UC Berkeley is posting some of it's lectures on-line at YouTube. You can see them here at Berkeley's site or here at YouTube.
I think the idea is brilliant!
Imagine being able to see free classes from some of America's brightest minds.
Will certainly help build Brekeley's global brand as people all over the world explore and learn what's available.
More universities should certainly explore this option.
I don't think it diminishes the value of a degree, which is certainly more than watching a recorded video (participation, competition, exams, papers, interaction and guidance, etc...), but the immense value disseminating the ideas and demonstrating the high quality of leading educators is immense.
I do suppose some universities could assign on-line lectures from other professors as reading materials, however, a degree is still a degree and watching the lecture of a prestigious university professor does not grant prestige to the copying university.
All in all, this is an excellent idea that exposes the best and worst of the academy. It certainly puts the hokier academicians, protected by tenure in the light of day. Hmmm...that should have a very exciting effect on the "politically correct".