Mankiw notes that Yale is offering some free education over the web, and wonders whether this is "the beginning of a big change in the industrial organization of higher education?"
I say: No Way. Lots of people want an Ivy League diploma without the work of an Ivy League education. But almost no one wants an Ivy League education without the benefit of an Ivy League diploma.
Indeed, as I've often told my students, an Ivy League education is already free. If you want to learn, start attending classes. No one's going to "card" you. Unfortunately, after four years, no one will vouch for you, either.
At that point, you'll wish you heard one of my lectures on the signaling model of education.