Other than odd short-lived novelties like OpenCola, open source generally means free, collaboratively-made software. MIT introduced the idea of OpenCourseWare last year. However, unlike other distance learning programs, MIT’s courseware, lecture notes even video recordings of lectures are all free. And it’s still going strong.
Budding students in faraway places get invaluable learning materials that enhance their own studies and help them be more educated. Professors can observe MIT learning techniques to help make their own lectures more informative, accurate and most importantly, interesting and engaging.
And MIT? They get massive advertising on a global scale. You still have to attend MIT to get an MIT degree, and now they’ve given the masses a taste of how good of a school they are.