an excellent and detailed article on Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs). My undergraduate alma mater, The University of Pennsylvania, is a big player in the Coursera online system, with a number of its professors contributing. I have been impressed what I have seen there so far. See the article for an example of areas of learning they teach in.
Will that ultimately hurt universities like Penn, its teachers becoming free agents? Without the physical plant of the university to pay for, the cost of an education will come down. And anyone can participate. Accreditation can be done via accounting rather than residence. Is an institution in place since the seventeenth century about to come tumbling down? Or can the two methods be successfully combined? Can more specialized MOOCs be constructed to offer detailed training and social participation to make them work? I wrote recently about another effort, SlateUp, which has similar but more collaborative education goals. It further addresses how the enterprise will ultimately consume the educated MOOC graduates.