Minnesota Backs Down After Internet Rises Up: Now Encourages Residents To Use Online Learning

from the good-for-them dept

Last week, we were among those who reported on a ridiculous attempt by regulators in Minnesota to enforce a regulation aimed at stopping degree mills, by telling various legitimate online learning providers like Coursera that Minnesota residents couldn't take courses from without state approval. Thankfully, all of the attention has caused Minnesota officials to admit that this was silly and back down. According to Larry Pogemiller, director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education:
Obviously, our office encourages lifelong learning and wants Minnesotans to take advantage of educational materials available on the Internet, particularly if they’re free. No Minnesotan should hesitate to take advantage of free, online offerings from Coursera.
He also said that the obsolete regulations should be updated:
When the legislature convenes in January, my intent is to work with the Governor and Legislature to appropriately update the statute to meet modern-day circumstances. Until that time, I see no reason for our office to require registration of free, not-for-credit offerings.
The internet wins, again.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 5:23am

    "Until that time, I see no reason for our office to require registration of free, not-for-credit offerings. "

    Because demanding money from people doing things for free makes us look like money grubbing out of touch idiots.

    We would have gotten away with it if not for that damned internet!

     

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  2.  
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    John Doe, Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 5:28am

    Trying to hit a fast moving target

    When the legislature convenes in January, my intent is to work with the Governor and Legislature to appropriately update the statute to meet modern-day circumstances.

    So what is this new law going to look like? Seems like it will be trying to hit a fast moving target and itself will be out of date quickly.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 5:34am

    The internet wins, again.

    um, that's super creepy.

    It's kinda like saying, "my yellow phone in the corner over there wins again".

    Please don't do that.

     

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  4.  
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    Michael, Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 5:40am

    Modern day?

    "my intent is to work with the Governor and Legislature to appropriately update the statute to meet modern-day circumstances"

    So the plan is to meet and draft another proposal that will be woefully behind the times as quickly as the old one? The fact that they have to wait until January says it all - technology changes much faster than your legislation.

     

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  5.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 5:54am

    The "Internet wins" by EXAGGERATION.

    Emphasis added:
    "For one day, Minnesota's Office of Higher Education felt the Internet's indignation as word spread that it was cracking down on free online college courses offered through Coursera and other websites. The bizarre bureaucratic decision was first reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education on Thursday morning, and it became Internet-wide news after my blog post about it Thursday evening went viral, thanks in part to the user-generated news board Reddit."

    The Internet in fury a whole day! Note the Sallon source, his self-congratulation, and the tie to Reddit, all classic. It's red-meat for nerd rage with the key point that it's nothing very important. The author page says only that he's a staff writer for Slate. My bet is he's a pal of Mike's.

    Intriuged, went to the supposedly original piece where it began to get vague:
    "The stateís Office of Higher Education has informed the popular provider of massive open online courses, or MOOCís, that Coursera is unwelcome in the state because it never got permission to operate there. Itís 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:"

    "Unwelcome" and "unclear" how would be enforced is FAR from a ban.

    And more importantly turned out OLD:
    "Daphne Koller, a co-founder of Coursera, said she was surprised to receive the letter from Minnesota in July."

    IN JULY! It's not clear what took so long nor how long ago it was resolved.

    Here's the obvious sequence: a minor blogger from Salon ran across this old news, posted it on Reddit to gin up a bit of nerd rage, then Mike (somehow) ran the same piece; then both declare victory, pat themselves all over, not just on back, and fanboys are gaga at their "power". Teh Internets rulez!

    In fact, this old story is a textbook case of Internet exaggeration of nearly nothing. Good start for the week here at Techdirt.

     

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  6.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 6:03am

    Re: The "Internet wins" by EXAGGERATION.

    Minor correction to above: by "Sallon" I mean "Sllate" (sic). Haven't had my coffee yet.

     

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  7.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 6:14am

    Re: Re: The "Internet wins" by EXAGGERATION.

    Or your Thorazine.

    So you won the coin flip and AJ is under the desk keeping you happy for the first hour of posting?

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 6:14am

    i hope the director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education remembers to include in his discussions all the irrelevant patent, trademark and copyright regulations when updating the present obsolete ones. it wont please anyone other than the public if he forgets

     

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  9.  
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    John Doe, Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 6:14am

    Re: The "Internet wins" by EXAGGERATION.

    What do you mean, internet exaggeration? This must be a huge news story if it drew you out of the dredges of the internet. After all, you could be spending your time working toward world peace, solving world hunger or curing cancer. Instead you zeroed in on this story to sink your teeth into.

     

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  10. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 6:24am

    Help keep the government hands off the internet! Vote Libertarian if after you do your research you agree. It wouldn't hurt to "Like" him on facebook either. Thank you

    http://www.garyjohnson2012.com/issues/internet-and-technology
    https://www.facebook.com/govgaryj ohnson

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 6:33am

    Re:

    I want the governments hands tightly around the necks of the corporations.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Lord Binky, Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 6:35am

    Electric Sheeple Dreams

    Ugh, Not this again...

    This was OBVIOUSLY Google's fault spreading misinformation and propaganda.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 6:43am

    +1 for human knowledge

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 6:48am

    Re: Electric Sheeple Dreams

    For SURE

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 7:14am

    "The internet wins, again."

    The internet did no such thing. People win, the internet just sits there being a passive conduit for information and entertainment.

    The internet did nothing. People did something. I agree with the other AC, the way you say it sounds creepy.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Digitari, Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 7:32am

    RE: just people

    See even the most enlightened on TD fail sometimes, it's not just people on the net anymore..........

    http://cleverbot.com/

    this aint people folks..


    most likely this is one (of many) steps to skynet

     

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  17.  
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    Atkray (profile), Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 7:34am

    Re: Modern day?

    I'm not awake enough to check, but I'm hoping the reason they are waiting until January is that they have a part time legislature like Utah has that only meets for a few months thereby limiting the amount of damage they can inflict on the population.

     

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  18.  
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    Haywood (profile), Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 7:38am

    Big Brother law

    If I read this right;
    I'm more than a little disturbed that you still have to have permission to take a "for pay" course. That smells of protectionism for the brick and mortar degree mills.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 7:52am

    No, the internet did not "win". Victory, if this is the appropriate word, belongs to the First Amendment.

     

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  20.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 8:07am

    Re: RE: just people

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    First Amendment, Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 8:29am

    Re:

    Thank You. I would like to start my victory speech off with thanking my mother and father for always believing in me, or is that Fathers, er Anyways....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 10:14am

    The law isn't out of date at all

    If the law prevents not-for-credit educational efforts, the problem isn't that the law is out of date, the problem is that the law is wrong.

    The state has every right to set standards for courses that count as credit towards a degree -- but has no right whatsoever to dictate whether or not people or businesses can teach when the purpose is not to get a degree. Whether or not this is done on the internet is irrelevant.

    It's the degree that is subject to regulation, not the teaching.

     

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  23.  
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    anonymouse (profile), Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 10:39am

    Re: The "Internet wins" by EXAGGERATION.

    your grammar hasn't improved at all since i've become aware of your posts. so, considering grammar and your rant 'tone-of-voice', it's very difficult not to perceive you as a 12y/o internet wannabe tough guy. if you like the impression that you make continue, by all means.

     

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  24.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 11:42am

    Re:

    Come on, everyone understand what the colloquialism means. Do you also find it creepy when other convenient but technically incorrect aggregators are used? Such as "America thinks/does..." and so forth?

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Greg G, Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 11:56am

    Re: Re: Re: The "Internet wins" by EXAGGERATION.

    I'm sorry, but that's funny right there. I don't care who you are (well, unless you're AJ or OOTB.)

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Teaman, Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 9:51pm

    You guys might want to look at this article

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

    It specifically states that Minnesota wasn't at fault here.

    ""I donít care what they do; we donít regulate them," George Roedler, the manager of institutional registration and licensing at the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, told Ars on Thursday.

    "I specifically said that [Coursera] didnít 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. Thatís what they did.""

    They didn't forced them to do anything, Coursera chose to do it themselves. I'm a little sad that so many people never knew the whole truth of this situation. And even though I love the internet and what it did with SOPA and similar legislation, this was a situation were the internet didn't need to "rise up", and I hope news sites look into thing a little more before reporting these things.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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