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Thursday, 5 April, 2001, 08:19 GMT 09:19 UK
US university offers free web courses
girl at pc
Hundreds of courses will be made available
One of the world's leading universities has announced plans to make nearly all the educational material for its courses freely available over the internet.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in the United States, is to put the information on its website.

Over the next ten years, the site will carry notes, course outlines, reading lists and assignments for hundreds of courses in science, humanities and the arts.

The university said it was an "unprecedented step" in worldwide education.

The President of the University, Charles Vest, said it was a bold move: "With the content posted for all to use, it will provide an extraordinary resource, free of charge, which others can adapt to their own needs."

"We see it as source material that will support education worldwide, including innovations in the process of teaching and learning itself."

MIT's faculty chair Steven Lerman said the project stemmed both from enthusiasm for Internet opportunities to widely share educational ideas, and from concern over the growing "privatization of knowledge".

He said: "Many universities, including MIT, see the Internet as a means of delivering revenue-generating distance education."

The project will start as a two-year pilot programme, beginning with software and services.

The course materials will be free but there will be no credits or MIT degree.

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13 Oct 00 | Education
Blueprint for new online university
20 Nov 00 | Education
Europe encouraged to learn online
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