It is clear from my database of high impact student startups that Yale University is an incredibly entrepreneurial campus. Its interesting because Yale, in my mind, has been and continues to be a leading ‘defender’ of delivering a classic British style liberal education to undergraduates. Jennifer Howard at the Wired Campus Column of the Chronicle of Higher Education reports on Yale’s new book series — based on its online lectures and available in PRINT! From Howard:
Yale University may be the first to reverse the process, using its Open Yale Courses as the basis for an old-fashioned book series.
This month, Yale University Press released the first batch of paperbacks based on lecture courses featured in the online-learning program. Priced at $18 and available in e-format too, the books are meant to expand the audience for the course material even further, according to Diana E.E. Kleiner. A professor of art history and classics at Yale, Ms. Kleiner is the founding project director of Open Yale Courses.
“It may seem counterintuitive for a digital project to move into books and e-books, because these are a much more conventional way of publishing,” she says. But the Open Yale Courses are about “reaching out in every way that we could.” That includes posting audio and video versions online (via Yale’s Web site, YouTube, and iTunes), and providing transcripts and now book versions of the lectures.
The trend towards open enrollment and open course is congruent with traditions in higher education. My favorite turn of the century cases (University of Wisconsin and University of Chicago) highlight the various methods that knowledge was distributed to the public. IMHO in the years after WWII, universities moved towards on campus enrollment and tuition paying students. This was part of a competitive race for between universities (other areas of competition included federal research grants, federal research facilities, faculty, corporate partnerships, international partnerships and campuses, and on and on).
In general the competition spurred US universities forward and is one of the reasons the US dominates university rankings. That said, the race towards national and global left the amazing tradition of delivery content to the masses to the side. Technology changed all that and put mass delivery back into play. Its great to see Yale innovating within this movement towards open source higher education.