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Free Online University

Web entrepreneur, Shai Resher is planning a free online university that will utilize open technologies like iTunesU for content. Students will pay a small registration fee based on individual ability to pay. There will be no per-credit cost.  I applaud this effort and hope it is successful but I do have my doubts.  Many believe that the value of an education is in the content used.  People tell me all the time that they think Seattle Pacific University and other open content providers are crazy for “giving it all away.”  They question why anyone would come to a university when they can download course content and listen for free.  I believe the value of an education is in the teacher-student and student-student relationships. Powerful learning takes place when the instructor, who is an expert in the field, shares her thoughts on a topic and interacts with students, allowing all participants to co-construct knowledge.  Don’t get me wrong, students can learn by reading/listening/watching some of the great open content that is available. However, for Resher’s institution to be successful, he will need to recruit highly qualified educators who are passionate about his vision and online teaching.  Access to quality content is only a small piece of puzzle.

(delicious tags: free higher_education itunes_u online opencourseware)

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