I'm taking the free Stanford remote-learning classes "Machine Learning" (ml-class.org) or "Introduction to Artificial Intelligence" (ai-class.com). I'm taking the classes while living on a boat in Borneo, so a meat-space study group isn't going to be possible. So I'm going to put my thoughts out there and see what comes back.
I think it's really phenomenal that the academic world is embracing an "open knowledge" policy. The MIT open courseware effort (http://ocw.mit.edu) is a lot more mature and ambitious, but seems to have stalled out. MIT professors obviously have little time to publish their lectures and quizzes. The MIT lectures that I was interested in were often incomplete. But MIT administrators did take the lead and open the floodgates to allow professors to publish their papers and lectures online. That's a start. But the Stanford faculty seems to be a bit more enthusiastic about supervision of complete, high-quality courses online. And it's quite generous to provide these classes completely free. This bodes well for US competitiveness in years to come as our youth get access to Stanford-quality educations, whether or not they can afford Stanford-magnitude tuition.