Hotcourses, the United Kingdom’s largest publisher of guides to education, on Tuesday launched, a website for Indian students looking for courses in higher education institutes abroad.

Uniguru is the first website to use web 2.0 technologies to offer peer-to-peer advice on over 100,000 courses at 808 institutions in the U.K, the U.S., Singapore and Australia. The company will also launch a parallel site for domestic universities in India next year.

Uniguru will feature written posts, video diaries and photographs from existing students about aspects of their lives and studies, including the quality of the course, advice on visas, the weather, city life, accommodation and the cost of living. Prospective students will be able to create their own profiles and interact with existing students to find out the realities of life and study abroad beyond that covered in prospectuses.

Right of reply

The site, however, has mechanisms to filter out profanities and allows every university the right of reply to comments posted on the site. “This way,” said Mike Elms, Managing Director who was in Chennai for the launch, “we create a dialogue that reflects the collective wisdom of many.”

Developed in Chennai

The idea for the portal was generated, developed and executed by the Chennai division of Hotcourses, which opened in 2006 and provides the complex technology behind the U.K. government education sites Learndirect and EducationUK.

“India is not just an outsourcing operation for us,” said Jeremy Hunt, British Shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sports and one of the founders of Hotcourses, “Chennai has become a centre of creativity. We want to continue the free flow of ideas from the bottom up.”