True mission of education fulfilled digitally

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Washington, Dec 31 (UNI) They are on YouTube, hoping to get on iTunes, have created an online research tool-- a virtual filing cabinet for scholars-- and with a few clicks you can watch English professors discussing Shakespeare and Wordsworth.

Studying on YouTube would not help in getting a college degree, but many American universities are using technology to offer online classes and open up archives with an aim of returning to the broader mission of higher education of offering knowledge to everyone.

For schools, the courses can bring benefits, luring applicants, spreading the university's name, impressing donors and keeping alumni engaged.

''The idea was to have a broad impact on education worldwide and make a statement at a time when many schools were launching for-profit distance-learning ventures trying to redefine the role of the institution in the digital age,'' Washington Post quoted Steve Carson of MIT OpenCourseWare as saying.

With better, faster technology such as video, what once was bare-bones and hard-core -- lecture notes aimed at grad students and colleagues -- is now more ambitious and far more accessible.

UNI

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