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Historically, universities such as Columbia, Oxford, Yale, Princeton and Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have defined their value by exclusivity as much as by excellence. The institutions positioned themselves as purveyors of an important public good — a corps of graduates fit to run a nation — but the classrooms and curriculums that ostensibly transform talented high-schoolers into cardholding members of the adult elite have been walled off from the general public. In the Internet age, walls are everywhere falling in academe. Online education, all but cleansed of its original stigma, has become commonplace. This is especially true among big public universities, which have clamored to capitalize on new markets by enrolling far-flung students. The University of Massachusetts and Penn State University rake in tens of millions of dollars each year from their online programs.