http://chronicle.com/img/photos/biz/icons/wired-campus-nameplate.gifBy Katherine Mangan. Princeton and Stanford can rest easy now that Minnesota higher-education officials have backed away from threats to track down dozens of universities like them for offering free online courses in their state without permission.
On Friday, just hours after an administrator in the Minnesota Office of Higher Education said the state planned to demand registration and fees from universities that were offering the noncredit classes through the online course provider Coursera, the director of his office struck a more conciliatory tone. Technically, the dozens of universities offering courses through Coursera were violating a 20-year-old Minnesota law that requires universities to get permission from the state first, the director, Lawrence Pogemiller, said. But after his office’s tough stance prompted a flurry of complaints and critical blog posts, Mr. Pogemiller said, essentially, Never mind.