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News & information

Why this course is on line and freely available

Thomas Jefferson:

The field of knowledge is the common property of mankind...

(Letter to Henry Dearborn, 1807)
If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea…. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.
(Letter to Isaac McPherson, 1823)

My thoughts on this:

There is no reason education shouldn't be free to those who really want it. Schools can charge for credits.

Taking a class shouldn't immunize you against the subject, it should infect you for life. So if you've taken this class, or another class I teach, I want the course notes to be available to you for as long as I'm writing and updating them.

There is no reason learning shouldn't be shared and public, so that people can bring different experiences to the learning process.

The MOOC movement promised to make the best courses available to anyone, online and free. The problem was the lack of a clear fiscal plan; even if a teacher wants to make a course available, it represents a huge cost for the university. Many MOOCs are no longer as freely available as they were. That's annoying.