Business - Written by Dan Herman on Thursday, October 4, 2007 9:34 - 1 Comment
Education 2.0 continued
Taking a page out of MIT’s OpenCourseWare book, UC Berkeley has not only opened up its academic materials to the world, but they’ve done it via video’s posted to YouTube. They’ve posted over 300 hours of academic lectures on YouTube allowing anyone and everyone to learn as if they were in the classroom.
From the press release, “UC Berkeley on YouTube will provide a public window into university life – academics, events and athletics – which will build on our rich tradition of open educational content for the larger community,” said Christina Maslach, UC Berkeley’s vice provost for undergraduate education.
MIT’s OpenCourseWare efforts and Berkeley’s previous podcast models were indeed good starts but providing the actual video of lectures is a significant step forward. And while it still doesn’t allow for the engagement that makes academia what it is, it’s a heck of an improvement over readings lists, course notes and audio recordings.
Moreover, imagine what this could do for developing country efforts to improve post-secondary education. One of the impacts of the international community’s push for universal primary, and at least semi-funded secondary education, has been a large increase in the number of students wishing to attend post-secondary institutions. But given that in many countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, meagre budgets are directed at primary, and then secondary, education, the post-secondary segment has seen its budgets slashed. For example, in the mid-80′s nearly a fifth of the World Bank’s education spending went to higher education whereas a decade later it had dropped to just 7%.
Projects such as this may just enable a re-invigoration of developing country colleges and universities, whether formally by institutions and governments or informally by students, by allowing for the exploitation of content developed elsewhere. Evidently it doesn’t solve the issue of ICT infrastructure but given the paucity of resources available in many DC institutions it might just act as a major complement for students wishing to learn and able to afford an internet cafe.
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