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