Did you ever want to take a course at Harvard? Now you can–via your iPod. You don't have to be a registered student to download free podcasts of Harvard University Extension School's Computer Science E-1 course, Understanding Computers and the Internet. Some of the lectures are videocasts; others are audiocasts. You can subscribe to the podcasts through iTunes or your favorite podcast client via this feed.
This is only an introductory level course, covering the basics of hardware, software, the net, and multimedia, but it's a promising model. The lecturer, David Malan, is entertaining, and the content is easy to digest. Supporting materials, including exam questions and answers, are available to all at the course site.
Other schools are distributing podcasts of lectures to registered students. Harvard joins Stanford and Princeton in offering podcasts of ivy league lectures and events to the rest of us. If the trickle-down theory works, we should be seeing freebies from more venerable institutions coming down the pike.