Apparently Stanford university is giving learning away!  Always wanted to learn more about Robotics, Linear Dynamical Systems or Programming Paradigms? Now you can, for free, thanks to Stanford Engineering’s online courses.

The University not only gives away videos of lectures, but also syllabi, handouts, homework and exams. In addition to offering torrents, the courses are also available on YouTube, via iTunes and Vyew. With the project Stanford aims to spread knowledge on technology worldwide.

Thus far, the online courses have been a great success. Over 200,000 people from all over the world have visited the site already. Most foreign visitors come from Canada, according to a recent news release, followed by Brazil, China, Italy and the UK.

For now, only the 10 most popular computer science and electrical engineering courses are published online, but additional courses will be added later. All course materials are published under a Creative Commons license, which allows others to adapt, remix and share them as long as it is for noncommercial use, and if they link back to the university.

This has clear implications for academic libraries, despite the fact that this story doesn’t mention the library.  Who is hosting all of this information and who will keep it going beyond the tenure of those who started this project?  The library, that’s who.  Who else is equipped to store and disseminate information like this on such a grand scale?  Why not tag these courses with links to RSS feeds of new books purchased by the library that are course related? Why not create wikis based on these free courses?  Perhaps we can use these and other technologies to come up with Library 2.0.

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