The power of Web 2.0 combined with the idealism of the Open Source software movement is delivering some remarkable educational opportunities to any person on Earth with internet access.
Most universities are now publishing lectures, presentations, and other materials for free and open use by anyone.
And a growing list of universities are joining the Open Courseware Consortium (OCW). The OCW mission is to digitize and make freely available entire courses.
Here are some examples of what is available now:
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a leader in the OCW movement. MIT has made virtually its entire undergraduate course catalog available for viewing and downloading. There now is a new section devoted to high school teachers and students interested in using MIT courseware.
The UK’s Open University system – a leader in distance education going back to radio – has made a tremendous library of courseware freely available to anyone
Podcasts of university lectures and course materials are freely available all over the web. Apple recently launched ‘iTunes U‘ where hundreds of colleges and universities are now posting presentations, performances, lectures, demonstrations, debates, tours, and archival footage.
Many universities are hosting their own podcast archives. UC-Berkeley has an extensive library of lectures and course materials freely available as podcasts and webcasts.
You can virtually attend guest lectures and symposiums at a Princeton University site named ‘UChannel’ that hosts a ‘collection of public affairs lectures, panels and events from academic institutions all over the world — for you to view, listen to, stream or download.’
Yale University recently launched its free, online archive of popular undergraduate courses — including not only syllabi, problem sets and course materials, but videos and audio files of the lectures themselves.
Click here to read a related NYT article.