Great stuff!

In an unprecedented move, Williams College is collaborating with Apple Computer to allow public access a wide range of lectures, speeches, debates and other college content through iTunes. No need to pay the $31,200 tuition. No need to live on campus. No need even to be a student. The nearly 500 tracks that constitute “Williams on iTunes” are available to anyone willing to spend the few minutes it takes to download them from the Internet.

While a number of other universities are now using iTunes to distribute class-specific content to their students, including Duke University, Drexel University’s School of Education and the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, Williams is the first to make a substantial amount of recorded university events available to the public at large.

“One of Williams’s primary missions is to educate the public,” says Jim Kolesar, director of public affairs. Allowing the public to access the content “just felt like the right thing to do,” says Stephen Birrell, director of the alumni programs.

Faster, please. (Hat tip to Newmark’s Door.)

In all seriousness, the future of Williams lies in making most everything that happens on campus more public. Within the next decade, we can expect to see streaming content from most sports events, all public lectures and many, many classrooms. The sooner Williams embraces this reality, the better off it will be. The future is an open one. Those that seek to resist this change, who argue that what goes on in the classroom is “private,” will be left behind.

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