Tuesday, March 06, 2007

the free university

I remember reading about this a couple years ago, and wondering if it would make an impact. It has: colleges all over the country are offering course materials, lectures, notes, and other information online. For free.
MIT's pioneering "OpenCourseWare" program, which was launched in 2003, posts the syllabus and class notes for more than 1,500 courses online for anyone who wants them. By this November, it aims to publish materials from virtually all 1,800 of its courses across all its schools.

Starting last fall, the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, began offering eight courses, from Introduction to Philosophy to African American History, and including everything from class plans, links to required readings, lecture notes and homework assignments. The school aims to increase the number of classes offered online to 30 courses over the next two years.

Yale University, meanwhile, has announced it will produce digital videos of undergraduate lecture classes and make them available free to the public. This academic year, it is taping seven classes--from Introduction to the Old Testament to Fundamentals of Physics--to be posted online this fall.

Some smaller liberal-arts schools are following suit. Bryn Mawr College, a women's school in Pennsylvania, is in the process of selecting course materials to post online, free to the public, beginning this summer. It plans to include classes ranging from psychology and physics to one on the history of Philadelphia.
You won't get the one-on-one interaction, and, more important, the prestigious piece of paper just from your electronic autodidacticism. But still, this form of open-source education is too, too cool.

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