Teaching Courses Abroad and Online

Most university courses taken by students in expectation of a university degree are excluded from export controls, enabling participation by international students and faculty. Activities incidental to the degree program are also permitted. Open Courseware, where there is no teacher-student interaction, is considered “published” and is also not subject to export controls.

However, these exemptions do not apply to teaching those same courses outside of the MIT campus, or to professional education learners. When teaching abroad or online, instructors must screen their host institution and students and use caution when developing course material. 

Screen institution 

Before teaching courses outside of MIT, screen the host institution for restricted parties. If the host institution is identified as a restricted party, contact MIT Export Control.

Screen students

MIT faculty and staff may not teach students on restricted parties lists or from comprehensively-sanctioned countries. To screen students for restricted parties, use their full name and country of residence. While the US government expects us to screen student names at a minimum, using the country of residence can also help you if your student has a common name and you get a false positive on restricted lists when screening.

If a student is identified as a restricted party, contact MIT Export Control.

Limit course material to that already published or previously taught at MIT

Material used in courses taught abroad or online must have already been published or previously taught at MIT. Before teaching, review your course content to ensure you do not teach: 

  • principles commonly not taught
  • encryption
  • sensitive nuclear technology
  • defense service
  • transfer of technical ITAR data
  • transfer of EAR restricted technology

Avoid letting your activities cross over into technology transfer, training, or consulting. 

Discuss your plans with MIT Export Control to ensure your activity complies with export control regulations.

Vet program information with export control

If you are presenting a program, such as a webinar or workshop, please fill out Event and Program Vetting Information for Export Control. MIT Export Control will follow up to advise on further actions. (Conference presenters do not need to fill out this form, but should review Conference Presentations Abroad for export control guidance.)

Assess and mitigate risk

Review Assessing and Mitigating Risk to understand whether teaching abroad or online poses risks to you or your research program.