Massive Open Online Classes (MOOC) were a big deal a few years ago. Turns out that one of the most prominent MIT MOOC teachers, Walter Lewin has been using his MOOC to harass (mostly) international students like French student Faïza Harbi. Inside Higher Education has the details and a discussion over whether students enrolled in free classes get Title IX protection from gender-based discrimination:
Whether MIT could be held liable for not protecting Harbi and the other women is still an unanswered question. MOOC providers differ on whether learners who are not enrolled at institutions eligible for federal financial aid are covered by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which some researchers have warned about. But when it comes to discrimination, legal experts said, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 should apply to anyone who registers for a MOOC.
“Title IX talks in terms of ‘no person’ shall experience discrimination — not ‘no student,’ ” Buzuvis said. “That broad language creates the possibility for anyone who’s a victim of discrimination [to] potentially have a claim under Title IX.”
Buzuvis, who runs the Title IX Blog, said that, based on the severity of the Lewin case, a lawsuit against MIT could come down to if the institution knew about the harassment and didn’t act to protect learners.
Buzuvis mentioned is: Erin Buzuvis, director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies at Western New England University.
Thanks for Feministing for the link!