Jokes apart, this is a very interesting and exciting move in the field of education. MIT set the stage a few years back by making its course content available on the web. This move by UC Berkeley is the next big step in the proliferation of educational content on the web. It does however raise some interesting questions.
- Are faculty members signed up to teach a class or to teach the world at large?
- How do faculty members feel about their relatively private classrooms being broadcast to the world?
- Are other universities going to follow suit?
- Is Education going to be the next big use for Youtube?
- Do student get to see videos of Prof. before the decide to sign up for a class?
- Is teaching going to become more of a sales pitch?
- Are we going to see competing lectures on the same topic from different universities?
- What is in it for the university? Are they trying to educate the world from the goodness of their heart or simply marketing their services!
Interestingly enough, there was article in the NY Times talking about how ABC news is design programs for the Web. The Press, Educational institutions and others are grappling with the best possible approach to leverage the relatively new medium while still making it commercially viable. Unfortunately, the target audience is "spoilt" on free content. After the hype and bust of the dotcomm days it sure sounds like a second coming of the Internet in various forms and shapes.