At the end of this post is Hans Rosling's health and wealth statistics video that has received a fair amount of attention. Not only is this a great video -- it provides a good platform to talk a little bit about the future of course materials from today's vantage point.
I remember an EDUCAUSE video by Richard Katz from 2006 on how technology could influence higher education. Part of that incorporated the idea of EDUtainment. Subsequently, I have occasionally heard discussions that explored the idea that "star faculty" could be broadcast online across many institutions -- creating economies of scale, and local faculty would facilitate discussion, activity, or provide local support and expertise. You find the "best of the best" to teach the "intro-level" courses in a consistent way via video or multimedia, and then faculty at each institution contribute upper level lectures or offerings on their areas of expertise. Other faculty provide educational support and guidance and the "local touch" which enhance and reinforce the educational experience and provide for 1-on-1 or group interaction in a way that much video and multimedia currently cannot.
Among the challenges here, however, is the cost -- and the appropriateness -- of using technology in learning. Creating the video below certainly required some financial support. Creating similar content for lots of different concepts will take time and far more resources, and not all content is suitable to this type of format. As in other domains, we must be cautious about using technology for technology's sake, and we must think about the most effective uses of technology in course materials. Odd argument to hear from a technology guy, I know.
In the short term, until technologies evolve that make creation of content like this even easier and lower cost, creating a large suite of educational content that is truly born digital will take time, effort, and resources -- implying that a large volume of digital course materials that go beyond the "pdf of the book" will likely take some time to really produce yet. Doubting that it will eventually arrive is probably not a safe bet.