The entire catalogue of information from 1,800 courses at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will be available free online by the end of the year. Once uploaded, it will represent one of the internet’s most important resources.
Seriously, though, this is quite a boon. The site contains syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, reading lists, and sometimes even videos of lectures. It doesn’t mean that students in Kansas can get an MIT education from a computer, but it does mean that teachers in Kenya can teach using an MIT-level curriculum and materials.
MIT started the site in 2001 as a pilot program, but at the time all the talk was about how to charge students for distance learning and restrict materials to those who paid. Now the materials are being licensed under Creative Commons, and MIT is presenting them as a gift to be shared instead of a revenue source.
Now to find a few month-long chunks of free time in which to actually use these gifts…