Want to know something cool?

One point of view, taking note of sundry "cool" things that affect-- or could affect-- the education business.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

"Only in California ... " Now Available Everywhere!!

Want to know something cool? YOU can go to Stanford! Well, really anybody can go to Stanford, it's the school that's been so exclusive. But now, you can literally take Stanford classes, absolutely free. That's right: The state that brought us free love and Free Willy now offers free downloads.

Do you have iTunes installed on your computer? You can literally subscribe--free!-- to podcasts of lectures, speeches, and other Stanford events-- did I mention that it's free?-- through the iTunes Music Store (iTMS). From the inception of the program in October of 2005, through January of 2006, more than 150,000 downloads have taken place.

Lots of schools have started podcasting lectures and class discussions; integrating mp3 players into course work has become fairly common. But only in the Land of Fruits and Nuts can a world-class education come for the low low price of ... nothing. Most schools restrict the distribution of content to password-purchasing matriculators who have forked over their tuition. Not Stanford. There, you pay only for the bandwidth to download the files. Heck, go to the library and download them there, free. Transfer them to your (not free) iPod or nano or (less sexy) personal media device, and bang: you're a Stanford student.

From environmental science to mental health to the Stanford-versus-Berkeley football game, you can get it through iTunes. And it's-- let's be clear about this-- it's FREE. One could argue that Stanford has devalued the degrees earned by the class of 2005, or take the other, glass-half-full position: "this saves me thirty grand!"

The real news article, featured in Forbes, is available <here> as of this posting.

Cool, huh?

How will it shake out? Comment this blog, and let's see where the conversation leads.
For great news, views, and resources for educators, check out The Balance Sheet p
ublished by South-Western, a Thomson company. Trusted news for educators for several decades, several miles ahead.


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