I don’t understand Minnesota’s law

**Update:  I wrote this post the day the news of this odd rule came out (on October 18th) but scheduled it to post on the 20th to spread out my posts.  I should learn not to do that – particularly for news about these sorts of fast-moving issues.  Because this happened today (the 19th).  I’m glad someone in the Minnesota Office of Higher Education was sensible and flexible enough to re-think how this law fits in today’s landscape of life-long learning options available for free over the ‘net.

In any case, you’ll still not read about it until the tomorrow because that’s when this darn post is coming out.  Because I’m in charge around here.  🙂  But if there are any crazy updates between now and then, I’ll be sure to add them as well.

— Original Post from the 18th —

This I do not understand.

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.

So strange.  First, the blog post indicates that this law was put in place two decades ago for both online and physical educational institutions and was meant to protect the student consumers.  I fail to see how their law offers consumer protection?  Please enlighten me.

Furthermore, what on earth will they do about enforcement if they choose to keep this law?  Seems totally strange to me.

In other, somewhat related news:  Marvin Ammori wrote a great piece for Wired that raises the issue of our current antitrust laws and offers words of caution about how they could play out in a digital age.


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