Minnesota Hates Free Education

Okay the title is a bit over the top, but it’s really the only way I can think about this story I picked up from Reason.com:

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.

For those who don’t know, Coursera is a website that compiles all the free, online university courses available from schools like Stanford, MIT, Caltech, etc. so that anyone can easily gain the knowledge from the classes, for free (had to double emphasize that). No degrees are offered, so I would argue Coursera isn’t even a university. That didn’t stop the Minnesota Board of Higher Education from shutting down their ability to offer Minnesota citizens the online courses. I think the author of the post, Katherine Mangu-Ward summed up the Board perfectly: “Idiots.”

On a larger point, why does a state government have the authority to prevent online classes from being offered? Again, no degrees are being offered, so there is no guarantee of getting anything outside of the knowledge. Sounds way too much like the Thought Police.

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