For my experience with a education site, I went to opencourseware.org, where MIT provides a ton of class to go through for free, without signing up for anything. I chose a course called Introduction to Psychology, which was taught in 2011 so it’s fairly recent. The course’s web page was well organized and had links to a syllabus, course readings, full video lectures of each class, and exams questions and answers. If I really wanted to learn about the basics of psychology, I would definitely jump into this course.
Having looked at other courses on the website, I found that some didn’t include many videos, and were spotty in supplying the page with all the exams and course materials. Some would vaguely list what was covered in a day’s class, but would have no other materials or content. This could of course just be from opencourseware’s humble beginnings, and I’m sure MIT takes full advantage of it’s online abilities now. Also, while the lectures seem informative, they are a bit longer than most people would want to sit through in front of a computer screen.
It is encouraging that a school like MIT would be willing to open it’s doors to the public in such an open way. Giving classes away for free is wonderful, but I am left with some sort of hollowed out experience when looking at the courses. The classes at MIT are really only a part of the experience of attending such a great school, and while being able to listen to a great lecturer talk about the human brain for hours and hours, I am alone in receiving this new information, and unable to reenforce my education with other students. There is something in creating communities around a branch of knowledge and teaching, and that something is definitely lost when using opencourseware.