Innovation has been made illegal in Minnesota

Katherine Mangan:

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:

One thought on “Innovation has been made illegal in Minnesota”

  1. Minnesota Statutues
    136A.61 POLICY.
    The legislature has found and hereby declares that the availability of legitimate courses and programs leading to academic degrees offered by responsible private not-for-profit and for-profit institutions of postsecondary education and the existence of legitimate private colleges and universities are in the best interests of the people of this state. The legislature has found and declares that the state can provide assistance and protection for persons choosing private institutions and programs, by establishing policies and procedures to assure the authenticity and legitimacy of private postsecondary education institutions and programs. The legislature has also found and declares that this same policy applies to any private and public 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.
    The article does not a quote from the message sent by MN to Coursera. I wonder what the message actually said? To give MN the benefit of the doubt, a message from MN could be read as giving Coursera a heads up about trying to offer degrees, rather just courses. As for Coursera, their terms and conditions expressly forbid granting credit for their courses without prior consent.
    So the lingering question is “who jumped the shark”? Did MN misinterpret or misstate the statute, or did Coursera misconstrue some notice from MN?

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