Chicago (IL) - A new EDU channel on YouTube is being populated by more than 100 schools, including Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Yale and UC Berkeley. Most of them have partnered up to provide relevant school-specific information, such as virtual campus tours and promotional material. However, the channel is creating a buzz that maybe it's time for universities to begin offering digital copies of their classes online, so that those without money for college can still get an education.
According to Obadiah Greenberg, YouTube's strategic partnership manager, "There's a huge appetite around the world for people to better themselves, to study subjects that they either never got a chance to or haven't studied in a while".
This trend has been in place for a while. While the physical costs of attending a university are often outrageous (many are saddled with well over $100,000 in school loans for a four-year degree), universities like MIT have launched their OpenCourseWare program to make most (if not all) of the university's courses available online for free. And now that idea has grown, extending beyond MIT's walls and into the land of YouTube.
While universities are not quite ready to open their doors in this way just yet (money), the reality is the information age has changed the world and they may soon be forced to. We have technologies available today which were not even conceivable 10 years ago, such as an infrastructure necessary to pipe live or streamed on-demand video of every college course available anywhere directly into people's homes. And, once the course is recorded, it is thereafter available forever.
It's all thanks to advances in hard drives (perpendicular storage) which have increased their capacity to the point where an entire year's worth of university data could be held permanently for only a few thousand dollars. Equally amazing advances in fiber optics communications, the worldwide web's high-speed routing facilities, and the generally available broadband Internet access which will only increase over time as the stimulus package money is spent, make it a type of perfect storm for the endeavor.
The hall is rented, the orchestra engaged ... it's now time to see if the universities want to dance. Do you think they'll have any interest in providing all of their classes for free -- even when the technology exists this very day to make it possible?
Personally, I believe that they must do this. To not do it, in my view, is hoarding, and due to the extent of its possible advancement of mankind, it seems also flatly criminal to withhold access to this kind of knowledge when the technology exists to make it possible.
See the original AP article republished on Yahoo Finance.