Online education platform Coursera blocks students in Syria and Iran

Just over six months ago, online education platform Coursera thanked a Syrian doctor for a poignant blog post that spoke directly to its mission to change the world by educating the masses, Wamda reports.

In a brief, heartfelt post, Dr. Mahmud Angrini explained how the U.S.-based learning portal, initially founded by two Stanford professors, changed his life. After losing everything in the strife that engulfed Aleppo, including his lab, his PhD scholarship, his friends, and his family, he found solace in taking massive open online courses (MOOCs).

“What I can assure you is that Coursera changed my life during those painful months…. [The courses] helped me forget my pain, depression, and suffering, replacing my pessimism with hope and entertainment,” he wrote.

“Nowadays, I always tell my friends in refugee life: ‘It is never too late to start again,'” he continues. “Someday, the war will end, and we will come back to our homes and our former lives to contribute to the reconstruction process in our country. To do so, we need to learn new skills, and this could only be achieved through continuing education. We can take advantage of the high quality courses that Coursera offers at no cost.”

In an introduction to the post, Coursera’s editor raves, “Thank you, Mahmud, for living Coursera’s mission to create a world where people can learn without limits.” Yet today, Dr. Angrimi no longer has that lifeline, as Coursera appears to have blocked Syrian IPs since Friday.

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