Andrew Magliozzi, a 2005 Harvard graduate, turned a two-year passion project dedicated to putting notes from Harvard lectures online into a nonprofit organization — FinalsClub.org — just this past summer.
Why did you start FinalsClub.org?
After graduating college ... I thought I would just poke my head into some classes at Harvard ... just make up for the ones I missed or maybe skipped. One of them stuck. I started going to every class, doing all the readings. ... Not everyone can just take off work and go to a Harvard lecture at noon every Monday and Wednesday. So I decided to log what I was learning … Eventually I showed it to the professor ... He told me to take it down immediately because I was infringing on his property rights. ... If that professor hadn’t said anything, I probably wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing right now.
Do you feel that putting notes online, free for everyone, violates what higher education institutions were created to do?
There’s a Thomas Jefferson quote about this: “If I teach you something it doesn’t mean that I unlearn it.” Knowledge is of ultimate abundance and the purpose of the university is to disseminate it as widely as possible. … The more people with knowledge, the better our society will be.
Have you had any problems with schools, namely Harvard?
I’d say close to 70 percent have been in favor of what I’m up to — open education and sharing knowledge freely with the world. A few are also vehemently opposed.