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California regulator seeks to shut down ‘learn to code’ bootcamps

See on Scoop.itM-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications

Unless they comply with California regulators, these organizations face imminent closure and a hefty $50,000 fine.

Danielle M. Villegas‘s insight:

The situation here is a slippery slope. On the one hand, it does seem like government telling these places what they can and can’t teach. If it isn’t being taught in a conventional setting, what’s the problem in setting up a business that provides a valuable service? The key, in the whole thing, is consumer fraud. All these code academies may be on the up and up, but how is anyone to know for sure unless there is some sort of regulation in place. What makes is cringe-worthy to me in reading this is that I start wondering about where the fine line is between innovation and crushing that, and between providing opportunity and stunting opportunity.  


This starts to bring up the question about online learning and regulations on that. When I started in the IT business, it was as the content manager of one of the first e-learning websites out there about 20 years ago. At the time, the state where we were located had levelled some legal challenges to us because the owners used the term "university" for the name of their product. It was a bit of a firestorm, but it was a similar situation to this one. I don’t know how it eventually got resolved, but I know the "university" part was kept somehow as time went on.  The content of the university was driven by third-party content from established educational curriculum publishers, and content provided by the clients that were specific to their own needs, and would be exclusive to the client. Nobody was really reinventing the wheel here, just reinventing how the information was distributed. I’m wondering if the same sort of situation is happening here with these coding bootcamps. 


The other part of this is how it affects online learning. Unless there’s something I don’t know (and it’s totally possible that I don’t know in this case), but is Khan Academy subject to these same regulations, even though they are free (or at least subsidized by several investors such as Microsoft)? If not, why not? What about other MOOC-distribuiting sites? It seems to me that California might be opening up a Pandora’s box of problems, because it would be difficult to draw the line–or would it? 


For the consumer reasons, I understand what California is doing. I don’t want to get some sort of credential saying that I took a course and then find out that it’s not recognized or that I really didn’t learn a damn thing. That part, I get. But the problem lies in determining what gets regulated and what doesn’t. Is it only regulated if someone pays money to learn?  Where do we draw the line between what’s available at conventional places of learning such as vocational education schools, schools, universities/colleges, business schools and the like, and online schooling or non-conventional schools such as Khan Academy, MOOCs, Udemy, Coursera, or these bootcamps?


It’s definitely worth a discussion, because I don’t think there’s an easy answer to this question. 


What do you think? Feel free to have a respectful discussion below in the comments. 

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Danielle M. Villegas is a technical communicator who currently employed at Cox Automotive, Inc., and freelances as her own technical communications consultancy, Dair Communications. She has worked at the International Refugee Committee, MetLife, Novo Nordisk, BASF North America, Merck, and Deloitte, with a background in content strategy, web content management, social media, project management, e-learning, and client services. Danielle is best known in the technical communications world for her blog,, which has continued to flourish since it was launched during her graduate studies at NJIT in 2012. She has presented webinars and seminars for Adobe, the Society for Technical Communication (STC), the IEEE ProComm, TCUK (ISTC) and at Drexel University’s eLearning Conference. She has written articles for the STC Intercom, STC Notebook, the Content Rules blog, and The Content Wrangler as well. She is very active in the STC, as a former chapter president for the STC-Philadelphia Metro Chapter, and is currently serving on three STC Board committees. You can learn more about Danielle on LinkedIn at, on Twitter @techcommgeekmom, or through her blog. All content is the owner's opinions, and does not reflect those of her employers past or present.

3 thoughts on “California regulator seeks to shut down ‘learn to code’ bootcamps

  1. It is like any mafia the state wants money they see the folks want a way out millions at stake so they will move in and get their cut if you have cash you can play if you don,t go away bribe,s hahahah state mob hackers are always one step ahead.
    But on the other side there needs to be a big brother factor?
    It is all about power and control!

    1. I actually had a discussion with someone about this. I don’t know that it’s as cut and dry as trying to make money. My point is that it’s difficult to figure out where to draw the line on regulation in and of itself, money or no money involved. Is Khan Academy regulated? Are MOOCs, Coursera or Udemy regulated? How about As I said, it’s a slippery slope to navigate. I understand from a consumer protection point of view why this would need to happen, but otherwise…it’s just more complicated than what I think this article demonstrates.

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