September 28, 2006
Seven full years after a columnist working for SFGate.com (okay, me) first suggested it, U.C. Berkeley has finally begun broadcasting some class lectures online. My question: what on earth took them so long?
Public institutions of higher education have a responsibility to do all they can to facilitate access to education. That so many of these public institutions have done so little to date to meet this responsibility demonstrates a profound failure of organizational leadership in higher education.
UC’s leadership is busy patting itself on the back today. They should be apologizing for not moving sooner. And they should also explain why they are not doing more, particularly to reduce the costs of textbooks for basic skills classes.
Our public universities should serve the public good to the maximum degree possible. Clearly, these institutions need better leaders — unless we are willing to wait another near-decade for improvements in the way they serve the public that they could readily make today.
Oct. 12, 2006 ADDENDUM AND CORRECTION: A new friend who is involved in this venture tells me that UCB actually began webcasting some lectures as early as 2001. See: webcast.berkeley.edu My apologies to the small and dedicated team at UCB who have been working hard to bring these important resources online.