I found an article in The Chronicle about a new search engine for free university courses online. OCW Search (OCW stands for OpenCourseWare) is available at http://www.ocwsearch.com/. The site is in beta and is only indexing courses from MIT at the moment, but I like the search options and I can’t wait for the indexed content to expand.
The home page has a simple search box but there are also fairly sophisticated advanced search options, with stemming by default and special syntax to search by course title, instructor name, and course description. If you still can’t think of anything to look for there are example searches on the front page.
I did a search for education and got 688 results — and mind you, these were all from MIT! Yow! Search results include title, institution and date of the course, and a description that varies from a few sentences to a few extensive paragraphs. There are also direct links to the course home page and course download materials.
The site has a blog where you can both read about updates to the site and vote on which university’s materials should be added next. Impressive search engine and results even with only one university — but come on! I want to see more!