Minnesota Bans Free Online College Courses from Coursera. I Give Up.

You know what would be terrible? If someone figured out a way to make the very best college courses available for free online to anyone who wanted them. 

Oh wait! Someone did! Coursera, a California-based startup, offers dozens of free courses from top American universities (think Stanford, Princeton, Caltech, Duke). They don't grant degrees. They just take material that was previously available to handful of uber-achievers who happen to have more than $100,000 to spend on tuition and make it available for free to everyone with an Internet connection. Here's what Coursera says about their goals:

We hope to give everyone access to the world-class education that has so far been available only to a select few. We want to empower people with education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in.

Naturally, they must be stopped.

Luckily Minnesota is on the case. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports:

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. 

The result is this notice in Coursera's terms of service:

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.

Well done, North Star State. I bet no Minnesotans will use their totally unrestricted (and basically unrestrictable) Internet access to take Penn's Neuroethics course or Stanford's six week series on Game Theory now. They are safe from free, super awesome online courses.

Idiots.

UPDATE: Marginal Revolution University is fighting back!

Tyler and I wish to be perfectly clear: unlike Coursera, we will not shut down MRU to the residents of Minnesota. We are prepared to defend our rights under the First Amendment to teach the good people of Minnesota all about the Solow Model, water policy in Africa, and the economics of garlic–even if we have to do so from a Minnesota jail!

UPDATE: Minnesota backs down! Read all about it here.

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  • The Late P Brooks||

    Freedom from dangerous ideas is what made this country great!

  • Aresen||

    Freedom from thought is a fundamental right!

    (Excuse me while I barf.)

  • R C Dean||

    How can this possibly be Constitutional? They aren't charging, they aren't offering degrees, they are merely . . . communicating.

  • Rich||

    A lotta guys might say this is unConstitutional.

    /Minnesotan

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Penaltax.

  • Aresen||

    LALALALALALALALALALALALALALALA!!!!!

    Minnesota can't hear you.

  • Pro Libertate||

    There's no way this passes constitutional muster. It's a prior restraint of free speech. The only angle they'd have would be if the program offered degrees or certifications, which the state could regulate to some extent (under current law, that is).

  • ||

    Yes, but now we're back to standing again. I bet most courts would throw the case out until Coursera got fined. Until then, the modification to TC wouldn't be seen as "prior restraint".

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's a published prohibition. I don't see how it's not prior restraint.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    It's not a prohibition on speech, though. It's a prohibition on identifying one's material as a university course. That falls under the fraud exception to the 1st amendment.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's only with commercial speech, and it's not entirely an exception.

  • ||

    and if the material is being offered for FREE, the fraud exception is almost 100% a no go. you can't defraud somebody when you are selling something for "free". defraud them of WHAT ?

  • Calidissident||

    How is this fraudulent?

  • Rick Santorum||

    Defrauding our Marxist intelligentsia of Pell Grants.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It might be harder for a citizen to sue, based on the fact that the material is still available, but the company is being told that it can't deliver its message into the state. That's a prior restraint. I don't think the fact that there's no specific penalty threatened changes that.

  • DJK||

    Agreed - definitely prior restraint. Doesn't Coursera have standing to sue, as they're the ones whose speech is being restricted by the law?

    Pretty sure this should be a slam dunk under 1st and 14th Amendment jurisprudence. Anyone know if there are other issues involved (I'm thinking copyrights)?

  • ||

    Yes, but it hasn't been materially restricted from such. They modified their TC. There was no expense undertaken and they don't, in fact, do anything to prevent delivery. So I think Prior Restraint is difficult to argue here.

  • DJK||

    Huh? The 1st Amendment says "shall make no law", not "shall not enforce". I'm pretty sure that any federal court would strike this down on prior restraint grounds.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    What makes you so sure? There's no credible threat of enforcement. Prior restraint requires restraint.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    It also requires "prior"

  • DJK||

    Nebraska Press Assn v. Stuart:
    "A prior restraint...by definition, has an immediate and irreversible sanction. If it can be said that a threat of criminal or civil sanctions after publication 'chills' speech, prior restraint 'freezes' it at least for the time."

    Carroll v. Princess Anne:
    "Any prior restraint on expression comes to this Court with a 'heavy presumption' against its constitutional validity...Respondent thus carries a heavy burden of showing justification for the imposition of such a restraint."

  • DJK||

    I think the definition in Nebraska Press Assn v. Stuart is pretty clear. Prior restraint happens prior to my attempt to publish something. And it has an immediate and irreversible sanction. Here, the law enjoining Coursera from publishing in MN is definitely prior. And it has an immediate and irreversible sanction of Coursera being restricted from speech in MN. At the very least, this is a plausible legal theory.

    Couple that with Carroll v. Princess Anne and Near v. Minnesota, where the SCOTUS basically said that the only real exceptions to freedom of speech occur when the government has an overwhelming public safety interest (e.g. war, crowded theaters, etc). This means that the government has a very high burden of proof for arguing that this law is legal.

    Given this, I don't think it would be hard for a decent lawyer to win on this in federal court.

  • DJK||

    MN Statutes Section 136A.71:

    "Upon application of the attorney general the district courts shall have jurisdiction to enjoin any violations of sections 136A.61 to 136A.71."

    That's an immediate and irreversible sanction.

  • DJK||

    Last point. I was concerned that the statutes may not even apply because Coursera isn't a "university" under MN law. It seems they are.

    Subd. 3.School.
    "School" means:
    (1) any partnership, company, firm, society, trust, association, corporation, or any combination thereof, which (i) is, owns, or operates a private, nonprofit postsecondary education institution; (ii) is, owns, or operates a private, for-profit postsecondary education institution; or (iii) provides a postsecondary instructional program or course leading to a degree whether or not for profit;

    (2) 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

    (3) any individual, entity, or postsecondary institution located in another state that contracts with any school located within the state of Minnesota for the purpose of providing educational programs, training programs, or awarding postsecondary credits or continuing education credits to Minnesota residents that may be applied to a degree program.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    It's extremely stupid, assuming they don't purport to offer degrees (I haven't RTFAed), but I don't see an issue with the first amendment. They can communicate any ideas they want so long as they're not calling their content a university course.

  • robc||

    They dont offer degrees. They do offer a certificate of completion, which is no different than corporate training courses I have taught.

    Naming something is part of the 1st amendment. And it isnt fraud to call it a university course. Its a non-degree granting, non-accredited university.

  • ||

    "You can say whatever you want, as long as you don't say you're a university."

    Yeah. TOTALLY no contradiction.

  • ||

    Oops.

    "You can say whatever you want, as long as you don't say you're a university."

    Yeah. TOTALLY no contradiction.

    There we go.

  • Jesse James Dean||

    I thought the first one was actually better lol

  • ant1sthenes||

    Yep. Education, in and of itself, is speech. And it's probably the most critical speech after political speech (maybe even more important than political speech).

  • Zeb||

    Nope. Definitely no first amendment problems there.

  • Sterling's Gold||

    I'm trying to remember why I still live in this state. Especially with winter coming. I assume it must be the great beer selection at Old Chicago.

  • robc||

    There are plenty of places outside Minnesota that have a better beer selection than any Old Chicago.

  • Loki||

    Old Chicago is a national chain. We have several in the Denver metro area for example. Point being, you don't have to stay in Minnesota for that. Also, what robc said.

  • robc||

    We have an Old Chicago in Louisville. I dont go to it because the beer selection is so weak.

    We have approximately infinity places in Louisville with better beer.

    I can only imagine that in Denver it must be approximately 2 times infinity plus 3.

  • Loki||

    It's been a while since I last went to an Old Chicago's, but I seem to recall them having a pretty vast assortment of beer. Although that speaks for quantity vs. quality, but some of them did have some pretty decent stuff, as well as a lot of crap. I imagine they have to be a little better here in order to compete with all the local brewpubs. I mainly stopped going there because their food wasn't that great.

  • robc||

    Vast assortment of mediocre stuff is what I remember. However, I did see an article about a year ago about them realizing they havent kept up with the times and experimenting with a tighter but higher quality beer list.

    Basically, the CEO said they had an awesome beer list for 1995 but hadnt changed with the times.

    While Louisville isnt Denver, we have a few quality brewpubs AND a number of top notch beer bars (one of the ten US-based Zwanze Day bars from last year, for example), and our Old Chicago cant hang.

    Also, agree on the food.

  • robc||

    Just saw the 2012 Zwanze Day list, it was finally released this week. 16 US sites this year.

    Holy Grale in Louisville is on the list again.
    As is Crooked Stave in Denver.

  • dunkel||

    you lucky bastards (again) and Crooked Stave is teh awesome.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I lived there for a while. Nice enough, but too cold, too statist, and too weird.

  • Rich||

    If you are a resident of Minnesota, you agree that ... for each class that you take, the majority of work you do for the class will be done from outside the State of Minnesota.

    Huh?

  • Randian||

    Because if the majority of the work done for the class is done within Minnesota, then the business is operating within the state of Minnesota.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Don't you get it?

    These people are offering false hope. Saps who confuse the value of an education with the value of a piece of paper might study these materials and foolishly decide not to attend the university of Minnesota. They might even get the crazy notion they should be hired based on what they have learned independently despite the fact there is no certification of their erudition.

    Oh, the humanity.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I bet no Minnesotans will use their totally unrestricted (and basically unrestrictable) Internet access to take Penn's Neuroethics course or Stanford's six week series on Game Theory now.

    Or even courses that are worth their time.

  • robc||

    Huh.

    I was thinking about checking out that game theory course.

  • The Craig||

    What about Principles of Obesity Economics?

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    What about Principles of Obesity Economics?

    I was going to make a crack about how that course sounds almost plausible.
    But I decided to check, just to be absolutely sure.
    Crap, it exists!

  • The Craig||

    Did you check out the picture of the professor? Let's say, I was not surprised.

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    The skinny geek?
    I was looking more at the course description and syllabus, "epidemiology of obesity" (as if it's contagious),
    "limits of consumer sovereignty" (we're helpless),
    "the role for government based on market failure" (force the right choices),
    "discuss how incentives, information, and constraints affect individuals' choices of food and activity levels and result in individuals being widely varying weights."
    There's also a reading list that basically ascribes everything to hyperpalatability ignoring that the biological basis for hunger happens at the hormonal and cellular level.

  • The Craig||

    Or Contraception: Choices, Culture and Consequences

  • Redland Jack||

    Though I don't know about the particular course, Game Theory is pretty fun and relatively accessible (for the most part, people take 'applied game theory', which really only requires algebra).

  • Hugh Akston||

    It's just a shame that reality fails to live up to the clever theories that those academics spend so much time concocting.

  • Aresen||

    Still can't get your head around the Monty Hall Problem?

    Thomas Bayes is not for the challenged.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I assume the Monty Hall Problem is some sort of euphemism for the infiltration of America's borders by Canadians. And I do have a solution. A final solution, you might say.

  • Redland Jack||

    The Monty Hall thing is, I believe, more of a pure probability question, albeit still interesting in a counterintuitive way.

  • Aresen||

    It is an example of how beautifully a theory can describe reality.

    I admit that I really struggled with the Monty Hall Problem until they demonstrated it on Mythbusters.

  • robc||

    My problem with Mythbusters is once they showed the math, why go thru the actual experiment of opening fake doors 100 times?

  • Zeb||

    Because Mythbusters, while entertaining, is really aimed at idiots.

  • ||

    "A picture speaks a 1000 words."

    Just because you and most other posters here at the commentariat instantly get the math, robc, doesn't mean every other schlep out there does, and a practical demonstration really drives home the point.

  • robc||

    A math equation is worth 1000 pictures.

    Or 1 million words.

  • Aresen||

    A single ugly fact can destroy a billion theories, no matter how beautiful the math is.

  • Aresen||

    While I could follow Bayes' argument, it wsa so counterintuitive that I really did need an experimental demonstration to get it.

  • mr simple||

    That's true, it is just a probablility problem because it doesn't have a second party, which is necessary for a game.

    I took a game theory class recently. My professor actually assigned lectures from Yale's online free courses so we could cover material faster.

  • ||

    I just looked it up. It didn't make sense to me until I saw the table of the different scenarios. You basically have to think of the 3 possible door setups, and not just the setup you have. In 2 of the 3 possible door setups, switching gets you the car. I can understand why they'd want to demonstrate it multiple times.

  • robc||

    There are only 18 possibilities.

    3 choices, 3 doors, switch/dont swith.

    3x3x2=18.

    There was no need to do a random sampling when you can do all the possibilities with even less work.

  • Redland Jack||

    It might fall under the designation of a good tool, used poorly...

  • Rasilio||

    No the central problem with game theory is that it ignores human motivations and assumes that the mathematically optimal solution is synonomous with the best solution.

    It is still useful to know what those mathematical optimization points are and where humans tend to deviate from them, but one cannot assume that doing so is a mistake because ones goals may not be what the game assumes.

  • Zeb||

    Wouldn't that be a problem of one interpretation of the theory rather than of the theory itself?

  • Numeromancer||

    The beauty of game theory is that it shows which solutions are optimal, and that human motivations are not optimal in some “games”. It also shows that those motivations often are optimal when you're playing the right game.

  • John Thacker||

    Quite a bit of game theory very useful in showing that reality fails to live up to the clever theories that other academics spend so much time proposing.

    Perhaps on occasion it may assume that people behave in a rational manner too much; I assume that for the same reason you criticize economics?

  • Loki||

    The course on nanotechnology from Rice University looks like it could be interesting. Sadly it doesn't look like they have any aerospace engineering courses. I've been thinking about going back for a Master's degree, and it would be nice to be able to bone up on some the stuff I haven't used in the 11 years since undergrad. Just so I'm not completely lost.

  • ||

    The course on nanotechnology from Rice University looks like it could be interesting.

    Do you learn to make Von Neumann machines?

  • T||

    It's way late, and you probably won't see this, but MIT offers open courseware on the internet that I presume includes aerospace topics.

  • Ken Shultz||

    These courses are being offered across state lines, so, obviously, it's the federal government that should be getting involved. It's all about the commerce.

    Actually, nowadays, the federal government can require Minnesotans to take online college courses--and pay for them, too, right?

  • John||

    It is flat out a negative commerce clause violation. If an out of state company started giving away product as part of a promotion, Minnesota couldn't prevent those goods from going to Minnesota. This is no different.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    More like make me pay for them to take them. Or is that what you meant?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Well they can require you to buy broccoli.

    They can require you to buy health insurance.

    Why can't they require you to take online college courses--and pay for them, too?

  • Aresen||

    I have no doubt that they would be perfectly willing to make me pay for online courses.

    But I doubt they can actually force anyone to learn from such courses.

  • R C Dean||

    I'm not even sure its commerce, as there is no exchange of value that I can see.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I thought they decided that was unnecessary. That because not exchanging goods can affect the exchange of goods and pricing, an exchange of value is unnecessary to justify invoking the commerce clause.

  • John||

    It has been 20 years since I thought much about 1st Amendment law. But since the courses are free, how is this commercial speech? This seems to be a straight up 1st Amendment Issue. If some random professor decided to broadcast his lectures to world on the internet, no way could Minnesota censor them. How is this any different other than there is a collective group of profs doing it?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    If some random citizen decided to broadcast his political views on Hillary Clinton, no one would say he should be censored. Every liberal appears to think it's somehow different when there is a collective group of citizens doing it.

  • Loki||

    For collectivists they sure seem to despise collective action that.

  • Loki||

    that

    Random shit to get the squirrels to not mark this as spam.

  • John Thacker||

    Collective voluntary group of citizens.

    If people are coerced by their fellow citizens, that's no problem.

  • Aresen||

    If some random citizen decided to broadcast his political views on Hillary Clinton, no one would say he should be censored.


    Visited feministag lately?
  • Rasilio||

    Um, because Fuck you?

    It's the only reason I got.

  • Zeb||

    Seems pretty blatant. Coursera should have just ignored Minnesota and let them do their worst. There is no money changing hands and no electioneering, so I would imagine that any action against Coursera would get tossed pretty quickly in court. Outside of the big blind spots of commerce, porn and political ads, free speech is pretty strongly protected, so far.

  • R C Dean||

    Coursera should have just ignored Minnesota and let them do their worst.

    That's pretty much what they're doing with their laughable disclaimer.

  • DJK||

    John, John, John,

    How naive of you. Don't you realize that Coursera offering free classes has an impact on the market for non-free classes? Commerce Clause, baby. Which gives the feds the power to give the Minnesotans the power to call it commercial speech. Which can totally be regulated. Or something like that.

    Obviously, this is wrong. But I don't think it's too far from what your typical leftist anti-federalist might claim.

  • DJK||

    By wrong, I mean I hope there's no one stupid enough to make that assertion.

  • Zeb||

    Nah. I bet most leftists would think this is stupid too. This is pure authoritarian bureaucrat bullshit.

  • BoscoH||

    There is a very good reason for this. The state wants to ensure that all spoken dialect in these courses is understandable to Minnesotans.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Oh geez!

  • ||

    Oh ya. You betchya.

    Duck duck grey duck.

  • Ken Shultz||

    They don't even "grey duck" in Canada!

    Where the hell do they get these things?

  • KDN||

    The hell is "grey duck"? That went completely over my head.

  • Ken Shultz||

    They don't play "duck, duck, goose".

    They play "duck, duck, grey goose".

    It's the only place in the world where they do that, and despite what Lisa's saying down below, there doesn't seem to be any explanation other than that it's a Minnesota thing.

    I'll always be grateful the Replacements and especially Husker Du, but seriously--"duck, duck, grey goose" doesn't make any sense.

    It makes no sense at all.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1sYN0PuRs4

  • Ken Shultz||

    *EDIT*

    "duck, duck, grey duck"

    You know what I mean!

  • ant1sthenes||

    You picked the wrong day to quit drinking vodka?

  • Lisa||

    "grey duck"

    You non-minnesotans don't get it. The grey duck way is much better due to the fact that you can add all kinds of adjectives to the other "ducks" in the circle based on what they look like or are wearing. "curly haired duck, polka dot duck, etc"

  • Ken Shultz||

    Sounds racist.

  • Lisa||

    and a disproportionate number of Minnesota kids look Aryan, but that's just a coincidence I swear.

  • Aresen||

    You mean, no words with more than nine letters or two syllables?

  • Loki||

    I've heard that parts of Minneapolis-St. Paul are infested with hipsters, maybe that has something to do with this. I mean, if anyone can get the same education that their parents payed huge sums of money for, that will be one less thing for them to feel smug about. They might even have to face the fact that their farts do in fact stink as much as everyone else's. /random excuse to get hipster hate on.

    I think I've been spending too much time on diehipster.com.

  • ||

    And the state of Minnesota is going to enforce this....how? What is the penalty for logging onto the coursera's site and reading or listening? This truly is insane.

    The Minnesota office of higher ed is appointed? elected? who are these motherfuckers?

  • Franklin Harris||

    They way I read this insane decision, it's also illegal for anyone in Minnesota to watch Khan Academy videos on YouTube, or, indeed, possibly any academic lectures on YouTube.

  • Aresen||

    Well, at least they can still go to free poker sites to learn elementary statistics.

    OOPS, Forgot that the Feds banned that.

  • AuH2O||

    This is some straight up Simpsons-level parody of education.

    "Oh no! The children might be learning something!"

  • ||

    Bart: So long, Johnny Tremaine. Your Newberry award won't save you now. [throws the book into the fire]
    Principal Skinner: Not Huck Finn! I spent hours crossing out the sass-back!

  • cgy1||

    Those anti-education anti-intellectual Rethuglicans!!!!!11!! Oh wait...

  • sticks||

  • sticks||

    *MRU

  • ||

    Stanford's six week series on Game Theory

    joe doesn't need to take that, anyway. He knows all about NASH EQUILIBRIA.

  • Ken Shultz||

    DEMAN KURV!

  • Trespassers W||

    FACT PWNED

  • The Late P Brooks||

    It's a published prohibition. I don't see how it's not prior restraint.

    No one was harmed.

    hth

  • Pro Libertate||

    So if a state government had told The New York Times that it couldn't circulate the articles on the Pentagon Papers, that's not prior restraint? What's the doctrine mean if it can never apply because there's no standing?

  • DJF||

    Next step is to ban unauthorized books, we can't have the peasants getting ideas.

  • LilDebbie||

    first of all, thanks for your shitty comment form deleting my comment. why don't you use an existing forum solution instead of whatever crap your hippy web developer shat out?

    second, we clearly need to ban free online courses or how else will the university of minnesota pay people like my old boss north of $200k for managing a 30 person helpdesk?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    What's the doctrine mean if it can never apply because there's no standing?

    Now you're catching on. They never said the NYT couldn't publish ANYTHING, so replacing the Pentagon Papers with recipes for apple pan dowdy alleviates any harm. No harm, no foul. See?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Do you think that somewhere, somehow, a recipe is classified? I mean a recipe for apple pie or something like that--nothing special about it, just a pie recipe.

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    Yes, I do. The government will classify a paper at the drop of a hat with no reason behind it just to be careful CYA and all of that. I'm sure some paper with a pie recipe or an MRE recipe is in fact classified.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yeah, I do, too. I think Reason should go all out to find a classified apple pie recipe and publish it. Reserving funds for litigation later, of course.

    Blueberry pie is also acceptable, provided that it's classified.

  • Jesse James Dean||

    cherry?

  • Lisa||

    I grew up in Minnesota and still go back to visit family. I can attest to the statism. I think the liberals are a bit insecure about being in the midwest (a reasonable cost of living and low crime is sooo embarrassing) so they try their hardest to match the insanity normally seen on the coasts.

    A good recent example: a recent campaign of billboards and other signs popping up with peaceful and unifying messages like - "it's hard to see racism when you're white" and "is white skin really fair skin?". The mayor of Duluth, who supported the campaign, received some negative emails from white nationalists, who also staged a protest. Further proof of how necessary the message really was.
    http://www.startribune.com/loc.....=yrefer=y

  • ||

    Those should be replaced with MY billboard:

    "It's hard to understand stupidity when you're an idiot."

    It's TWICE as unifying!

  • ||

    im not sure i am getting your point. are you saying these billboards are not deserving of scorn and criticism? you don't have to be a white nationalist, or for that matter and in my case, you don't even have to be white, to find the campaign (or what i see here) both stupid and offensive.

    the part about the double take is interestign too. if i, in a patrol car do a double take on a person and they are white, they aren't going to assume it's racially based. if they are a minority, they very well may. i know many police officers, myself included, who will not genreally do a turn around on a car (iow turn around to pull over a car that had been approaching them) given solid PC even, because it creates the APPEARANCE in some people's eyes that it could be racially motivated. if the car is driven by a minority. if driven by a white person, they don't make that assumption

    either way, its not racially motivated, but sadly - perception is reality for many.

    again, i find the billboards offensive, and i don't think it's proof of racism that people were/are offended by them. the ideas they express are stupid and yes can be seen as derogatory towards whites.

  • ||

    I thought she was pointing out the silliness of the billboards:

    I think the liberals are a bit insecure about being in the midwest (a reasonable cost of living and low crime is sooo embarrassing) so they try their hardest to match the insanity normally seen on the coasts.
  • ||

    that seems a reasonable interpretation

  • Lisa||

    Yup.

  • ||

    the state of minn (i;m going to go out on a limb here and assume it's a left leaning state?) is acting like the ancient church. the church tried to keep "the word", the good news, the "gospel" from the people by refusing to translate it into the "vulgate" iow the common language.

    minnesota is doing the same thing here. we can;t allow the common man, the roving hordes access to this course material. they need to pass the "gatekeepers" of knowledge first and have it responsibly doled out by the priests.

    it's really fucking disgusing on so many levels.

  • ||

    I suppose some people might think that your tone is undeservedly rude.

    But I can't.

  • ||

    I think I got offered a job on Coursera after I took Stanford's AI and ML courses last fall. Or something like that. I got an email from Andrew Ng asking if I wanted to submit a resume.

  • ||

    I'm not even sure its commerce, as there is no exchange of value that I can see.

    The consumer is receiving the value of the university course. The universities involved are receiving the value of advertising and good PR, which can result in at the margin students enrolling in the brick and mortar universities who would not have done so otherwise.

    Same as listening to Pandora or broadcast radio -- the advertising is where the value for the broadcaster is gained.

  • ||

    this is almost scalia'esque in its expansion of the meaning of "commerce". congratulations. i didn't think it was possible to outdo scalia vis a vis commerce expansions, but you give a college try

    specifically "receiving the value of good PR" is COMMERCE?

    cmon. that's RIDICULOUS.

    by that metric, anything somebody or some corporation does that brings them good press or accolades is therefore COMMERCE?

    a firefighter saves a person from a burning building. that brings him and his agency good PR.

    therefore, he was engaged in COMMERCE?

    seriously. that's obscene and even our scotus wouldn't go that far with a definition of commerce

  • Ronnie||

    It's true that the state didn't try to regulate Coursera per se--it just told Coursera that all of its university partners were in violation of state law by using Coursera. To comply with state law, each of those universities was going to have to go through the Minnesota Office of Higher Education's application and registration process, pay fees, etc. Minnesota wanted Coursera to work with all of its partners to do that, and Coursera declined, pointing out that it wouldn't be able to offer free courses if all its partner institutions had to pay all 50 states and who-knows-how-many countries in order to participate. So it changed its terms of service instead.
    ------------------
    Education ReInvented @ AskForEducation.Com

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