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Education The Internet

Carnegie Mellon Starts Offering Courses Online 156

OckNock writes "Carnegie Mellon is offering free courses through its Open Learning Initiative. Unlike MIT's OpenCourseWare which has 700 courses available, Carnegie Mellon currently only has five courses available. However, Carnegie Mellon is unique in that they offer '...courses [that] include a number of innovative online instructional components such as: cognitive tutors, virtual laboratories, group experiments, simulations,' so rather than just offering course material Carnegie Mellon is pursuing a more interactive, community approach. Carnegie Mellon is also unique in that they offer the courses as an Academic Version which '...is offered through educational institutions for credit awarded by the student's home institution.' Interestingly, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation funds both MIT's OpenCourseWare and Carnegie Mellon's Open Learning Initiative ('Funding for the Open Learning Initiative at Carnegie Mellon has been provided by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.') Sadly, the courses are not supported on any open source platforms or even any open source web browsers. More importantly, I'm curious how other universities will start making their courses available freely online."
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Carnegie Mellon Starts Offering Courses Online

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  • Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by deutschemonte ( 764566 ) <lane.montgomery@gmail . c om> on Saturday July 10, 2004 @06:29PM (#9663349) Homepage
    "More importantly, I'm curious how other universities will start making their courses available freely online."

    It's simple, they won't.
    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jabberjaw ( 683624 ) on Saturday July 10, 2004 @06:37PM (#9663385)
      Really? [google.com] Ok, so they may not be "courses" but professors in many fields have been putting their lecture notes online long before MIT's program was launched. It is rather trivial to find them.
      • Re:Well... (Score:3, Interesting)

        What I have noticed about online lecture notes where they are provided for the courses I have taken during my BA is that professors will usually make printed or online lecture content a contribution to - not by any means a complete summary of - lecture content in general. Video-taped lectures (which many veteran academics and lecturers oppose vehemently) are a separate phenomenon with separate implications. But with regard to online lecture notes, while each individual's experience will vary from institu
      • by toxf ( 751111 )
        Rice University in Houston, TX has started a new "Connexions" project [rice.edu]. The basic idea is that professors can post freely-available lectures, homework-sets, and eventually entire courses. In Rice's CS program, some professors teach their entire courses from Connexions. The materials are released under the Creative Commons license.
    • Re:Well... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nkh ( 750837 )
      Do they have courses? All my teachers follow a general path during a lesson, but they don't have written courses. Everything is in their head, and I would do the same if I had a C lesson to give.
      You don't rewrite the K&R every five minutes, if a student wants a full lesson, he can look in a book at the library. The problem comes from all those who can't have books for free.
    • What's the reasoning behind this? You work online, but what difference does it matter what browser I use or OS?

      Also, is it just open source browsers? So browsers such as Opera would be fine?

      What about OSX and Apple's browser? This should be a given since OSX is on top of Mach...which itself was developed at Carnegie-Mellon.

      I just checked their site on system requirements:

      Operating System

      * PC: Microsoft Windows 98, ME, 2000, or XP

      Web Browser

      * PC: Internet Explorer 6.0 with Service Pack 1 or newer, or Netscape Navigator 7.02 or newer


      Interesting. I tested my system, which is Linux running Firefox. Everything passed except for only it not being on Windows nor IE/Netscape 7.

      Oh well...
      • SO far, Mozilla 1.4 is working fine. Haven't checked out an entire course yet though.
      • Did you actually send them this feedback, or are you just complaining to the rest of us without doing anything about it?
      • What's more, they require Shockwave which is apparently unavailable without the Crossover plugin, whatever that. I guess I'll just have to die not knowing about causal reasoning.
      • by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @09:55AM (#9666227)
        Thank you for your interest in our project and for your suggestions. Each
        of the OLI courses has a different set of browser and operating system
        requirements. In general, only the Java and Flash, plug-ins are required
        for all the courses and Director plug-in is required for The Causal
        Reasoning Course. All of the courses have been tested against IE, Netscape,
        Mozilla and Firefox. With few exceptions (e.g. a statistic tutor which only
        runs from IE) the courses can be accessed from an open source platform
        using Mozilla / Firefox.

        The 'Test and Configure' pages, at present, do not reflect this fact. The
        configuration instructions were designed to aid the majority of users,
        greater than 90% of which are accessing the courses from Windows. The
        instructions were our attempt to keep technical instructions simple for
        many users who are intimidated by too many options in technical
        requirements. We are looking at updating the test and configure pages to
        better communicate with users who are using a greater variety of browsers
        and Operating Systems.

        We invite you to become part of our user testing community by using the
        courses on your configuration and letting us know what works and what
        doesn't and we will post the information and attempt to make the courses as
        compatible with as many configurations as possible.

        As an aside, the software behind the OLI project (with few exceptions) was
        built from and runs using Open Source software. Many of the content authors
        also use open source tools (emacs, ant, xalan, xerces, etc.)

        Kind Regards,
        Candace Thille

        Project Director
        Open Learning Initiative
        Carnegie Mellon University
    • Brigham Young University [byu.edu] in Provo, UT has online courses, albeit, they aren't free, but the courses are avaliable. Additionally, the available courses aren't limited to upper level courses, many of them are generals, so students can take them at their leisure.
  • Credit? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wmspringer ( 569211 ) on Saturday July 10, 2004 @06:29PM (#9663356) Homepage Journal
    hmm...so does your university have to pick this up before you can get credit for it? I supposed it would be too much to hope for to be able to take classes for credit, for free..
    • Re:Credit? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by karniv0re ( 746499 )
      Really, I would care less about credit, especially if I was taking it for free. Isn't it enough to receive course material for free? Personally, I love college, and not just the "college" aspect of it (though that's great too) but the learning aspect of it.

      I always hated high school, but for some reason, when I got to college, lerning became fun! Holy hell, if my past self heard my present self, I would be kicking my ass, but it's true.

      Something like this where I could go online and take a course, lei
      • Really, I would care less about credit, especially if I was taking it for free. Isn't it enough to receive course material for free? Personally, I love college, and not just the "college" aspect of it (though that's great too) but the learning aspect of it.

        Well, I like the learning, but the thing is that I get a raise when I complete another degree, so getting credit is good ;-)

        Learning on its own is great, but learning and getting money for it...even better! ;-)
    • Who cares about getting credit? I've got a whole inbox full of institutions willing to grant me degrees!
    • Well, all that work in High School that I did to try to get into Carnegie Mellon (I will be there in the fall) apparently was wasted, since I could have taken the courses online. And to think that I could have spent the last four years playing "nethack". Oh, well, if any of you other slashdoters will be in in Pittsburgh this August, drop me a line or send an e-mail (bohan lon @ andrew . cm u.ed u (remove spaces, duh)). $42,000 down the proverbial drain.
  • So would this be better than Phoenix Online? I honestly wonder if employers consider the online school a joke. Ive always wanted to take some online course but the cost has always been the same as going to the school. They should realize that the majority who would take IT related courses would work with other browers than IE, and for that matter I didnt see if it works on any MAC browers, would be fun though. I think I have learned more on slashdot than any school could teach (grin) +5 for using OldSkool I
    • I take courses online. I started at my local community college that does SOME courses and now go to Strayer. While most of them say they only do IE I've had no problems with Safari or FireFox.

      I love my online classes. Most schools charge you the same as if you physically go, but I hate going to class. It's very hard to work all day and then be expected to show up at 6:30 across town. Also, community colleges get paid by attendance so you are REQUIRED to be there. I get paged in to work enough that I
    • Re:Better? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by trifakir ( 792534 )
      Online courses are something good for those who can not attend real classes. But school is not only to give you knowledge. It is also networking -- you meet teachers, fellow students, you eat in the canteen and discuss slashdot.

      What is more important, real attendance to school teaches you discipline, something that I believe is difficult to get via Internet. I wonder if the last thing is good or not.

      • Re:Better? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by IEEEmember ( 610961 )
        I have had exposure to online courses that were simple replacements for courses offered on videotape and courses that included pupil-teacher and pupil-pupil interaction that facilitated the type of networking available in traditional courses.

        Especially for those who work at traditional jobs and are unable to attend physical classes, as well as those of us whose skill sets and geographical dispersal are familiar with networking in nontraditional ways, a well architected online course can accomplish those non

    • Re:Better? (Score:2, Informative)

      by SageMusings ( 463344 )
      A Joke?

      My undergrad degree was with the University of Maryland while my graduate degree was from the University of Phoenix. How do I compare the two?

      Well the UOP cost quite a bit more at $1500 per class. However, the degree was a gift to myself and my goals were a little different from my BS, where I was just trying to get my foot in the door for a decent job. The UOP classes were smaller, allowing me to actually interact with the faculty. What's more, I noticed no difference in the quality of instruc
    • I agree. Any school that wouldn't build an online course to standards, especially a technical course, doesn't deserve my consideration.
  • by herrvinny ( 698679 ) on Saturday July 10, 2004 @06:34PM (#9663377)
    Apply Now for Summer Faculty Workshops 2004

    Our free Summer workshops are scheduled for June 28-30 and July 7-9. Application deadline is April 29. Fellowships and travel stipend are available. The workshops are intended both to support instructors in using the online courses and to have participants inform the ongoing development of the courses.


    Anyone have a time machine handy? Anyone?

    On a serious note, this is definitely an interesting thing. I wouldn't mind getting some extra Chemistry credits (student, U of Wisc @ Madison)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 10, 2004 @06:36PM (#9663381)
    They're currently fine tuning the online beer bong simulator so they can offer as complete an experience online as off.
  • Other universities (Score:5, Informative)

    by stroustrup ( 712004 ) on Saturday July 10, 2004 @06:38PM (#9663389) Journal
    More importantly, I'm curious how other universities will start making their courses available freely online

    Virginia Tech CS department [vt.edu] has most of the course material availabe for download online. Some courses even have audio streams with them. Best site for CS students everywhere.
    • Perhaps they could advertiser support it. A chance for all to learn, sponsored by... advertisers. Works on Slashdot.
    • Rice University started creating new course material for their Electrical Engineering department five or six years ago. Their Connexions Project [rice.edu] now seems to be used for a few courses [rice.edu] from half a dozen other colleges as well. If you start flipping through the content, keep in mind you'll need the MathML fonts for Mozilla or a MathML plugin for IE; otherwise many of the pages are going to render hideously or incompletely.
    • I followed the link to the VT CS site, but any time I clicked on a link to an actual assignment or lecture notes, I received 403 Forbidden.

      Consider this page [vt.edu], which yields that.

      Any ideas why?

  • by Lawrence_Bird ( 67278 ) on Saturday July 10, 2004 @06:41PM (#9663409) Homepage
    Most of the class have at best course outlines and HW problems. Very few have lecture notes, very few have solutions to problems. Its like, whats the point?
    • by nkh ( 750837 )
      It's good not to have solutions! I'm reading the algorithms book from Ron Rivest, and without the solutions, I have to think really deeper and I enjoy it more when I solve an exercise. And you've got a prize for each solution found: the enjoyment of writing the algorithm in your favourite language!
    • The point is course-ware: stuff to use in your own course. It provides a guideline for other academics to quickly build a course on the same topic without starting from scratch.

      I don't think it's particularly useful for the typical student, but I suspect a syllabus that "works" and a set of problems can be very helpful to a teacher preparing a given course for the first time.

      As a resource for self-study, it's just an extra source of materials, like Ars Digita or your local library.

      I agree that the qualit
    • actually judging from the attendance at some of my math lectures in berkeley, that might be all you need to learn some subjects.

      many cs majors ditch their classes too..only doing the homework and taking tests/doing projects. it may be closer to the "real college experience" than you think. if you want answers, get a solutions guide..
      • I've been out of school (even grad school) for a few years now, and I of course bagged my share of classes in order to either drink beer or recover from drinking beer. But I rarely blew off class just for the heck of it. That was especially true in grad school where I was paying every penny out of my own pocket. I still pick up the occasional quantum or hep text, and while I can sift through most of it, its just not the same as having somebody that (hopefullY) knows the subject work through it vocally for y
    • More to the point, MIT doesn't offer free downloadable textbooks, or even links to someplace where you can buy this year's overpriced monopoly-college-bookstore-scam textbooks online. They have a list of texts, and it is up to you to go and try to find them.
      • What, you're willing to spend many hours learning the material but you can't spend 30 seconds searching for a book on amazon.com? Also, if you're self-studying you can probably get away with using an old edition, which will be available cheap. Publishers' unnecessary textbook upgrade treadmill makes Microsoft look like saints.
  • Pilot Courses (Score:2, Insightful)

    by IEEEmember ( 610961 )
    It appears to me that they are simply beta testing these courses on an unsuspecting public. "Available Now: Pilot version of CSR course including Current content, Case studies and Causality Lab 1.0 Available Summer 2004: Pilot version of CSR updated with improved navigation, interactive pseudo tutors and Causality Lab 2.0 which includes a causal model exercise builder." Available Fall 2004: Actual version of CSR updated with payment module accepting PayPal and Credit Cards.
  • by Saeed al-Sahaf ( 665390 ) on Saturday July 10, 2004 @06:52PM (#9663444) Homepage
    Ya know, learning for learning is fine as far as it goes. But if it doesn't come with credit for a degree, the bookstore is just as good.
    • What I hope the next step is that schools start using these on-line courses to award credit. It seems to me that everything is in place, and works without very much cost, or at least less cost than going to a classroom (if they can put the class notes on the web for free, how much more would it cost to add some test and record the scores?). It would be a great public service for people stuck in low paying jobs to be able to take some for_credit classes, without the pressure of having to go to a class with m
      • My main jab at these "open schools" is the credit for study issue. Obviously, there is benefit from having input such as syllabus and lecture notes, these are things that you just don't get in a heavily edited book. But really: If your going to put all that work into doing the class work, why would you NOT want credit for it? Yes, yes, yes, it's sad that we have to quantify persons worth by how many and what kind of degrees they have, this is a reality. Sure there is personal satisfaction in learning someth
    • The bookstore is good, but there is also a wealth of direction one can find from course syllabi or online lecture notes. If I wanted to study business, I would search out 'introduction to business' syllabi to get a quick summation of what's taught in the course and some book suggestions. Heck, I even use some of the assignments professors require as personal learning projects.

      I may be a strange one, but it helps me to have a structured learning environment when I know nothing about a topic.
  • by Capt'n Hector ( 650760 ) on Saturday July 10, 2004 @06:59PM (#9663463)
    A few years ago, I took a course (Astro 10) at UC Berkeley that had ~900 students. The largest lecture hall holds 300. The solution was to provide videos of the lectures online, both streaming and archived. We were urged NOT to come to lecture, and instead view them online. These were a great resource in not only studying for tests, but also for casual learning. I pointed a few friends and relatives of mine to these online lectures as a great way to learn about astronomy.

    I hope this is done more often, not with lecture notes or online material - it's useless. Live lectures however are not. Universities sell degrees, not educations. It would be easy to provide such resources to the general public; it could be a recruiting tool, advertising, etc. Since you're not going to get a degree no matter how many courses you watch online, it doesn't cheapen what the university offers for a *ahem* small fee.

  • Webcasts (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 10, 2004 @07:04PM (#9663485)
    Quite a number of really excellent courses are already freely available, even if they don't have as much publicity as MIT's OCW.

    For example: (there are many more)

    Berkeley (Webcasts)
    http://webcast.berkeley.edu/courses/in dex.html

    University of Washington:
    http://www.uwtv.org/programs/title.as p
  • Confused (Score:1, Informative)

    by karniv0re ( 746499 )
    Looking through it, I'm failing to see where open source browsers can not view the contents. Was the submitter referring to the Shockwave player? Cause, uh... It's working fine in Firefox.
  • Are any of these courses degree status?
  • Requirements (Score:1, Redundant)

    by miketang16 ( 585602 ) *
    Everything seems to work fine for me. I'm using Mozilla Firefox in Linux. I don't get the MS Windows/IE 6 requirements. Oh well.. whatever.. not like I've ever listened to system req's before...
  • If this becomes common place, why would one spend tons of money going to the college or university if they can just teach themselves via free online coirse materials?

    Going to classes for material that I can better teach myself has kept me from going back to college in the first place.

    I guess more people still feel better going to classes to learn than just teaching themselves the material.

    • You don't get a degree from the online materials, getting a degree from MIT carries much more wait with employers than saying you read lesson notes and such online.
      • I know it's not a directly the same but knowledge is knowledge whether you learn it in a classroom or the working world. Doesn't work experience and actual application of knowledge whether learned online or in the classroom make any employeer happy?
        • I know it's not a directly the same but knowledge is knowledge whether you learn it in a classroom or the working world. Doesn't work experience and actual application of knowledge whether learned online or in the classroom make any employeer happy?


          The degree is what economists call a "signal" - it provides a prosepctive employer with valuable information, and at a negligible cost. The University admission has acted as a prescreen, saying this person meets some minimal qualifications. The degree says t
  • Monumental (Score:4, Interesting)

    by XMichael ( 563651 ) on Saturday July 10, 2004 @07:31PM (#9663578) Homepage Journal
    Perhaps I'm a bit of an idealist, but I feel this is a monumental break through in our society. This could very well be one of the major turning points; when education becomes a life long venture for more than just an elite few. Almost something of a trendy, and accessible thing to do, like Yoga or Salsa Lessons. Perhaps people consider the ease of options and prestigue a good combination, and people evolve there education patterns to a continue cycle..

    Sure beats the "norm" of High school -> College / University -> Job.

    It would be excellent to see this pattern break.
    Priceless Photos [pricelessphotos.org] | Complete CCTV Security Cameras [completecctv.com]
    • I agree with you that the "conveyor belt education" concept is not working out for a lot of people.

      but you have to consider that many many students go university because it's expected of them. because it will get them a better job, etc. education is already widely accessible (see your local community college) but there's still the idea of a college graduation requirement for most good jobs...
  • by jwnichls ( 81199 ) on Saturday July 10, 2004 @07:33PM (#9663581)
    I think a lot of posters here are hung on thinking that online learning == lecture notes, webcasts, and other non-interactive material. This project seems to be going a lot further... They're providing interactive cognitive tutors that are based on solid research into how people learn.

    Unlike all of the projects that have been mentioned in this forum, the purpose of providing online courses here is not just to make the information available but to do research on how people learn.
  • Press [Test your system [cmu.edu]] and get (if you are a normal ./tter)

    Is my operating system supported? NO
    Is my web browser supported? NO
    ...

  • Checked out the statistics course - OS requirement is Windows. Oh well, I'll just have to remain an ignorant Fedora user.

  • from the inside... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by feelyoda ( 622366 ) on Saturday July 10, 2004 @07:50PM (#9663643) Homepage
    My fiance graduated from CMU, from their masters in Human Computer Interaction. She researched intelligent tutors for a while. They can make things better than 1-on-1 tutors.

    The guy funding both projects from CMU & MIT, was far more impressed with CMU's program. It isn't about just lobbing material on the web; it's about teaching people.

    So in this case, look for quality and not quantity.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 10, 2004 @07:54PM (#9663653)
    Slashdot,

    Each of the OLI courses has a different set of browser and operating system requirements. In general, only the Java, Flash, and Director plug-ins are required. All of the courses have been tested against IE and Mozilla (Netscape, Firefox, etc...). With few exceptions (e.g. a statistic tutor which only runs from IE) the courses can be accessed from an open source platform using Mozilla / Firefox.

    The 'Test and Configure' pages, at present, do not reflect this fact. The configuration instructions were designed to aid the majority of users, greater than 90% of which are accessing the courses from Windows.

    As an aside, the software behind the OLI project (with few exceptions) was built from and runs using Open Source software. Many of the content authors also use open source tools (emacs, ant, xalan, xerces, etc.)

  • by The Mentalist ( 795789 ) on Saturday July 10, 2004 @08:20PM (#9663722)
    next to nothing. The problem is that we are proliferating our knowledge freely and that means that the value of our knowledge is worth very little since everyone now has an access to it. If I were going to CMU or MIT I'd be really pissed that someone is getting the same education as me but they're not paying $20K a year.

    This is why Indians and Chinese have caught up with us and have managed to increase the supply of well educated people who will work for next to nothing.

    Just great... for large corporations. We'll continue working for less and less... what's the base salary for a programmer now? $40K?

    • Stop whining (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 10, 2004 @08:35PM (#9663781)
      Humans have been sharing their knowledge ever since they showed each other how to start fires, how Greeks scientists would hold free lectures in their halls, since friends taught each other how to skateboard, shoot slingshots, and play basketballs, and even here on the Internet where people are free to share their unique knowledge to benefit the good of society.

      What you advocate is the restriction of knowledge where only an elite few is allowed to know how to do something.. Sorta like returning to the days of pre-renaissance society where only elite church members were given the courses in reading and writing. Everyone else was forced through their own igorance to be subserviant to the elite.

      People are going to have to cope with the fact that there are plenty of people who are not in our country who can become just as bright as we are and do it asking for much less money. Is this bad for us? Yes. But like every economic crisis that hits our country, we have managed to find some way to innovate and come out ahead.

      Have you ever thought of finding some way to bring your self ahead of the pack? Have you considered pursuing knowledge in a different field?

      I don't like what is happening to our jobs either, but I would take a lost job over your concept of restricting knowledge any day.
      • Re:Stop whining (Score:4, Insightful)

        by The Mentalist ( 795789 ) on Saturday July 10, 2004 @09:39PM (#9663980)
        Since we, as computer scientists, do not have any kind of licensing and anyone can start programming, we are at a disadvantage. Most other professions (including engineering) do have licensing boards and they restrict the number of licensed people which means that they are able to increase their pay.

        "But like every economic crisis that hits our country, we have managed to find some way to innovate and come out ahead."

        We will all stop being programmers... just like offshoring has now decimated the number of jobs in hi-tech, this type of knowledge free-for-all will devalue our jobs even further. Don't be fooled by the maxim "we will innovate". Sure, innovation will continue but it will not continue at the same pace.

        "Have you ever thought of finding some way to bring your self ahead of the pack? Have you considered pursuing knowledge in a different field?"

        I guess that's what we'll all have to do. Medical doctors will ALWAYS be paid well since they restrict the number of students and make sure you're licensed to practice medicine. We will all be replaced by cheap labor overseas... we're training them now anyway to take our jobs away.
        • Well, as an engineer, i know that most are not required to have a license to work. I am not sure, but I believe that is only in civil engineering because it is believed they can effect peoples well being more than other engineers (not sure why).
        • Since we, as computer scientists, do not have any kind of licensing and anyone can start programming, we are at a disadvantage. Most other professions (including engineering) do have licensing boards and they restrict the number of licensed people which means that they are able to increase their pay.

          As an engineer, I find several errors in your statement. First, very few engineers need to be licensed to practice their craft - most employeers I've worked for or with didn't care if you were a PE. That is
    • Well, free education doesn't lower the value of the degree, as it's a certificate that you really know what you are doing. Here in finland education is free all the way (the schools are funded by tax) and I'm currently studying at Helsinki University of Technics, and the governament is giving us students all kinds of benefits so it is more like the governament is paying us to study...
      Even with this and the fact that with most of the lecture anyone can walk in as there is almost no control about it.
    • The problem is that we are proliferating our knowledge freely and that means that the value of our knowledge is worth very little since everyone now has an access to it.

      All the information is in libraries and bookstores. If you want the information, a college bookstore will sell books to non-students, and even the notes for many subjects are available online, even outside stuff like this. But people who really understand the material are few and hard to find, and all the availability in the world isn't go
    • by Anonymous Coward
      As someone who is paying CMU's $40K/yr cost ($20K? I wish!), I have to say that I'm very glad that CMU is doing this - it is because of open access to information that I realized I wanted to be a CS major, and having access to all sorts of resources has helped me a lot here. Classes aren't everything, and information is a very small part of what I'm paying for. I'm paying to have it presented to me well; I'm paying to have advisors who will suggest what I should be learning; I'm paying for professors who wi
  • This isn't meant as a criticism of this program, nor of MIT's, but the institutional push towards online courses is generally in the direction of making professors redundant.

    At PSU, where I did my Ph.D., professors were being "invited" to develop entire courses to be offered over the Internet. They would receive course development funds, extra graduate teaching assistants, and in some cases research assistants. Sounds great, right?

    What wasn't entirely clear (unless you read the fine print), was that o

    • Universities are in the knowledge business. Delivering lectures is a small part of what a professor does, especially in a top university. For that matter, "the curriculum" is a small part of the value of a university education.

      The university provides an environment in which smart people have the opportunity to interact with other smart people. A professor's main role is to create new knowledge and, by example, to encourage students to acquire and create knowledge, using as resources their professors, t

      • Professors in general are glad of being relieved of routine lecturing.

        The issue is their being relieved of their intellectual property, not to mention their jobs, which would also deprive them of all the other benefits of the university environment that you mention. Professors who take knowledge seriously may well be keen on sharing it, but what's happening here is more like alienation: forced "sharing" is no sharing at all.

    • The professors aren't sweating it. In fact, if this system replaced their classes altogether, almost none would complain.

      The vast, vast majority of professors are employed by the university to do research. Teaching is an unfortunate but necessary annoyance.
  • I was wondering why the hell OLI supported Netscape but not Firefox, so I decided to see what happened when I tried to use one of the courses. I went to Economics, and then the page to test for compatibility, and was told everything was good except for my choice in browser. When I went to see what would happen if I tried to use the course anyway (by hitting back on my browser to get to the TOC) Firefox lost its ability to talk to the internet. I Alt+F4'ed to close it, and then when reopening found that
  • by StupendousMan ( 69768 ) on Saturday July 10, 2004 @09:22PM (#9663909) Homepage

    I teach physics and astronomy courses at RIT. All my lecture notes are freely available to anyone. Look at

    http://spiff.rit.edu/classes/ [rit.edu]

    Enjoy.

  • I guess the online courses are good for woring people. However I don't think one should substitute a college experience (undergrad or grad) if they can afford to go to school. Access to facilities (including access to the large aomount of literature), the competitive environment and chance to interact with faculty are invaluable. Most Universities have accounts with a lot of technical Journals and one get access to numerous publications for free. Also it is difficult to come up with research ideas when you
  • The link posted here: http://www.cmu.edu/ does not work, however http://cmu.edu/ [cmu.edu] does.
  • OK, slightly OT:

    Is there any OS content management / creation systems available? Having one would help bring content online, if only beacuse soemone would avoid teh steep fees for licenses.

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