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Free online college classes are getting headlines once again this week. Recently the state of Minnesota moved to ban Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, like Coursera. According to a recent article, Coursera amended their website informing students that their courses would not be available in Minnesota due to a law requiring the state’s authorization.

This legal hurdle is not unique to Minnesota, as recently discussed in a ProctorU webinar hosted by Patricia Milner from Colorado State University-Pueblo.

Should an online program be registered, licensed or authorized in each state that it offers courses? The answer can vary from state to state and the jury is currently out on the federal guidelines.

Experts in the field believe that even though the current federal law has seen some recent hurdles, the laws will one day be enforced by the U.S. Department of Education and tied into Title IV funding when the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 is reauthorized.

The current issue is that there are 50 sets of laws, written at different times, for different purposes and with different people interpreting what the rules should be.


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