The Stanford University's School of Engineering is giving away some of its courses as free Bittorrent downloads. The downloads have proven to be a huge success, according to the Stanford News Service, which is reporting that 200.000 people have visited the Stanford Engineering Everywhere website that offers the downloads as well as Youtube streams of the lectures.

pic of stanford engineering everywhere gfx

From the news release:

"There have been some surprises. No one had predicted a flood of visits from Brazil, a turnout that placed the country behind only Canada on the list of hits from foreign countries. (Rounding out the top five were China, Italy and the United Kingdom.) "

The website also offers complete access to handouts, lecture transcripts and assignments. Al course materials are licensed under a very liberal CC-BC Creative Commons license, making it possible to translate texts and incorporate them into your own work as long as you give the school credit. Many people seem to be more than happy to do that. One student apparently wrote the school with the following comment:

"Hey there! First off I just wanted to say THANK YOU SO MUCH—you just saved me like 20,000 dollars."

The torrent downloads are a little but unusual though: Stanford decided to bypass the traditional tracker system completely and make the content available through the Vuze DHT network. The downside of this is that uTorrent, Transmission and other clients won't be able to process these torrents - but the Creative Commons license of course makes it possible to legally republish all of the files using your favorite tracker and torrent site.

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