- News Home
5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
5 April 2001 7:00 pm
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced on 4 April that it plans to post materials for nearly all its courses on a free Web site in the next few years. Although it's not offering full-fledged online courses, MIT's move marks a departure from the frenzy among universities to make money from distance education.
The plan grew out of the faculty's "concern over the growing privatization of knowledge," says Patti Richards, spokesperson for the MIT OpenCourseWare project. Materials from most of the 2000 MIT courses--from assignments to tests and videotaped lectures--will be posted over the next 10 years, starting with about 500 courses in the fall of 2003. Professors at other schools will be able to download and use the content, as long as they don't attempt to sell it. You'll still have to weather frosty Boston winters to get that MIT diploma, however: The initiative will offer no online degrees or class credits.
So what does MIT get for its efforts, which could cost as much as $100 million that the university hopes to raise through private donations? The objective, says Richards, is to give students and teachers worldwide, particularly those in developing countries, access to educational resources they might never get otherwise. MIT electrical engineering professor Paul Penfield Jr. says most professors supported the plan at MIT, the campus that's home to the open source software movement.
MIT has made a bold statement in the debate about what information on the Internet should be free, says Stephen Ehrmann, vice president of the Teaching, Learning, and Technology Group, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that helps colleges assimilate technology into their curricula. "I hope other universities will find a cheaper way to do this," he says.