Friday, September 22, 2006

Education Opportunity

From -- Yale University said on Wednesday it will offer digital videos of some courses on the Internet for free, along with transcripts in several languages, in an effort to make the elite private school more accessible.

While Princeton University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and others already offer course material online without charge, Yale is the first to focus on free video lectures, the New Haven, Connecticut-based school said.

The 18-month pilot project will provide videos, syllabi and transcripts for seven courses beginning in the 2007 academic year. They include "Introduction to the Old Testament," "Fundamentals of Physics" and "Introduction to Political Philosophy."

The courses cannot be counted toward a Yale degree, and educators say they are no substitute for actual teaching.

Students at Yale -- one of the nation's most exclusive schools and the alma mater of U.S. President George W. Bush -- can be expected to spend nearly $46,000 for this year's tuition, room and board.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for us to share a vital and central part of the Yale experience with those who, for whatever reason, are not in a position to pursue a Yale education at first hand," Yale President Richard Levin said in a written statement.

The project is funded by a $755,000 grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

from Yale's website:
Yale University is producing digital videos of selected undergraduate courses that it will make available for free on the Internet through a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

The Open Educational Resources Video Lecture Project has received $755,000 for an 18-month pilot phase. The project will create multidimensional packages—including full transcripts in several languages, syllabi, and other course materials—for seven courses and design a web interface for these materials, to be launched in the fall of 2007. If the venture proves successful, Yale hopes to significantly expand its online offerings over the next few years. The new venture joins a growing number of university-based initiatives that use the Internet to make educational materials widely available.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to share a vital and central part of the Yale experience with those who, for whatever reason, are not in a position to pursue a Yale education at first hand,” said Yale University President Richard C. Levin.

“This exciting new venture is part of thinking more globally about the University and its reach beyond the walls of Yale,” said Diana E. E. Kleiner, Dunham Professor of the History of Art and Classics, who is directing the project.

“The Hewlett Foundation is committed to making high-quality educational content and tools freely available on the web by partnering with leading universities, said Marshall Smith, director of the Hewlett Foundation’s Education Program. “Yale’s commitment to open educational resources is a very important contribution to this goal.” Detailed information on the Yale project and others supported by Hewlett’s Open Educational Resources Initiative is on the Foundation’s web site.

While MIT’s OpenCourseWare model has been widely emulated, Yale will be the first university to tap the potential of digital video by combining course architecture with essentially complete sets of lectures from these courses, as presented by its faculty.

To create the online offerings that will introduce and test this new approach, Yale will draw on its recognized excellence in teaching across the full spectrum of liberal arts disciplines. Some of Yale’s most distinguished scholars are taking part. The three courses being taped this fall are:

Introduction to the Old Testament, with Christine Hayes, Robert F. and Patricia Ross Weis Professor of Religious Studies;
Fundamentals of Physics, with Ramamurti Shankar, John Randolph Huffman Professor and Chair of Physics;
Introduction to Political Philosophy, with Steven Smith, Alfred Cowles Professor of Political Science.
Those whose courses are slated for taping next spring include Charles Bailyn, Thomas E. Donnelley Professor of Astronomy; Paul Bloom, Professor of Psychology; and Langdon Hammer, Professor and Chair of English.
Handling the technical aspects of the project will be Yale’s Center for Media Initiatives.

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