Prime Minister’s MOOC lets anyone learn about cost of ‘red tape’

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The federal government’s first foray into massive online open courses (MOOCs) for professional development is all part of the new approach to regulation, in which the impact on private sector profits is the primary concern.

Soon anyone will be able to get an education in the fine art of regulatory impact analysis, Coalition-style, thanks to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s first foray into massive open online courses (MOOCs).

The department’s Office of Best Practice Regulation has contracted OpenLearning, an online education provider founded by a group of University of New South Wales alumni in 2012, to run its first open online course in public administration. The regulatory impact analysis (RIA) MOOC is likely to begin shortly after the end of this month and run for at least the next four years.

There are no fees or restrictions on who can join a MOOC so the number of students is unlimited. According to a statement, OpenLearning expects at least several thousand participants in the next few years, not all of them public servants and some from overseas.

According to the tender documents, PM&C intends the course to be free and open to the public, but access to some content could be restricted. It will also promote the Abbott government’s view that a lot of regulation is an unnecessary burden on business and as such new regulation should be “a means of last resort”, as explained in its guide to regulation.

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