application requirements

The applicant has to be a assitant, associate or full professor at a university or college. If a team of instructors applies, at least one of them must be an associate or full professor. Teams are required to name a spokesperson.

Instructors from around the globe are eligible for participation. However, at least five of the fellows chosen by the jury should be “Professor”, “Junior-Professor” or "Privatdozent" (including teams with such an instructor) at a German university or university of applied sciences.

Course requirements

The course has to confirm to university-level academic standards. You should try to reach a broad audience – after all this is supposed to be a Massive Open Online Course. The scope of the course is similar to that of a regular semester course (i.e. a student workload of a couple of hours per week, distributed over 8 to 15 weeks).

Applicants are free in their choice of course language. The application, however, has to be submitted in German or English. Please take into account that the amount of student interest registered in the voting phase will be an important criterion in the jury decision.

The online courses should take inspiration from the best-practice standards for MOOCs developed in the US in recent months. To ensure scalability, course concepts should abide by the format laid out in the guidelines and described in the video . Fellows will receive guidance and support throughout the fellowship.

The goal is to produce at least five courses until the fall term 2013/14 (the first courses will go live in October 2013). The rest of the courses will be produced for the summer term 2014 (starting in April 2014). The applicants have to declare when they will be able to offer their course.

The applicant has to commit to producing the course on time (October 2013 / April 2014). To make sure that the course can run on the iversity platform, the fellows have to coordinate with iversity before they begin course production.

The organisers of the contest maintain the right to oversee fellows’ progress throughout the course production process.

Contest timeline and process

Applicants can register starting March 11, 2013 to beginn their applications. An application consists of a short video as well as a detailed description of your course to be submitted in form of an online application. The deadline for submitting the applications is April 30, 2013, 23:59 CET. By this date, applications must be completed and uploaded on the contest website ( by clicking the "Submit Application" button at the bottom of the application form. After the deadline, applications can no longer be submitted.

The voting stage begins May 1, 2013 and end on May 23, 2013 at noon. The general public will be able to vote for their favourite course/s on the contest website. Student demand is one criterion for jury decision.

By June 10, 2013 the jury will determine recipients of the fellowships. One criterion is the number of votes received during the voting stage. However, the jury can also base its decision on other factors, such as an innovative teaching concept, smart usage of technology solutions or integration into an existing institutional structure.

Use of the grant and course content

Fellows are free to use the fellowship grant as they fit; however, they must ensure their course is produced according to the criteria and the timetable established in the terms of participation and that the course can run on the iversity platform.

The course will not be used commercially during the duration of the contest (until July 2014) - neither by the fellow nor by iversity, Stifterverband or a third parties. After the fellowship, fellows are free to make commercial use of the content they produced.

Any rights of use are granted to Stifterverband and iversity to the extent required to host the contest, operate the platform and display the content until the end of the spring term 2014. Otherwise the fellows retain all rights to the content they have produced and uploaded to iversity.

The fellow shall ensure that they have obtained copyright clearance for all of their course content (including text, images, graphics, sound recordings, videos, etc.). In particular fellows have to ensure that they do not violate any copyright and ancillary copyright protected positions of third parties (eg. by uploading plagiarised scientific papers, pirated movies or software, etc.), personality rights, rights to one's own image, and no trademark rights held by third parties (brands, company names, titles, etc.).


The following paragraphs give you a quick overview over the core aspects of MOOC-didactics.

Course Structure

Just like a regular course, a MOOC is structured into 8 to 15 units. These units, however, are not just recordings of regular 90 minutes lectures. The content broken-down to individual concepts that are structured to form a sensible unit.

Content can be offered in many shapes and forms: Video content, for example, can be complemented by presentations (don’t just think PowerPoint, but Prezi), texts, pictures and diagrams etc. After every unit, there should be some interactive element, such as a short quiz. The idea is to keep students engaged and to give them immediate feedback.

However, there are also other assessment formats described below. Moreover, you can make use of external tools. For example you can use Google Forms to let students conduct original research by collecting data to build something like this .


One of the core means of instruction in open courses is online video. The difference between the videos used in open courses and the kind of content that you find in online video lecture repositories, such as itunesU or Academic Earth is that open courses use custom content.

In other words, the educational material is specifically designed for online instruction, rather than a by-product of traditional teaching. Such videos break down the content of an hour-long lecture into individual concepts that can be explained in short videos that are just a few minutes long.

Moreover, these videos also use new modes of instruction. Fellows will learn about the various options in the kick-off workshop. Rather than just a talking head, instructors often use a drawing tablet, animations, pictures, or other multi-media elements to visually explain the concepts.

You are free to explore all possibilities this medium has to offer to meaningfully relay your content and support your lecture. Check out the following examples:

Khan Academy: Minima, maxima, inflection points and critical points
Khan Academy: High Renaissance
Elaine McPhee - Annotating "Miss Brill"
SEOmoz - Whiteboard Friday

Feedback & Assessment

Another key aspect of open courses is immediate feedback. After watching a video or reading a text, students should be quizzed on what they just learned. By answering a few multiple-choice questions, they can easily assess whether they grasped the key points. Such interactive elements keep students engaged and ensure that they stay on track from week to week.

Instructors, on the other hand, can use the data thus generated to evaluate the quality of their content. What percentage of students answered all of the questions correctly after watching a given video or reading a certain passage? What aspect of a given concept do most of them struggle with? This kind of feedback provides them with valuable insight into student learning and can help with improving the quality of content over time.

Up to now MOOCs basically use two types of testing:

  1. Automated testing: This allows thousands of tests to be processed automatically without requiring any manual labour. There are three core types of questions:
    • Multiple choice (one or several answers are correct)
    • Binary response questions (one of two dichotomous choices: true/false, yes/no)
    • Free text (bijective answers such as a specific word or number)
  2. Peer Review: The peer review procedure allows qualitative forms of assessment and feedback that cannot be automated to scale - for instance, with essays. Students will submit an essay and receive, say, four other essays in return. They have to read these essays, apply a grading scheme and give some feedback. Afterwards, the quality of their feedback can be evaluated by their peers. Thus assessment becomes an aspect of instruction.
    Moreover, instructors can publicly discuss anonymized submissions or sample solutions that illustrate crucial points.

Peer-to-peer Learning

A third element of open course instruction is peer-to-peer learning. Students can post, browse and respond to other students’ questions in the context of a course forum. They can vote for questions, bringing the most pressing queries to the instructor's attention. Similarly, they can promote specific answers they find particularly helpful, allowing the best content to bubble to the top.

Instructors can make use of this forum by posting their own questions for students to think about and to start discussions. Or they can give authoritative answers to those questions that students felt were the most-important.

Smaller group forums enable students to work on tasks in a team, exchange documents and discuss in a more intimate setting. Social-reading tools allow for collaborative annotation. All of these features can be used to facilitate peer-to-peer learning. Successful instructors make use of them to engage their students and create an active learning community.

In summary and using MOOC lingo: These online courses are supposed to be xMOOCs rather than cMOOCs.

Additional advice on MOOC-didactics

Instructors are advised to reflect upon how these features may be used so as to cover as many levels of Bloom’s taxonomy pyramide as possible.

This document entitled Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy is a guide to a rich variety of online tools that educators can use to engage their students. Skimming through this may provide you with inspiration as to what tools you may use to make your course interactive and fun.

Additional Links:

10 Steps to Developing an Online Course: Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
Bioelectricity: A Quantitative Approach: Duke University’s First MOOC
Free Verses
Ingredients of an Online Lecture
How NOT to Design a MOOC: The Disaster at Coursera and How to Fix it
The MOOC Experience
5 Things I’ve learned from my MOOC experience


How do I create an application video?

It is very easy to create a short video. If you do not have access to a video camera just use your laptop’s webcam, your cellphone camera or a digital camera with a video function. If you don’t know how to upload your video to Youtube, check out the following tutorial. (You may use the “not listed” setting so that your video will not show up in Youtube search results. In that case it will only be visible on the contest website after you have submitted your application.)

What is the timeframe for the fellowship?

The fellowship lasts for one year from July 2013 until July 2014. During this timeframe the fellows are required to produce their MOOC. They will participate in a kick-off workshop and get input from MOOC-experts. The fellows will receive additional support while producing their courses and are encouraged to cooperate with each other.

Are there requirements regarding the structure and content of my course?

We respect your academic freedom. Thus, the course structure as well as the content are entirely up to you. However, there are some formal requirements listed in the terms of participation as well as selection criteria on which the jury will base its decisions.

Are there technical standards?

Yes. Since the courses will be held on iversity, your content will have to be compatible with the platform’s learning and testing tools. You can find the testing tool are included in the guidelines.

Will certain topics be favored?

No, academics from all disciplines are invited to apply for the MOOC Production Fellowship.

How do I nominate somebody?

Below the fold on the landing page there is a box labeled “Nominate”. Just fill in the professor’s name, email address and institution. In a second step you can fill in your contact info and write a personal message to the nominee. We will then contact the nominee and inform him/her about the contest.

Whom can I nominate?

In general you can nominate any assistant, associate or full professor. You only need his/her email address.

Who can vote?

Everybody can vote.

Can I vote for more than one course?

You can vote for up to ten courses, but you only have one vote per course.

Who wins the contest?

The jury will then select the ten winning entries. Criteria are the public vote, as well as other factors such as e.g. an innovative teaching concept, smart usage of technology solutions or the integration into an existing institutional structure.

When will the courses go live?

At least five of the ten courses will commence in the Fall semester of 2013, the rest in the spring semester of 2014.

Can I already sign up for a course?

You will be able to sign-up after the winners have been announced. If you take part in the voting we will inform you of the jury’s decision and will announce which courses will be produced and when they will commence.



Please direct any question to:

Moritz Kralemann, Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft:

Julia Bader, iversity GmbH:

Info Session

Find out about the MOOC Production Fellowship - a contest hosted by Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft and iversity.

If you have questions regarding the MOOC Production Fellowship or want to talk to experts about why MOOCs are important for teaching in German academia, we would like to invite you to our info session. It will take place on Friday, April 5, 2013 in Berlin (Headquarters of Stifterverband, Pariser Platz 6, 10117 Berlin).

  • 11.00h Official welcome by Dr. Volker Meyer-Guckel, Assistant General Secretary of Stifterverbandes für die Deutsche Wissenschaft
  • 11.15h How to MOOC? Techniques beyond the traditional lecture
    Speech by Dr. Malte Persike, University Mainz and Ars Legendi laureate 2012
  • 11.45h Q&A regarding the MOOC Production Fellowship contest
    Your questions are answered by:
    • Andrea Frank, Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft
    • Dr. Malte Persike, University Mainz
    • Hannes Klöpper, co-founder & Managing Director of iversity
  • 12.30h Lunch
  • 14.00h Record your application video to enter the contest:
    Attending profesors are given the opportunity to record the video required as part of the application.
  • 15.00h End of the event

We would love to welcome you on April 5, 2013.

Please register till March 25, 2013 via email to

Imprint and Privacy

Contest organizers (Information according to Sections 5 TMD/ Sections 55 RfStv):

Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft e.V.
Barkhovenallee 1
45239 Essen
Telefon: (0201) 84 01-0
Fax: (0201) 84 01-301
Email: mail[at]
Hauptstadtbüro Berlin
Pariser Platz 6
10117 Berlin
Tel.: (030) 32 29 82-0
Fax: (030) 32 29 82-515

Managing Director:
Prof. Dr. Andreas Schlüter (General Secretary)

Domicile of the Association: Frankfurt am Main
Vereinsregistereintragung: Amtsgericht Frankfurt am Main, VR 61 54
Umsatzsteueridentifikationsnummer (UStIDNr.): DE 119 692 167

iversity GmbH
Berliner Straße 33
16321 Bernau/Berlin, Deutschland

Telefon: +49 (0)3338 60 48 00
Telefon: +49 (0)30 57 70 93 38
Telefax: +49 (0)30 57 70 93 38-9
Managing Director: Hannes Klöpper | Marcus Riecke
Eingetragen beim Amtsgericht Frankfurt (Oder) | HRB 13620 FF
USt-IdNr.: DE278411534

In the privacy policies and the terms of participation the legal entities named above will be called “contest organizers”.

Privacy policy

Der Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft e.V.and iversity GmbH are glad you visited our website. The protection of your data and privacy is of special concern to us. We use private data, which is collected due to your visit on this website, corresponding to the German Federal Data Protection Act and the German Telemedia Act. Your data will only be used in the framework of the MOOC-contest and will not be passed on to third parties.

Collection and usage of personal data

Personal data (i.e. email address, name, university or college affiliation) will only be collected on this website if you enter them. This is the case when you apply for a fellowship, nominate somebody or vote for a submitted course.

If you apply for a MOOC-fellowship you are asked to fill in your personal data and details about the course concept into the application forms. The contest organizers have access to these application forms. If you submit your application these information, with the exemption of your contact data and your teaching experience, will be made public (on May 1, 2013) as part of the voting process. If you are chosen for the final qualifier all of the information you provided will be given to the jury. The jury will treat information marked as “non-public” (contact data and teaching experience) confidential.


When websites are visited via, access data (like IP address,version of your browser, time) is submitted by your web browser, which is stored in the automated log files, known as server logs.

The data automatically collected via these log files are anonymized and used only if needed for security reasons, to be able to trace cases of abuse of the service and the contest. You are entitled to prohibit, at any point in time, this kind of use of the log files via e-mail or by mail.

A compilation of this data with other sources of data, particularly with the personal data of the user, is not performed. Stifterverband and iversity GmbH, however, reserve the right to inspect existing logs for the last known IP address of the user, in the case of a definite legal offence or violation of the contest by the user.

Transfer to third parties

Handling and usage of your data for additional purpose, e.g. consultation or advertising, will only take place with your explicit approval. Inquiries from state institutions and authorities and the transfer of personal data to them are only handled strictly within the framework of binding national law.

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According to §34 BDSG, you have unlimited rights, free of charge, to information about the personal data referring to yourself which we have saved, as well as the right (according to §35 BDSG) to delete or block inaccurate data. On request, we are prepared to send you written information whether we - and if so, which - personal data we have stored about you. As far as possible, we will take the suitable measures to update or correct your data stored with us at short notice. Just send us an email.


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The information on this website are of general nature and are only meant to inform about the “MOOC Production Fellowship - Online Teaching and Learning” contest. We expressly disclaim any liability whatsoever for any decisions taken by the user on the basis of the aforementioned information.

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