Why Some Elite Colleges Give Away Courses Online

January 19, 2011

Foundations and universities have spent a fortune producing freely available online course materials. This week a new book, Unlocking the Gates (Princeton University Press), takes stock of that movement by focusing on some of its most high-profile players and their online successes and failures. The author, Taylor Walsh, is a research analyst with Ithaka S+R, the research division of the nonprofit Ithaka consulting group, which supported the project together with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The Chronicle asked Ms. Walsh to discuss what she had learned about the online ventures of MIT, Yale, Carnegie Mellon, and other universities.