Shed a tear–UC Berkeley erases old courses

Yes, the sad news is true. Dozens, maybe hundreds of old courses are gone from the newly remodeled UC Berkeley course podcast site. The new site is definitely snazzier and easier to navigate, but much of the older content is gone.

I sent an e-mail to the site’s webmaster, who replied, “We have archived the older lectures and will keep them safe. Unfortunately they are no longer available to the public via webcast.berkeley.”  He left open the possibility that donors might be able to fund the migration of the older lectures to the new site, but at least for now treasures like Margaret Anderson’s history courses are no longer available.

Unlike some of the open access courses on the web, the course podcasts from the University of California campuses at Berkeley, Los Angeles and San Diego have always been primarily for their own students, and the public access is merely a byproduct. So be warned. And if you see a course you’re interested in, download it while you can.

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8 Responses to Shed a tear–UC Berkeley erases old courses

  1. Phillip says:

    This news comes as a shock. At first I was speechless. A terrible blow for open learning.
    After I recovered from the shock, I went to the internet archive wayback machine to look at old pages of the berkeley website to see what I had missed. It’s not at the archive.

    Then I downloaded all the google caches of the pages of the former website. Look at them and weep. The google cache will stay there only for a short while, so download it while you still can if you are interested. Dozens of courses I should have downloaded while I had the chance.

    I hope someone uploads courses no longer available to the internet archive. I will know better next time to download and store locally all pages I could possibly be interested in. There should be some kind of file sharing system for sharing these once they are pulled from the internet.

    I still am not fully recovered.

  2. fran says:

    I love “free”, but I would gladly subscribe to individual courses. I was in the middle of Anderson’s
    Rise and Fall of the Second Reich. I suspect that access will increasingly be limited.

  3. Alex says:

    Some of the courses that didn’t make the transition are available on iTunes U.

  4. Rafael La Buonora says:

    I think we should start sharing via rapidshare or P2P networks. I’m not sure about the legal implications of that, what do you think Dara?

    • Dara says:

      I sympathize with the impulse, I’m not ready to endorse or promote anything that might violate copyright law. I’ve exchanged a few emails with Ben Hubbard, Manager of Special Events and Video Services at Berkeley, and he expressed the hope that donations might be found to migrate the old content to the new website. Maybe our energies would be better spent in raising funds to help Berkeley to continue to host the old content.

  5. Ben Hubbard says:

    Hello All,
    Great conversation, I really appreciate the care and concern the entire community has turned out for webcast.berkeley. I’d like to draw your attention to the most recent update on the new site and the retirement of a number of courses that were produced in the Real Player format:
    http://webcast.berkeley.edu/info#news,2953

  6. brendanscott says:

    The courses are licensed Creative Commons NC-ND so there is no issue with copying them (as long as its non commercial/no derivative works). I have started an archive of the courses I have at Archive.org:
    http://www.archive.org/details/ucberkeleylectures

    If you have others please contribute.

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