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Coursera Not Allowed to Provide Courses to Minnesota Residents?
October 19, 2012 11:30 AM   Subscribe

The State of Minnesota has informed Coursera that it cannot offer courses to Minnesota residents because it has not obtained permission to do so from the state. The Chronicle of Higher Education's Wired Campus blog reports on the story here. The State was acting pursuant to the "Minnesota Private and Out-of-State Public Postsecondary Education Act," which requires schools to register with the state if they offer courses in Minnesota and requires approval if degrees are granted or the words "college" or "university" are used in the name of a school. The law was enacted in 1975 and appears to have been intended to be a consumer protection law. Noted First Amendment scholar Eugene Volokh has opined at his blog that the statute is unconstitutional, at least as applied to a web site that offers its courses for free and does not grant degrees.
posted by Area Man (69 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ha, I wish I lived in a state where MOHE had the power to regulate the entire fucking internet. Instead I live in a state where MOHE can barely fund it's own State Grant program.
posted by Think_Long at 11:38 AM on October 19, 2012


More like Corsaira, then, amirite?
posted by gurple at 11:40 AM on October 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yeah. That seems like a pretty bold-faced 1st Amendment violation.
posted by schmod at 11:40 AM on October 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Further reflection in Online Colleges, Boston Magazine, examiner.com and the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal.

Minnesota gets a mention in the Coursera Terms of Service. There are currently no restrictions for Minnesota residents stated in the Terms of Service of the Udacity and edX MOOCs.
posted by Wordshore at 11:40 AM on October 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


The best possible outcome here would be if Coursera were forced to admit, in defending itself, that a "MOOC" is absolutely nothing like a college course, and that what Coursera does should not be confused with university education.
posted by RogerB at 11:42 AM on October 19, 2012 [15 favorites]


Hey, on the positive side: at least the State of Minnesota isn't shooting children in the head who try to take Coursea classes.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:43 AM on October 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Hey, they're trying to learn for free!"
posted by deathpanels at 11:43 AM on October 19, 2012 [11 favorites]


This seems a shame, but not really a nefarious problem (as far as the linked sources present it). It seems like simply a law that was written in a different era (although not that long ago) from which there are unintended consequences today. That a bureaucracy sent out basically cease and desist letters pursuant to that law is really not that big a news story. In general I favor strong consumer protections and working out the edge cases as they arise.

(I'm glad this got reposted. The actual (innocuous) story is nothing like the previous post presented it.)
posted by OmieWise at 11:45 AM on October 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


This may be related to a fairly recent federal regulation that was designed to address fraud in distance education. There was significant pushback, but it's not entirely unreasonable for a state to want some oversight of education.
posted by idb at 11:45 AM on October 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, in case this isn't clear, this has absolutely no effect on the ability of MN residents to actually take the courses.
posted by OmieWise at 11:46 AM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


and that what Coursera does should not be confused with university education.

It's been six years since I took a proper university course, but the two Coursera classes I'm taking feel very much like a slightly more intense college course.
posted by drezdn at 11:46 AM on October 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Hey, they're trying to learn for free!"

You know, this kind of pisses me off. I don't know if it's a joke, or what, but the actual intent here seems to be: "Hey, someone may be trying to rip off MN residents." That the application of the statute is ham-handed is really a separate issue, and certainly doesn't imply anything like trying to cut off access to free education just because it's free.
posted by OmieWise at 11:49 AM on October 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't get it, Coursera doesn't want to bother with registering in Minnesota as a provider of educational courses?

Noted First Amendment scholar internet libertarian Eugene Volokh has opined...

it's so old-economy that government should regulate private business amirite?
posted by ennui.bz at 11:50 AM on October 19, 2012


I'd like to point out that Capella University also employs over 1,000 people in Minnesota. I don't know how to offhandedly mention that in a way that seems non-accusatory, but it's the first thing I thought of when I initially read about this. I don't think they're behind this action, but the grey area is expanding now that Coursera also is offering certificates for some of their courses, which may edge them closer to being viewed as accredited in someone's mind...
posted by antonymous at 11:52 AM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I kind of like the idea of being an educational pirate in the state of Minnesota, sneaking courses under the cover of darkness on your laptop.
posted by inturnaround at 11:53 AM on October 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


I've completed one of the Coursera courses (Gamification) i.e. did everything, scored 96%, awaiting certificate, but it's still a bit unclear what 'taking the course' involves, especially as - currently - these are free courses. It could mean either:

- just watching some of the videos online and doing nothing else
- watching the videos and doing the assignments
- videos, assignments, peer review, and final "exam"

If just watching some of the videos online actually constitutes taking a course, then extrapolating means I'm a professor in amusing cat incidents, Gangnam Style parodies, cricket matches, and Debbie Gibson and Tiffany. Where's my tenure at the University of 80s Pop Music?
posted by Wordshore at 11:54 AM on October 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


Oh, sorry Wordshore, you didn't mention Nu Shooz.

No tenure for you.
posted by oddman at 11:59 AM on October 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Its the chilling effect of what the State of Minnesota has done to what may be one of the most positive and interesting recent development trends on the web (free and open access to classes and education online) which is most troubling.

Its not a huge leap to see how innovators and entrepreneurs in the space (online education) here in Minnesota will have a harder time finding investment and support going forward with these possibly well intentioned but poorly thought out actions by the state.

Maybe Capella and Rasmussen are behind it or maybe not, but this is the US where corporations use the goverment to protect their interests against new innovations and threats.
posted by specialk420 at 11:59 AM on October 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't get it, Coursera doesn't want to bother with registering in Minnesota as a provider of educational courses?

From the updated Slate article about it:
(The fee can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, plus a $1,200 annual renewal.)
The original Slate article is worded very flame-baitedly, but the update portion at the bottom actually has decent info:
State law prohibits degree-granting institutions from offering instruction in Minnesota without obtaining permission from the office and paying a registration fee.
...
The law's intent is to protect Minnesota students from wasting their money on degrees from substandard institutions...
And they do make an interesting statement at the end, too:
If every government took Minnesota's approach, free online education probably wouldn't exist, because the cost of compliance and registration in all 50 states, let alone other countries, would be prohibitive.
posted by jillithd at 12:02 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


it's not entirely unreasonable for a state to want some oversight of education.

Education is speech. The state probably wants authority over that. Our constitution says otherwise.
posted by humanfont at 12:02 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Its not a huge leap to see how innovators and entrepreneurs in the space (online education) here in Minnesota will have a harder time finding investment and support going forward with these possibly well intentioned but poorly thought out actions by the state.


Actually, I don't understand this objection at all, can you explain it? The law applies to organizations outside of MN catering to people inside of it. It has no application to organizations, at least as these articles have painted it, to organizations inside MN. Am I missing something?

Quoted from Volkh: "“any public or private postsecondary educational institution located in another state or country which offers or makes available to a Minnesota resident any course, program or educational activity which does not require the leaving of the state for its completion,”"
posted by OmieWise at 12:02 PM on October 19, 2012


Do the old standards for long-arm statutes (which seems to be what's happening here) not apply to MOHE? Heck, this isn't even "commerce" by any reasonable definition of that term. Where do they think their regulatory power comes from in this case?
posted by 1adam12 at 12:03 PM on October 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Looking at the official response in the (irritatingly histrionic) Slate article on the topic, it seems to me (like I said in the MetaTalk post on a deleted thread on the same topic) this really seems like relatively reasonable bureaucrats trying to do their relatively reasonable jobs, but probably applying a well-meaning law where it is not reasonably applied.

I personally agree that to me it smells like something that runs afoul of the first amendment as long as it is clear to the consumer that this is not an actual university course, or accredited, or credit-bearing, or applicable to any degree, or provided with any sort of promise or guarantee of competence or credential in the subject addressed.

It doesn't seem like the state has even had much of a chance to review the objections to the application of the law (and it should be noted that nobody, including the companies in question, appear to have made an attempt to formally object to the application of the law) so I see this as the beginning rather than the end of a discussion between the citizens of MN, these companies, and the government of MN. Characterizations of it as some sort of effort to purposely stifle innovation seem really premature and ill-supported. Coursera's actions were probably sensible and necessary given they had been informed they were in violation of MN State law but I'd hope they'd go further and try to make the actual case for their product.

Also, in case this isn't clear, this has absolutely no effect on the ability of MN residents to actually take the courses.

This is true, but personally I dislike the idea that a broken law (or misapplication of an okay law) should be kludged around (by virtue of me having to lie on an online form - I know, yes, "the horror" but still) rather than fixed.

I really, really think the Capella connection is a red herring. There is zero evidence of any connection whatsoever. As far as I can see this law has the same impact on every private or out-of-state public provider of higher education that operates in the state regardless of where they are based. The only real question is whether Coursera and its offerings are actually applicable to the statute.

now that Coursera also is offering certificates for some of their courses

As RogerB suggests I think clarifying what if anything these certificates actually represent in the context of higher education is a reasonable goal for the MN Office of Higher Education.
posted by nanojath at 12:05 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


It has no application to organizations, at least as these articles have painted it, to organizations inside MN.

As I read it, the statute applies to all Private organizations offering higher education in the state - whether they are MN companies or not - and all out-of-state Public institutions offering education in the state (MN Public institutions are not considered as they are already regulated directly under the MN OHE).

If I'm wrong on that someone correct me but it seems to agree with what the OHE official said in the Slate article I mentioned above.
posted by nanojath at 12:08 PM on October 19, 2012


Follow the money. Find out who makes a profit on education in Minnesota, and then you'll know who pushed this. Remember that they might not care about what Coursera is *now*, but what it (and other internet-based education sites) might become in the future. The best way to kill off your competition is to throw it off the bridge when it's still small enough to fit in a pillowcase.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 12:09 PM on October 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Education is speech. The state probably wants authority over that. Our constitution says otherwise.

Honest question here, can anybody just say they're a doctor or lawyer and dispense medical or legal advice willy nilly?
posted by kmz at 12:09 PM on October 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


The law's intent is to protect Minnesota students from wasting their money on degrees from substandard institutions

No money changes hands, and no degrees are awarded. Minnesota should un-Streisand itself, apologize and reverse their decision.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:09 PM on October 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I guess they see the free education as a threat to the integrity of their system, which is interesting if you look at the situation analogous to healthcare.
posted by Evernix at 12:10 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


@OmieWise Quickly - Anyone working on online education startups in MN most likely will try to get a toe hold of an user base and also find funding here in Minnesota... Knowing a bit about how investment works here MN, its safe to say if the state frowns on online education providers and startups, local investors are going to be a bit more cautious as well, which is a shame and stifles innovation.

Slightly off topic but more on the subject here: Why one startup left Minnesota.
posted by specialk420 at 12:13 PM on October 19, 2012


@Mary Ellen Carter - right. well put.
posted by specialk420 at 12:14 PM on October 19, 2012


This seems pretty reasonable to me. The Coursera site has the word "university" in its header and has the corporate branding of a whole bunch of different universities all over it and mentioned next to every course name.

If they don't want to be subject to any standards that govern higher education in the state of Minnesota, they should just publish the same material without the marketing fluff that tries to garner the prestige that the thousand-year-old Western academic tradition confers.

They can say all the same stuff and provide educational services, they just can't market it in that particular way. No free speech issues. It's like the financial organizations who don't want to have to conform to banking regulations so they call themselves a "Banc" instead of a "Bank".
posted by XMLicious at 12:19 PM on October 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Key provisions of the law appear to have been enacted in 1975 and 1978. Capella wasn't founded until the 1990s, so you can't blame them for it.

The Office of Higher Education should consult with the State AG's office and get an opinion regarding the continued constitutionality of the law, at least as applied to free and non-degree programs. That would be one way to move in their bureaucratic world towards a more sensible policy.

In a sane world, the Minnesota Legislature would amend the act after it comes back into session in January.
posted by Area Man at 12:21 PM on October 19, 2012


The laws were enacted before things like Coursera existed. They're choosing to enforce a reasonable interpretation of the law, and since it has negative consequences, the law will soon change. This is a normal path for changing legislation! No need to freak out!
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:37 PM on October 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah. That seems like a pretty bold-faced 1st Amendment violation.

It's worth keeping in mind that commercial speech rights trail behind individual speech rights by quite a bit. It's only within the last 100 years that any rights to commercial speech were recognized at all. We still are very comfortable with the compulsion of commercial speech; see, for example, required sign posting.
posted by phearlez at 12:39 PM on October 19, 2012


Rarely is the question asked, is our Legislatures learning?
posted by blue_beetle at 12:43 PM on October 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's like the financial organizations who don't want to have to conform to banking regulations so they call themselves a "Banc" instead of a "Bank".

And so begins the rise of the online Umiversity.
posted by grog at 12:43 PM on October 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


Quickly - Anyone working on online education startups in MN most likely will try to get a toe hold of an user base and also find funding here in Minnesota... Knowing a bit about how investment works here MN, its safe to say if the state frowns on online education providers and startups, local investors are going to be a bit more cautious as well, which is a shame and stifles innovation.

Yes, that doesn't address the case here AT ALL, which is why I'm not sure that we both have the same understanding...this law affects providers of services who ARE NOT located in MN. How would that have a chilling effect on MN businesses? Now, to the extent that all education providers INSIDE MN may also need to be registered, that's a separate issue, but again, not really any evidence of a nefarious plot on the part of MN state govt.
posted by OmieWise at 12:49 PM on October 19, 2012


humanfont: "Education is speech."

Whoa whoa whoa hold on a second here. Let me just break down the future SC case: Money is speech, and education is not money, therefore education is not speech.
posted by mullingitover at 12:51 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have no idea why, but this "smoove move" reminds me of a remark by departing Dean of the Institute of Technology Athelstan Spilhaus, who referred to the UofM as a "great grey mediocrity."

Maybe its the recently displayed wit and wisdom of Michelle Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty that remind of the remark instead. Remember a day when college students used to decide who the professors were? I don't, grandpa, but that day may be returning just in time to keep all students from being bankrupted for life by overgrasping Institutions.
posted by Twang at 12:55 PM on October 19, 2012


If Coursera has no physical locations in Minnesota, isn't this also a Commerce Clause violation?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 1:03 PM on October 19, 2012


Education is speech. The state probably wants authority over that. Our constitution says otherwise.

Each sentence here makes sense, but together they mean nothing.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:06 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


While I understand the intent of the legislation that is preventing Coursera from offering courses in Minnesota, I also don't quite see how it applies. Coursera doesn't use the word "university" or "college" in its name and it doesn't award degrees.
posted by asnider at 1:14 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


asnider, from the Slate article:
That means that it's Stanford, Columbia, Michigan, the University of Melbourne, et al. that are violating Minnesota law by partnering with Coursera to offer courses that Minnesota residents can take for free.
So it isn't Coursera, per se. It is the universities and colleges offering the courses through Coursera.

(Seems like a gray area to me.)
posted by jillithd at 1:32 PM on October 19, 2012


Omie - Hmm. OK a little bit of clarity - I work right next to and occasionally hang out with a guys who are doing an online education based startup based here in Minnesota , and in arguably the startup hub for Minnesota (which might be a seed of some of the dismay with the State of Minnesota's actions).

If I had a startup that was in the online education space based here in MN but registered in Delaware (many startups are) and I was looking for funders or my next round - actions like this by the State of Minnesota are going to spook investors (especially here in conservative MN) and make getting funds to keep the creative work going tougher... for starters.
posted by specialk420 at 1:59 PM on October 19, 2012


(The fee can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, plus a $1,200 annual renewal.)

How much funding does Coursera have? That doesn't seem like a high bar...

If every government took Minnesota's approach, free online education probably wouldn't exist, because the cost of compliance and registration in all 50 states, let alone other countries, would be prohibitive.


$50K/yr is not a lot of money if you are offering courses in all 50 states... but let's hear from the innovation stiflers themselves:
George Roedler, manager of institutional registration and licensing at the Minnesota Office of Higher education, clarifies that his office's issue isn't with Coursera per se, but with the universities that offer classes through its website. State law prohibits degree-granting institutions from offering instruction in Minnesota without obtaining permission from the office and paying a registration fee. (The fee can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, plus a $1,200 annual renewal.) That means that it's Stanford, Columbia, Michigan, the University of Melbourne, et al. that are violating Minnesota law by partnering with Coursera to offer courses that Minnesota residents can take for free.

"It's not like we're sending the police out if somebody signs up online," Roedler adds. "It's just that the school is operating contrary to state law."
The law's intent is to protect Minnesota students from wasting their money on degrees from substandard institutions, Roedler says. As such, he suspects that Coursera's partner institutions would have little trouble obtaining the registration. He says he had hoped to work with Coursera to achieve that, and was surprised when they responded with the terms-of-service change notifying Minnesota residents of the law.
I'm just shocked that a business actually has to comply with state regulations. Is everyone in silicon valley just so used to getting blowjobs every time they say "creative destruction" that they forget that actual businesses have to comply with actual state and federal regulations?
posted by ennui.bz at 1:59 PM on October 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


A rather simple distinction needs to be made:
educational materials online should be ok if they do not come with, offer, allow, for credits toward any degree program--that is the task of the State and accreditation outfits.

If I have a blog and I teach you stuff about biology, that is ok. If by contrast, a university teaches the same stuff, but simply for educational purposes but without any accredited credits, then I see nothing wrong with that.
posted by Postroad at 2:05 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The laws were enacted before things like Coursera existed. They're choosing to enforce a reasonable interpretation of the law, and since it has negative consequences, the law will soon change. This is a normal path for changing legislation! No need to freak out!

I have this (completely uninformed) theory that this is a deliberate move by someone at the Office of Higher Education to force the legislature to update the law. Maybe I've listened to too much Prairie Home Companion, but isn't suddenly following the letter of the law a time-honored way to highlight bad laws?

Of course, this could also be political thievery by Capella and the other for-profit schools, but I wouldn't underestimate the skill with which Minnesotan public institutions can wield their passive-aggression.

(My wife works for the MN Legislature -- I will very subtly imply that I might like her to keep me informed, if it's not too much trouble.)
posted by nicething at 2:10 PM on October 19, 2012


Honest question here, can anybody just say they're a doctor or lawyer and dispense medical or legal advice willy nilly?

That is an interesting point. Should se also ask the state to shutdown WebMD?
posted by humanfont at 2:17 PM on October 19, 2012


I will very subtly imply that I might like her to keep me informed, if it's not too much trouble.

Classic Minnesota spousal communication.
posted by Area Man at 2:18 PM on October 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I really feel that these old-fashioned, out-dated laws from the 1970s are getting in the way of our innovative, 21st century entrepreneurs who are trying to recycle the rhetoric and approach of the 1920s correspondence course movement.
posted by AlsoMike at 2:48 PM on October 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


WebMD.com - not actually an MD
FedEx.com - not actually my ex
Zombo.com - not actually able to do anything with
posted by zippy at 3:04 PM on October 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


I was once involved with a .com that had a secret weapon. They had a guy that was himself personally licensed to sell insurance in all 50 states. There are a lot of industries like that that. Decades of scams and shady operators have ensured all sorts of industries have a barrier to entry. The invention of the Internet didn't change that.

The law in question is meant to force "schools" to register and furnish certain information that show they aren't fly by night scams.

They define a school as:

any public or private postsecondary educational institution located in another state or country which offers or makes available to a Minnesota resident any course, program or educational activity which does not require the leaving of the state for its completion; or

I didn't see "postsecondary educational institution" defined so I suppose it means what we think it means.

They are saying, you want to offer classes, you gotta register. This is just the cost of doing business. I don't think providing the information they want or paying the fee is a high hurdle for a legit operation. Of course providing the information might be a high hurdle indeed for a scam operation.

That is an interesting point. Should se also ask the state to shutdown WebMD?

I can give medical advice all day, moms do it all the time. I can't write prescriptions and neither can WebMD.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:05 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I didn't see "postsecondary educational institution" defined so I suppose it means what we think it means.

If legislation in the States is anything like in Canada, I'd guess that there is a legal definition of what counts as a postsecondary education institution. It means something specific, and I'd imagine the law defines it somewhere.
posted by asnider at 3:31 PM on October 19, 2012


If legislation in the States is anything like in Canada, I'd guess that there is a legal definition of what counts as a postsecondary education institution. It means something specific, and I'd imagine the law defines it somewhere.

Yeah I looked through the Definitions section of the law but didn't see it. Probably hidden in there somewhere.

Additionally some of the comments to the slate article say they are misapplying the law.

Bottom line, they should have considered Coursera, since it offers no degrees at all, under their “Private Career Schools” statute (Chapter 141) rather than under their “Private and Public Postsecondary Education Act (136A.61-71)”. The latter act is concerned with (1) degree granting institutions and (2) schools that call themselves universities or colleges as part of their name. Coursera grants no degrees and doesn't call itself anything except “Coursera” (or coursera.org), so it is really bizarre that they decided to regulate it under 136A.61-71.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:39 PM on October 19, 2012


Right but you don't take Coursera's Astronomy or Organic Chemistry course; you clearly take Duke's astronomy course or U. of Illinois's Organic Chemistry course, offered through Coursera's technology platform. That's all over the way Coursera markets itself and I don't really see any other way to interpret what you're getting when you take a course there.
posted by secretseasons at 3:49 PM on October 19, 2012


Right but you don't take Coursera's Astronomy or Organic Chemistry course

Is the author of the course really relevant? I don't think the law is to prevent people from learning but to prevent unscrupulous operators from offering certificates that are actually worthless to unsuspecting people who think otherwise. Personally I think whether people pay or not is immaterial as well, if they invested time for something that may have been misrepresented they suffered damages no?

I don't have any particular knowlege here and if if coursera is making it clear all this is for funnies the above really doesn't apply right? I just think we should err in the side of protecting consumers.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:00 PM on October 19, 2012


I don't think the law is to prevent people from learning but to prevent unscrupulous operators from offering certificates that are actually worthless to unsuspecting people who think otherwise.

I look forward to MN banning law degrees.
posted by srboisvert at 4:37 PM on October 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is not a rehash of correspondence courses. There are live sessions in weber like platforms, meet ups/study groups and many of profs are even traveling around giving in person office hours for the classes.
posted by humanfont at 4:48 PM on October 19, 2012


Well, they seem to have seen the light.
posted by nicething at 5:09 PM on October 19, 2012


Wow, well thats good news - Larry Pogemiller is a pretty cool guy. Nice to see the internet work like that if its messy (ahem) sometimes.
posted by specialk420 at 5:35 PM on October 19, 2012


Wow, well thats good news - Larry Pogemiller is a pretty cool guy. Nice to see the internet work like that if its messy (ahem) sometimes.
Is he really? He is the director of the office that told Coursera to get out of Minnesota in the first place, only relenting after media / internet backlash.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:13 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Director might not be aware of every single letter sent by the Office. Pogemiller does have a good reputation in MN. As the former majority leader of the Minnesota Senate, he's might be the right guy to lobby to get the law changed.
posted by Area Man at 6:27 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Agree w areaman - I've met him a number of times and he seems to be a "cool guy". He was previously my state rep for a decade or so, usually on my version of the right side of the issues. Good to see that is the case this afternoon as well.
posted by specialk420 at 9:21 PM on October 19, 2012


Minnesota Decides Not to Suck After All, Legalizes Free Online College Courses
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:10 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


He is the director of the office that told Coursera to get out of Minnesota in the first place
Yeah, I'd really like to see precisely what Coursera was told, and how they were told whatever it was they were told. That bit of information is suspiciously missing in all this, the most direct evidence being the change in Coursera's terms of service, and the rest of it all seeming to be hulabaloo over that. If I know lawyers that write terms of service at all, I know they'll throw any bit of crap in there they can. And if I know the media and the Internet, a juicy store wins out over the truth every time, and there's nothing more juicy than the libertarian outrage against over-reaching government.
posted by Llama-Lime at 11:50 PM on October 19, 2012


Noted First Amendment scholar Eugene Volokh

And torture supporter.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:09 AM on October 20, 2012


"Hey, they're trying to learn for free!"

You know, this kind of pisses me off. I don't know if it's a joke, or what...


It's a line from The Simpsons: http://www.snpp.com/episodes/2F19.html
posted by neuron at 7:53 AM on October 20, 2012


The Coursera course I am taking is better than 95% of the courses I took in college.
posted by Sassenach at 8:09 AM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


and there's nothing more juicy than the libertarian outrage against over-reaching government.

Ding ding ding! Oh, the outraged facebook posts of my libertarian acquaintances about this thing.
posted by jillithd at 12:01 PM on October 20, 2012


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