It seems like it would obviously be good — now kids who don’t have money and don’t live near universities have, in principle, access to much of the world’s knowledge as long as they have a cheap computer and an internet connection.
But in math, I’ve heard anecdotally that this isn’t really happening. I thought we were going to see an influx of mathematical talent, smart kids from Mississippi who couldn’t get any math past calculus from their peers, their local high school, or the public library, but who trained themselves hardcore on Art of Problem Solving or Mathematics Stack Exchange. But I don’t think this is happening so much. (Correct me if I’m wrong about this!)
I thought about this when I read this article about MOOCs, which says that they’re primarily used by wealthy people who already have college degrees. What a depressing outcome that would be, if a platform meant to make elite education available free to everybody and help undo the student-loan disaster instead mostly made life easier for people whose lives are already easy, and saved money for people who already have money.