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A Quandary for Information Technology: Who Controls the Content of Distance Education?

By Michael J. O\u27Hara and Daniel A. Peak


Perhaps the most important of current educational product of Information Technology (IT) is Distance Education (DE), which has created many opportunities for universities, faculty, and students. While students receive the benefits of DE, universities and faculty are changing their traditional relationship to accommodate its academic, technical, and legal challenges. However, IT educators must deal with far more than the technical and the educational content issues in assisting their university colleagues with the issues of DE. One of the more difficult DE challenges is effectively dealing with legal ownership of course content. Unfortunately, scant thought is being given to who legally owns the content created for the unique and repeatable, electronic classroom. Both university administrators and faculty tend assume they have full control of DE and act accordingly. This paper suggests that both groups should fully understand and reach agreement on DE ownership issues before proceeding with a full-scale DE implementation. This paper explores the relative claims to ownership and control by university faculty and their employers. Particular emphasis is placed on copyright law

Publisher: AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
Year: 2000
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