I am also a big fan of open-source internet tools (FREE online tools). When someone suggests using a password to access websites and blogs - I bristle. After all, they are then suggesting that we "limit" knowledge/information/learning. Education then becomes an elitist activity available primarily to those who can "afford" it.
I am pleased to know that many top-shelf universities share my view of learning and think that it should be available to EVERYONE - whether they attend the institution or not - and are now offering free online courses for interested parties (this is right up my alley). ;-)
Many universities already provide online classes (e-learning/distance learning/blended learning) for degree programs. Isn't it just a given that non-matriculated cyber-students should be able to pursue an interest in an organized way using these resources? Afterall it doesn't "cost" the university a cent since the courses are already online! The Open University in the UK is a great example. They have a new program called Open Learn that allows one to access courses and resources online for FREE.
Yes, for free. Are they crazy? Why would they do that? It makes perfect sense. The courses were initally uploaded for e-learning students who ARE paying students of the Open University and in the process of earning a degree. Cyber-students are welcome to use these resources but don't earn a degree unless they matriculate. It's as simple as that. In addition, it's great advertising for the Open University. Everybody wins!
According to Yahoo! finance, other well-known universities are also offering open-source learning for all interested parties. In an article entitled Fabulous Freebies by Erin Burt (Wednesday, August 1, 2007),
"FREE COLLEGE COURSESHooray, keep a look-out for my upcoming FREE online courses held in Knowplace.
Colleges and universities worldwide are posting
course materials on the Internet, including the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Law School. You won't get
credit toward a degree, but you can pursue an interest or sharpen your
Remember, the more you give, the more you receive.