U.S. Government's 'bone-headed' decision can be fixed with paperwork, official says

Donald Gilliland, Open Content, Feb 14, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I'm wrestling internally with myself about how much I should care about Coursera being blocked in countries like Iran, Syria and Cuba. On the one hand, it's just internal US politics, and it doesn't matter to me whether some US company is blocked by its own government from sending free videos to the rest of the world. On the other hand, it's a law that I'm told wouldn't even apply if Coursera removed the login reqauirement from its service. This is what makes it a 'commercial service' under US law (accurately, too, as they're no doubt monetizing login information; why collect it otherwise?). And it's interesting to see (and encourage) efforts like this Diigo group to free Coursera content so it can be viewed openly (how long before Coursera clamps down on this, becoming officially a locked-content provider?). And I do think people in Iran, Syria, Sudan and Cuba - and any other place with a government we're not supposed to like - should be able to access open online learning. But I'm back to: it's just Coursera being Coursera, why should I care? The rest of the world is filled with cool stuff.

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