It didn't hurt that Cornell got a $350 million donation and that their main competitor, Stanford, dropped out.
Foreign countries have been creating campuses for some time now, like Northwestern's Qatar campus. Great to see this happening in my own country, a realization of the importance of technology and that New York knows it must make these investments. May this lead to other cities building tech campuses like they build sports arenas. Unlike sports, we can have many winners.
What's going to happen on this tech campus? Education, research, start-up incubators? Will there be a separate CS department in New York or just a branch from Ithaca? I can find very little details on the web, though there is this cool fly-over.
Following up on Stanford's online courses, MIT is creating their own tools for teaching online courses and will share these tools with other universities. Those taking the courses may receive a certificate but will have to pay a small fee to do so and the certificate will not bear the MIT name. According to the FAQ "MIT plans to create a not-for-profit body within the Institute that will offer certification for online learners of MIT coursework. That body will carry a distinct name to avoid confusion. MIT awards MIT degrees only to those admitted to MIT through a highly selective admissions process." Nevertheless these courses will allow people to get access to great MIT courses at little cost.
In the 90's, Newspapers decided they could better serve the public by putting their news stories online. How did that work for them? Are universities starting to go down the same path today?