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Universities criticised for Coursera cooperation

The Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and the Technical University of Munich have had a mixed week, being named among the most innovative universities in Europe but also being criticised for their approach to data protection.

On 5 May, the LMU and TUM were given the unwanted Big Brother Award by Digitalcourage, a German privacy and digital rights organisation. They were accused of promoting poor data protection by cooperating closely with Coursera, an American provider of massive open online courses (Moocs).

In its standard contract, Coursera retains the right to use student data for its advertising campaigns. The universities have ignored this problem in order to use Coursera as a marketing measure and to put themselves in line with elite universities worldwide, the award jury said.

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