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Gov. Jerry Brown may not have much in common with John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio, but in the world of online education they appear to have a mutual friend.

"I talked to the governor of Ohio just yesterday, and I went to the governor of Texas last week, last Friday, and I told them what Jerry Brown is doing in California," Udacity Inc. founder Sebastian Thrun said the other day.

Thrun, whose Palo Alto-based startup this week announced a partnership with San Jose State University to provide online courses, was in Ohio on Monday to meet with Kasich. Mark Kvamme, the high-profile venture capitalist who has been involved in economic development efforts in Ohio, recommended the meeting to Kasich, the governor's office said.

In a written statement, Kasich said a "powerful tool like Udacity is tailor-made for us because it's nimble, easily accessible and low-cost."

He said, "It's a break-the-mold approach that's driving what we're doing in Ohio, and I'm very excited to see how we can take full advantage of it to help meet our goals of developing a stronger workforce."

Brown, a Democrat, has been lobbying the University of California and California State University systems to expand their online offerings. He concluded two days of meetings with UC regents today, and he is expected to attend a meeting of CSU trustees in Long Beach next week.



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