The MIT OpenCourseWare web site debuted this morning.
I think this is great for MIT and hope more universities follow suit. Prospective students to the univesity can get an excellent idea of just what the courses are about, colleagues can critique each other’s course structure or borrow resources and methods, and the Internet public can use them as a resource and refernce that is strongly branded as MIT.
But might they not get as many students if they give away all this information? Why become a formal university student when you can get the knowledge on their web site? Well, you can only truly get the knowledge by interacting with the professor and other studnets via the course. Also, a degree from MIT still looks better than ‘I read all the MIT course notes online’.
MIT wants butts in lecture seats and lab rooms to generate revenue. Giving away this course information will draw more students than they might have had otherwise while improving their teaching and research.