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Here's an interesting new topic for Blend-Onliners:

In reference to the article below, I think I must be missing something - are they saying it is illegal for a Minnesota state resident who is interested in learning, at no charge, for no credit, to participate in a MOOC? (!) Now that is state authorization extreme! Are Coursera and Udacity "universities"  - or would this fall to the actual university behind the Coursera or Udacity course? How do they define an "online course" ?


Clark Shah-Nelson
Sr. Instructional Designer, Center for Teaching and Learning
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
111 Market Pl. Ste. 830 Baltimore, MD 21202
voice/SMS: +1-410-929-0070 --- IM, Skype, Twitter: clarkshahnelson

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Education Industry Insights <>
Date: Sun, Oct 21, 2012 at 1:47 PM
Subject: Free Online Courses Banned

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Free Online Course Challenges in cross-border e-learning requires institutions enrolling state residents in postsecondary courses to secure state approval. How is presence defined?  State approvals create challenges for MOOC’s how will they overcome? How is learning validated and credentialed – certificates, badges – real academic credentials? Can  the Council of States Governments and the Presidents Forum develop a State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA).
Free Online Courses Banned – Minnesota Gives Coursera the Boot, Citing a Decades-Old Law Coursera offers free, online courses to people around the world, but if you live in Minnesota, company officials are urging you to log off or head for the border.

The state’s Office of Higher Education has informed the popular provider of massive open online courses, or MOOC’s, that Coursera is unwelcome in the state because it never got permission to operate there. It’s unclear how the law could be enforced when the content is freely available on the Web, but Coursera updated its Terms of Service to include the following caution:

Notice for Minnesota Users:

Coursera has been informed by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education that under Minnesota Statutes (136A.61 to 136A.71), a university cannot offer online courses to Minnesota residents unless the university has received authorization from the State of Minnesota to do so. If you are a resident of Minnesota, you agree that either (1) you will not take courses on Coursera, or (2) for each class that you take, the majority of work you do for the class will be done from outside the State of Minnesota.

Tricia Grimes, a policy analyst for the state’s Office of Higher Education, said letters had been sent to all postsecondary institutions known to be offering courses in Minnesota. 

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Hi, As far as I know, the MOOC issue is moot by now: - Gerd.
Great - thanks for the clarification, Gerd!  Whew - that was more like what I was hoping to see - an opportunity to promote lifelong learning. :)