In addition to [YouTube’s education-focused YouTube EDU], Web sites like iTunes U, TED, and Academic Earth allow millions of people to download lectures by some of the world’s top experts—for free. Known as open educational resources—or OER—the movement is turning education into a form of mass entertainment. “There is a real appetite for content that is not just a sneezing-cat video,” says Peter Bradwell, a researcher for the British academic think tank Demos. “There is a growing desire for intellectually stimulating material that is easily accessible.”
MIT’s OpenCourseWare (OCW) offers free access to most of the school’s course material and lectures on subjects like Anglo-American folk music and the behavior of algorithms. iTunes U provides free lectures, discussions, and conferences from schools like Oxford, Yale, and the French business institute HEC Paris. “The beauty of this platform is that it brings your material to a much wider audience,” says Carolyn Culver, head of strategic communications for Oxford.
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