The founder of free online learning platform edX, set up by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has spoken out against the US State department’s decision to block people in Iran, Cuba and Sudan from accessing a new advanced course on aircraft design.
“I believe that all our courses should be freely available. I believe it does not make sense to block any courses from embargoed nations,” said Anant Agarwal, president of edX and professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT.
In early March, edX discovered the US government was going to block the Flight Vehicle Aerodynamics course offered by MIT. “Right now on EdX, of the 160 courses on our platform, one course is blocked, that’s the advanced aeronautics course to the embargoed nations.”
Agarwal, speaking at the Global Education and Skills conference in Dubai, said it was “possible that certain other very advanced courses might be impacted”.
Other US-based providers of massive online learning courses—known as MOOCs—such as Coursera and Udacity have already had their courses blocked from students in nations under US sanctions.