Pioneers in college education for all

A salute to four people who have made extraordinary efforts to improve access to a college education.

Advocate for free online education
College Education Dick K.P. Yue

Dick K.P. Yue, 58, MIT professor of engineering

Why he's a hero: A decade ago Yue pushed academia to take its most valuable asset—teaching—and give it away. As chair of an MIT committee exploring Internet strategy, the ocean engineering professor proposed a radical idea: Put lectures and other classroom materials online for free. Starting with 50 courses in 2002, MIT OpenCourseWare now offers 2,100 and has reached over 125 million people. The school's next step: free online interactive courses—for credit.

His current passion: Enabling a billion people to study online over the next 10 years. Says Yue: "Content, learning, credentialing—making all three broadly available and affordable is the holy grail."

Quote: "One day someone will be able to take online courses from the 10 top universities cheaply or for free, and an employer will recognize that. I don't know when that will happen, but when it does, I will be very happy."


- Last updated September 03 2012 07:44 PM ET
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