Saturday, October 20, 2012

Minnesota makes learning illegal

Yup.  If you want to learn something in Minnesota you have to get permission from the State.  Specifically, Coursera, a company that provides free online courses, has been informed by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education that they can't offer their courses in Minnesota.  If you try to take a course from them you get a notice in the terms of service that looks something like this:

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.

Want more? broke this story here , Heritage Foundation mentioned it in their blog, and here  you are, reading about it yourself.

Update: Less than one day after this story broke, Minnesota officials said whoops.

Have to wonder, though, why someone thought it was a good idea to announce the ban, force Coursera to put a disclaimer on their website, and create a public scene before sitting down to figure out if this was a good idea.

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