Rather than releasing educational material into free online repositories, some colleges and universities have embraced open content as a “social responsibility,” according to the 2010 Horizon Report, released in January by education technology advocacy group EDUCAUSE and the New Media Consortium. The report describes technological changes that will have the greatest impact on college students and faculty.
The rising popularity of open-content programs is “a response to the rising costs of education, the desire for access to learning in areas where such access is difficult, and an expression of student choice about when and how to learn,” according to the Horizon Report.
Institutions such as Tufts University have launched open courseware initiatives in the past year. Tufts makes all learning material available online for free. The free program doesn’t require registration, and completing the classes doesn’t contribute to a college degree.
Other online course libraries include San Francisco-based Academic Earth–a for-profit site, unlike Einztein–which launched in January 2009 with more than 1,600 video lectures. The site, run by 24-year-old Richard Ludlow, a 2007 Yale University graduate, reported more than 100,000 visitors in its first two weeks online.
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