The GIS e-learning project GITTA (Geographic Information Technology Training Alliance) was developed between 2001 and 2004 by ten institutes from seven Swiss universities. Altogether about forty tutors developed nearly fifty lessons and ten case studies in three languages (German, French and English) and integrated these into their curriculum. Towards the end of the project the consortium decided to make the content freely accessible (released under the Creative Commons license), to let academic institutions from all over the world benefit from the GIS e-learning lessons by integrating selected lessons into their own curriculum. On the technical side GITTA uses a free XML framework called eLML (eLesson Markup Language) that was released as an open source project by the University of Zurich. The paper documents the increasing interest in GITTA material since the opening of the project. It also explains the problems and risks of an open project compared to a closed project accessible only to students enrolled at project partner universities.