"This is the single biggest change in education since the printing press." -Anant Agarwal, President of a new joint venture of MIT & Harvard, edX.
I have spoken before about the potential untapped market for credentialing online education for free worldwide. MIT has already begun their own project in this regard having launched MITx whose first course, Circuits & Electronics, has over 120,000 students worldwide. Univerisities are missing out on a fundamental marketing principle to lure in new customers that they otherwise would not attract, offer a free service and then offer a more comphrensive version of that service at a price. Personally, I think that univeristies should just put the first two years of general education requirements online for free and focus on higher-level coursework. No one is paying attention in that class 500 students learning about the introduction to business. Half of those students will dropout anyways because they think, perhaps rightly so, that they are wasting their time.
Food for thought.