Earlier this week, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced that it was giving $1m to MIT to use edX courses in partnership with colleges serving low-income students – which raises an intriguing possibility of bringing high-quality resources where they are most needed.
Of course there have already been online degrees and courses. The UKâs Open University has been a trailblazing pioneer of such distance learning. Stanford has also been experimenting.
In the US, large numbers of students have taken for-profit online degrees aimed at those unable to access campus-based courses.
But so far online projects have been in counterpoint to the mainstream.