Technology and Social Change: How about free education?

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I wonder: Is the Internet removing or reducing the barriers to education, and making it a more egaliterian institution? For example, I heard some time ago that Yale and other colleges are making podcast and/or video lectures available for free over the internet.

I did a quick search and found these two posts from the Whatis.com blog (oops…corrected the website address).

The Massive Resource List for All Autodidacts

Jimmy Ruska has created an outstanding index of free online educational resources, which he’s called the Massive Resource List for All Autodidacts.

An autodidact, in case you’re wondering, is a self-directed learner. Wikipedia has an index of different different autodidacts in different countries.

Jimmy’s selections, which include courses, educational podcasts and much more, make it easier for all of the autodidacts out there to excel in self-directed learning.

Jimmy also has created a “Best of the Internet Today” page, similar to popurls.com, and a blog that focuses on rating online video.

And the other post:

Free online courses from the Ivy League

Yale University has announced that it is offering publicly-accessible digital videos of several courses on the Internet for free. While the courses can’t be counted towards a Yale degree, Yale did gain the distinction of being the first member of the Ivy League to focus on video lectures. Princeton and Harvard Law School have already made course materials available for free online, even offering virtual courses in Second Life. MIT, while not an Ivy, has taken the step of making all of its courses freely available to netizens.

Yale’s pilot project features seven courses, all beginning in the 2007 academic year. Examples are “Introduction to the Old Testament,” “Fundamentals of Physics” and “Introduction to Political Philosophy.” Transcripts, rendered in several languages, are available for download. This PDF describes the program in more detail.

Amazing stuff!! Can you imagine the day where companies won’t care so much as to what college you “attended” but what knowledge you have? What if a poor man in a third world country could get access to free Internet–Perhaps at a public library, a non-profit internet cafe, or something of that nature–and complete an equivalent of 4 years of college? We would need a way to make it measurable.

Well, I just discovered the TeachingAmericanhistory.org podcast page and that’s what got me started on this line of thinking.

The Teaching American History podcast will provide subscribers with a weekly seminar from a leading history scholar from our extensive audio archive. These seminars are designed to encourage teachers to seriously examine significant events in American history in light of the principles of the American founding, and also to encourage the use of primary source materials in the classroom.

You can subscribe to their podcast right here.

With this post, I am starting a new blog category on the lower right hand navigation list. I’m calling it “Social Change” and I will publish posts to that folder that relate to technology that is having a positive social change or impact in society.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Alex Howard says:

    Josue, MIT is also making its courses available online now — for free.

    Amazing, to be sure.

    One note — you found the above on the WhatIs.com blog, not the WhoIs.com blog. We’re in charge of defining IT terms and concepts, not keeping track of DNS information.

    🙂

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