Distance learning courses have been around for a very long time and have often been treated by mainstream academia as the step child to residential face to face classes. However, all of that is changing as advances in technology have made online education an excellent way to learn as well as enhance the residential experience. The president of MIT recently said, "Online education is not the enemy of residential education but rather a profoundly liberating and inspiring ally." I wrote about this "ally" back in 2007 in the following post, University 2.0 - Online Classes Enhance Universities. Within that blog entry, I posed the following comment and questions, "Online information and communication is changing the way the world interacts and learns...What are universities across the world doing about this information revolution? How are we demonstrating to our future students that we are not only a part of this human network but that we are leaders in the movement?" Read entire post here.
Now in 2012, we are beginning to see how some of the most prestigious research and discovery universities are answering that question. It will be interesting to see how this effects the current higher education ecosystem.
Here is what Harvard and MIT are doing.