back to article Minnesota backpedals from online education ban

The US state of Minnesota has backed away from a policy that would have banned providers of free web-based higher education from offering courses to its residents. Last week, El Reg reported that online education startup Coursera was forced to add a clause to its terms of service forbidding Minnesotans from taking its courses, …

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Anonymous Coward

Common sense prevails over bureaucratic nonsense!

So far this year, for those keeping score:

Bureaucracy: 18,259,535

Common Sense: 11

; )

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Go

Good for them

That seems to be exactly the sensible thing to do. Go Minnesota!

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Would you mind sourcing this statement:

"Previously, Minnesota officials had made the case that the state's registration law applied equally to online and brick-and-mortar institutions, regardless of whether they charged for their courses."

As I see it, Reg jumped the shark by accepting people's overreaction (downright copying from Ars) based on wording in Coursera's T&Cs. Of course, Minnesota had nothing to do with those terms as the subsequent Ars article indicated. Quote:

"I specifically said that [Coursera] didn’t have to put anything on their website. They could do what they wanted. They could ignore it. They chose this route and the reason I believe they did it was to try to protect the schools in their wake. So be it. That’s what they did."

At no point did Minnesotta backpedal. However, "El Reg backpedals from poorly researched article" makes for a worse headline.

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Headmaster

@solidsoup Indeed. In fact the article in Ars I believe you are quoting from actually makes it....

........clear since it had been updated with the quote you have given by sometime Friday at the latest. George Roedler, the manager of institutional registration and licensing at the Minnesota Office of Higher Education who is speaking in that quote was talking to Ars on Thursday, I posted that link in on that thread here at Reg on Saturday.(The link to both threads are below for those who have not seen them). Reg has really no excuse for claiming that Minnesota have only now on Monday begun to "row back".

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2012/10/19/minnesota_bans_free_online_education/

http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/10/no-minnesota-did-not-kick-coursera-out-of-the-state/

The same author for both Reg articles BTW - I sure that I do not need to expand on that observation, hmm?

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But it WAS a backpedal.

Even if it was nothing official, and merely a public statement that recommonds residents don't partake in free online education, the fact they retracted it means - by definition - they backpedalled.

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Stop

Re: But it WAS a backpedal.

There was never an official or unofficial statement to that effect. So there's nothing to backpedal FROM. Minnesota law only covers courses that are part of academic programs leading to a degree. The quote by George Roedler says as much. Coursera doesn't offer degrees, so the law doesn't apply to them. Coursera out of overabundance of caution unnecessarily added the exclusion for Minnesotans. People overreacted and started attacking Minnesota govt, so they issued a statement clarifying things.

As to the The Register, Neil McAllister didn't research the story properly when he first re-reported it, as by then there were statements by Minnesota govt on Ars (as Arctic Fox above states). Now, in this article he disingenuously claims that Minnesota govt backpedaled, when in fact his initial article didn't cover their position accurately. Overall, I'm not too impressed with work by El Reg SF office in general.

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@solidsoup "Re: But it WAS a backpedal."

See icon.

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Joke

Wasting time?

"to protect Minnesotans from wasting their money – or even their time"

If they charged web sites for wasting people's time online, tvtropes.org would owe trillions.

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FAIL

It's NOT a joke

If they wanted to protect people from wasting their time and money on useless education, a lot of "learning" bearing the official bureaucratic seal of approval would have to be prohibited immediately.

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Paris Hilton

Welcome to good ol' USA

Making people stupider one state at a time.

What really needs to he done is to go over and change/remove laws that have no meaning in this day and age. Just search online for stupid American laws and you will find many that have no place today.

Paris for obvious reasons.

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Trollface

Re: Welcome to good ol' USA

You mean that one about the right to bear arms?

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Big Brother

Re: Welcome to good ol' USA

I do think that one has more and more relevance today.

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Happy

Re: Welcome to good ol' USA

You guys are really jealous about that one.

Must suck to be chav fodder.

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Oh stop bitching!

Somebody got hold of the wrong end of the stick. Within a few days it got sorted. NOW WHAT? (Apart from sarky comments here.) Now various big-wigs are involved pitch all the good things to them so they might champion the 'taxpayer-lite' education system. (Downsides too but that's one way to exploit the interaction for a positive end.) I have my own educational agenda [search for "12rs maturities"] so I'm aware that there's a huge inertia in education. (And at the other end of the spectrum fake degrees.) So let's have a few more comments about how Minnesota could react positively to a genuine attempt to bring learning to everyone.

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Why coursera, not udacity...?

Because for all their bitching about bad university standards, Udacity aren't really trying to be a university. They're turning themselves into a 21st century technology bootcamp. They're getting their next round of courses from all the usual suspects in the computing industry, which means they're going to end up being nothing more than a training camp and outsourced sales department for Microsoft et al.

They're not higher education by any stretch of the imagination.

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