Founder of Popular MOOCs Platform to Visit Senate Committee for a Second Chance

Dr. Daphne Koller, founder of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) platform, Coursera, will be visiting the Minnesota Senate Committee on Higher Education and Workforce Development in an attempt to help change a decade-old law that complicates the legality of MOOC offerings in Minnesota.

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. In response to unrest, the state agreed not to enforce the disputed law in the case of the free, online educational forum.

Senator Jeremy Miller, the Committee’s ranking Minority member, introduced a bill (SF 548) yesterday that would grant exemption to schools offering free training or instructional programs. “This bill is an important and symbolic step toward reforming our higher education system and bringing down the cost of higher education in Minnesota,” said Miller. “We are thrilled to learn from Provost Karen Hanson that the University of Minnesota is working on offering at least five MOOCs as soon as this fall.”

Senator Terri Bonoff, chair of the Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee, believes MOOCs have the potential to be a “game-changer” with regard to both cost and access. “I believe having MOOCs as a part of the equation can serve as a catalyst for change,” said Bonoff.

Dr. Koller visits the committee as the start-up company that has grown exponentially since launching in 2012. Coursera has partnered with an impressive array of institutions, ranging from Ivy League schools to specialized institutions like the Berklee College of Music. View a TED talk from Dr. Koller about Coursera and the potential of MOOCs: http://www.ted.com/talks/daphne_koller_what_we_re_learning_from_online_education.html.

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Senator Terri Bonoff
Terri Bonoff represents District 44, which includes portions of Minnetonka, Plymouth and Woodland in Hennepin County in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. She chairs the Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee.

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