March 8, 2017

MAYBE THE TRUMP DOJ SHOULD REVERSE THIS DUMB DECISION. ATTENTION: JEFF SESSIONS. How the Obama DOJ Killed an Open Education Effort at Berkeley.

The University of California, Berkeley, will cut off public access to tens of thousands of video lectures and podcasts in response to a U.S. Justice Department order that it make the educational content accessible to people with disabilities.

Today, the content is available to the public on YouTube, iTunes U and the university’s webcast.berkeley site. On March 15, the university will begin removing the more than 20,000 audio and video files from those platforms — a process that will take three to five months — and require users sign in with University of California credentials to view or listen to them.

The university’s calculation was simple: Revising its vast store of free online materials to the DOJ’s satisfaction would be expensive and time-consuming for the cash-strapped public institution. If leaving the lectures online as they are could make the university vulnerable to a federal lawsuit, well, then why not just take them down! In other words, in an effort to expand access to Berkeley’s educational resources, the DOJ has ended up eliminating access for non-students.

On the upside, this protected the higher education industry in general — a major source of money and footsoldiers for the Democrats — from low-cost competition.