Google started a project to collect “ideas to change the world by helping as many people as possible”. The top 16 are posted. The only one I gave much thought to was to
make educational and course materials more accessible online to students worldwide. Lots of educational content is not indexed or accessible on the public web. Various users have proposed finding ways to help content owners put formerly exclusive content online, including offline materials (lectures, textbooks, videotaped workshops) and limited-access materials (scholarly papers, research dissertations); help teachers themselves become more available online (access to online profs, 24/7 homework help, cross-country study groups); and to make all this material and academic help accessible through both computer and mobile platforms.
What is fascinating about this idea is that it largely exists but without consolidation or scaffolding. Recently there have been some initiatives to create online universities to serve the world (based on their press releases) but they are not consolidators of existing courses as far as I can tell. In fact, searching for an existing course syllabus on a topic seems to be more luck than anything else.
Could Google provide an effective and easy mechanism to not necessarily consolidate but to search for existing course materials? How would it deal with the deep web where so many courses are internal to an institution? And, finally, how would they set up the essential scaffolding that can make the difference between passive and active learning? I guess the next step is not the answers to these questions but the final idea selection.