Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI
Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI


Potsdam. German Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) is supporting the educational initiative of the software company SAP AG to offer interactive online courses open to everyone - so-called MOOCs. These courses, backed by technology and know-how from HPI and starting on May 27th, will focus on SAP software products. The Potsdam institute, who refers to this latest venture as “pioneering work in the economy,” is the first institute of higher learning in Germany to offer worldwide online courses by its professors on information technology and computer science. SAP is the first globally active company to take advantage of the opportunities presented by this scientifically developed new learning form of open online courses for many participants.

„By way of such Massive Open Online Courses, SAP can offer product-related educational contents worldwide, also to those who are not affiliated with a software company or who are part of the industry,” said Prof. Christoph Meinel, director of Hasso Plattner Institute and head of the HPI specialized field Internet Technologies and Systems. HPI is delighted to be partnering in this highly innovative project and happy to make its platform and expertise available for this purpose, Meinel said.

The new SAP offer open.sap.com relies heavily on the openHPI model in way of design, the Potsdam computer scientist added. The subject material is complementary content-wise. “While development and product experts familiarize course participants with specific in-house software solutions on openSAP, on openHPI our professors teach both fundamental concepts as well as the latest academic knowledge covering the full spectrum of information technology and computer science,” Meinel added.

To prepare first course participants more intensively, openSAP provided a summary of the main contents from an openHPI course led by founder Prof. Hasso Plattner. In this course, Plattner introduced the new main memory database technology researched at HPI and developed with SAP. In the meantime, it has been honored with the German Innovation Award.

openHPI: Modeled on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC)

The new Internet educational platform www.openhpi.de at Hasso Plattner Institute for Software Systems Engineering at the University of Potsdam (HPI) offers free, open-access online courses to many participants. Unique worldwide, the courses concentrating on information technology and computer science are taught in German as well as English. openHPI follows the model of “Massive Open Online Courses” as they were first offered at Stanford University and then later at other elite universities in the United States.

In contrast to “traditional” lecture portals, courses at www.openhpi.de follow a fixed six to eight week time plan. A course is composed of a defined range of offers such as teaching videos, self-tests, regular homework and exam questions. These offers are combined with a social platform where participants can exchange experience with other participants as well as course supervisors. Here, they can also clarify questions and discuss further topics. The participants themselves decide on the nature and scope of their activities. They can make their own contributions to the course, for example in blog posts or tweets, which they can address in the forum. Other learners then have the chance to make a comment, discuss or expand on what has been said. Thus, learners, teachers and content become linked in a social learning network.  

Data on openHPI.de

The Institute launched www.openhpi.de in September 2012 with a course conducted by HPI founder and SAP co-founder Prof. Hasso Plattner in English. More than 15,000 enrolled in the course on the new In-Memory database technology. 2,132 participants received a certificate upon successfully passing the final exam at the end of October. The second online course, taught by HPI director Prof. Christoph Meinel, was offered in German and covered the technological functionality of the Internet. 11,000 took part in the course and 1,662 participants received a certificate attesting to their successful completion.   The third course on the subject of the semantic search in the Internet was held by senior researcher Dr. Harald Sack in English. There were approximately 5,900 course participants and 778 who received a certificate. The fourth course began on April 8th. Led by Prof. Felix Naumann of HPI, the six-week course in German was focused on the topic of ”Data Management with SQL.”

Profile of Hasso Plattner Institute

The Hasso Plattner Institute for Software Systems Engineering GmbH (HPI) in Potsdam is Germany’s university excellence center for IT Systems Engineering. It is the only university institution in Germany to offer a bachelor and master program in “IT Systems Engineering” – a practical and engineering-oriented course of studies in computer science, in which 450 students are currently enrolled. The HPI School of Design Thinking is Europe’s first innovation school and is based on the Stanford model of the d.school. It offers 240 places for a supplementary study per year. There are a total of ten HPI professors and a further 50 guest professors, lecturers and contract teachers at the Institute. HPI carries out research noted for its standard of excellence in its nine topic areas, as well as at the HPI Research School for PhD candidates, with its research branches in Cape Town, Haifa and Nanjing. HPI teaching and research focus on the foundation and application of large-scale, highly complex and interconnected IT systems. The development and exploration of user-driven innovations for all areas of life is an additional area of importance. HPI always earns the highest positions in the CHE university ranking.

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