Friday, October 19, 2012

Facing the tsunami

A fascinating short article appeared on the Chronicle of Higher Education's website yesterday: Minnesota Gives Coursera the Boot, Citing a Decades-Old Law.

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. It’s unclear how the law could be enforced when the content is freely available on the Web, but Coursera updated its Terms of Service

Is this the beginning of the MOOC backlash?

The Internet continues to breaks down barriers; I am reminded of Stewart Brand's famous quote from 1984:

Information Wants To Be Free. Information also wants to be expensive. Information wants to be free because it has become so cheap to distribute, copy, and recombine---too cheap to meter. It wants to be expensive because it can be immeasurably valuable to the recipient. That tension will not go away. It leads to endless wrenching debate about price, copyright, "intellectual property," the moral rightness of casual distribution, because each round of new devices makes the tension worse, not better.

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