Interesting Policy Reads: Data Privacy Legislative Efforts, OER Savings in North Dakota, and Opposition to a Chinese University’s Attempted Digital Surveillance

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This post includes articles on the latest efforts around a federal data privacy bill, North Dakota's investment in open educational resources, a Mark Zuckerberg–affiliated online learning service, and the creation of an online course-sharing platform.

With our "Interesting Policy Reads" blog posts, the EDUCAUSE Policy Office highlights recent articles on federal policy issues and developments that are directly relevant to members or provide insights on higher education policy in general.

  • One issue where there could be bipartisan action in Congress: Digital privacy, Washington Post, November 14, 2018. (The Washington Post editorial board argues that while it is unlikely that lawmakers will reach a consensus on net neutrality legislation next Congress, opportunities for bipartisanship exist in the federal privacy and cybersecurity space.)
  • Statewide Data on OER Savings, Inside Higher Ed, November 16, 2018. (North Dakota's state auditor's office reports that a $110,000 state investment in open educational resources has saved students at public institutions between $1.1 and $2.4 million.)
  • FCC's Pai Says He is Staying, Broadcasting & Cable, November 15, 2018. (Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai has indicated that he plans to remain in his professional capacity for the duration of President Trump's first term.)
  • Backlash at Chinese university shows limits to surveillance, AP, November 20, 2018. (A Chinese university's plan to surveil cellphones, computers, external hard disks, and USB drives drew rare criticism from state-run media outlets.)
  • Students protest Zuckerberg-backed digital learning program and ask him: 'What gives you this right?', Washington Post, November 17, 2018. (Citing poor outcomes and a concern for the privacy of personal information, students at a New York high school are protesting a Mark Zuckerberg–affiliated online learning platform.)
  • Imagining an Apple Store for Online Degrees, Inside Higher Ed, November 26, 2018. (Georgia Tech is considering the establishment of physical "touch points" for the institution's 10,000 students who participate in the school's online learning program, citing remote students' demand for contact with the institution and peers in their cohort.)
  • U.S. Senator says privacy bill draft could come early next year, Reuters, November 27, 2018. (At a recent Senate Commerce hearing, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) indicated that he and Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) are working on a bipartisan data privacy bill; however, it is still unclear how the members plan to reconcile disagreements over federal preemption of state laws containing strong consumer protections.)
  • Your Course Is My Course, Too, Inside Higher Ed, November 29, 2018. (The Council of Independent Colleges has created the Online Course Sharing Consortium to provide its member institutions with an online course-sharing platform to allow students to enroll in courses at other participating institutions, marking an interesting development for the private nonprofit college community that has largely resisted the move toward credit-bearing online courses.)
  • To Pursue Federal Aid or Not, Inside Higher Ed, December 3, 2018. (As the US Department of Education plans to initiate a negotiated rulemaking in 2019 that may attempt to make federal aid available to operators of nontraditional providers of postsecondary education, some are skeptical as to whether such operators—such as coding boot camps—would actually favor this approach.)

Kathryn Branson is an associate with Ulman Public Policy.

© 2018 Kathryn Branson. The text of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License.