Log off, please, if you’re in Iran, Cuba or Sudan

| June 23, 2014 | 0 Comments

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) provider Coursera, located in Mountain View, California, in the US, recently blocked access to its courses in Iran, Cuba and Sudan, due to US government sanctions on those countries.

Coursera has over six million online students, choosing from 596 free courses. Coursera’s founding principle was to “provide access to education for everyone”. Says the website the New America Foundation, “comprehensive US sanctions that ban the export of goods and services to some countries remain largely outdated in recognising how communications technology can benefit both the civilian population and serve broader American foreign policy goals.”

Because it makes money from its courses and apps, Coursera was guilty of flouting US export law. Other US-based MOOCs may find themselves making similar decisions to stay alive. EdX, for example, has had to stall some operations while it waits for a special licence to operate in Iran, Cuba and the Sudan. A special petition is on the ‘We the People’ section of the White House website, appealing to the Obama administration to reverse the policy prohibiting MOOCs from including students from sanctioned countries. 

Category: e-Education, Winter 2014

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