Jimmy Wales at VCU

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Founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, visited VCU. He discussed a lot of interesting topics. He really instilled into me the philosophy of open source ideas and technology. Now I really feel strongly about creating an online environment that isn’t close ended. VCU right now is trying to create an online identity on the iTunes Music Store in the podcast section. Like many colleges it wants to offer some of it’s classes online for download. But a lot of colleges have expressed concern that they would like the ability to close access to this content to students only. I am of the feeling that VCU should offer all of these courses to the general public, like Berkeley does, but I’ve been informed that this would be too “radical”. People come up to me and say, “Well of course Berkeley has there classes online for free, It’s Berkeley.” I think that it’s not radical to think that college is suppose to act as what James Smithson described for his Smithsonian Institution; “an Establishment for the increase & diffusion of knowledge” . I think that our college should try to work to create a more educated society. Tuition should work to acredit that knowledge through testing. But the knowledge it self should be free to the public. Professors at the college level work to influence academia through publication of there current research. Many of these journal have very expensive subscription prices, which the universities pay for. It’s a dog chasing it’s tail effect. Professors are paying to read the knowledge of there peers, they should freely move that knowledge between each other. The academic world should work to embrace the open source world, and not fight against it. But I know I won’t be able to completely change the system, I will try to influence it though. I’m announcing that I will work to create an open page in which teachers that wish to share their lectures, without the restriction of an VCU e-mail adress, could do so on VCU’s iTunes podcast page. I will be advocating this action to the group of professors that are currently podcasting there classes in the pilot program of “iTunes U”. Wish me luck.


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