MIT recently introduced plans for a significant expansion of their distance/virtual education program. From the press release:
MITx will endeavor to break down barriers to education in two ways. First, it will offer the online teaching of MIT courses to people around the world and the opportunity for able learners to gain certification of mastery of MIT material. Second, it will make freely available to educational institutions everywhere the open-source software infrastructure on which MITx is based.
It will be exciting to see how other institutions engage this resource and how a free, open-access approach to online education influences the for-profit models that dominate the market.