I've been wanting to respond to several of the issues on this thread,
but what you said about ownership of online courses intrigues me. I
taught our first online course here last term, not thinking about such
issues at all. (I developed it during my sabbatical.) Then the Dean
approached me last month, offering me a grant to develop the course for
delivery in the Provincial First Year by Disitance Education programme.
Now, in order to get the grant (which I need to buy new equipment), I
have to sign a contract dealing with ownership issues.
I saw a draft of the contract this week, and it seems pretty
reasonable-- I would retain ownership of the intellectual property and
the university agrees not to hire anyone else to deliver the course
unless I dropped dead just before or in the middle of it. If I wanted to
offer it outside the university, however, I would have to clear it with
I have no interest in commercializing the course, so I don't see any
major pitfalls in the contract. I haven't signed it yet, but I will very
soon. I guess what would be helpful to me would be feedback from the
list about possible problems. It does seem strange to be offering to
give up any rights to a course that I've already developed, but since I
did so on university time, I suppose they already have some rights to
it. I know that the 4Cs has an Intellectual Property Caucus and their
documents are available on the web, but is there anything that's
specific to the Canadian context that we should be looking at?
Centre for Academic Writing
University of Winnipeg
c schryer wrote:
> As to ownership and cost issues--very interesting.
> I was paid a flat fee to produce the course -- and as I understand it, I own
> the content of the course (at least it is copyrighted to me) although it is
> the university's course. I have a feeling though that the issue is up in
> the air right now. I know of at least one instructor here who spend a lot
> of university resources (far more than I did) to produce his on-line course
> and then commercialized it (and he's making a mint with it). I know the
> powers-that-be are really steamed about this. I suspect the issue might hit
> the courts.
> My solution to the problem of ownership and quality control has been to make
> the course complex and interactive. It has to be run by people or it
> doesn't work at all. right from the beginning I did not want the course to
> be susceptible to "canning" ie run by mechanistic means or run by TA's
> without supervision.
> I gather too that I will also be receiving partial credit for the course
> everytime it runs. And I shall be keeping track of and collecting that
> Catherine F. Schryer
> Dept. of English
> University of Waterloo
> Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
> N2L 3G1
> (519) 885-1211 (ext 3318)