Over 100 universities worldwide have joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in a conglomerate of schools promoting open courseware. Big names such as Johns Hopkins, Tufts and Notre Dame have also stepped in.
Almost all MIT courses are now available on the internet for free and its OpenCourseWare website gets over 1 million hits per month, and an additional 500,000 hits to the translated versions.
According to MIT, OpenCourseWear costs approx. $20,000 per course. The initiative was kicked off thanks to grants received from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. At present it is run through contributions from MIT’s budget and endowment along with visitor donations.
The Washington Post reported Steve Carson of MIT OpenCourseWare stating, “The idea was to have a broad impact on education worldwide and make a statement at a time when many schools were launching for-profit distance-learning ventures.”
The University of California, Berkeley is already on YouTube. American Universities are also hoping to get on “iTunes U” section. In addition, Yale also recently announced that it would make material from 7 well-known courses available online, with 30 more to follow.
But all the same the biggest difference between online and real courses is that one cannot get acknowledgment or earn a degree on free courseware.