Just signed up for Building a Search Engine. It's a 7-week course offered by one of the two Stanford professors who taught last year's AI course. That was a free course and a wildly successful experiment in Open Source Education.
One of them, Sebastian Thrun has since left Stanford to start Udacity. An online, open source university. I mean folks, this is gold on a platter. There are two instructors: Thrun, a Google Fellow, and David Evans, CS prof at University of Virginia and an MIT grad.
I've never used this term before, but two things are happening now to urge me to do it. The NEXT BIG THING. This idea and Raspberry-Pi. Two major efforts to educate those who want to be educated about computers. Doing the job our schools and universities are not. Sure, you can get a CS degree just about anywhere, but how about the youngsters coming down the pike? They show up in my community college classes knowing absolutely nothing about how computers work. Where will they get the spark that might set them on fire to learn, to experiment, to chase, to fiddle, to solve--to create, invent?
I'm not talking about students who pick CS as a major because it's where the jobs might be most available. I'm talking about the students who will dive into the field with passion, wonder, curiosity, and creativity. Those folks don't go after jobs; they go after knowledge and skill simply because they want to.