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MOOCs and Copyrights: Navigating the Terrain

Linda Enghagen (University of Massachusetts, USA)
Session Information
November 21, 2013 - 1:15pm
Technology and Emerging Learning Environments
Areas of Special Interest: 
Open Educational Resources
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Oceanic 7
Session Duration: 
35 Minutes
Information Session 9

MOOCs raise numerous copyright issues. Two of the biggest issues are: 1. who owns what; and 2. how are MOOCs different from traditional online courses?

Extended Abstract

At the same time that many educators are continuing to develop a working understanding of the copyright issues associated with traditional online education, along come Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) with their additional complications. Given their nature, from a copyright standpoint, MOOCs are more like unsecure web sites than traditional online courses. MOOCs are available to anyone with an internet connection so they are not secured environments restricted to enrolled students at an academic institution. And, they do not automatically carry academic credit.

This presentation will examine two of the biggest copyright issues raised by virtue of these differences. First, it will explore an issue of concern to many faculty members which is whether they own the copyright to content they create for MOOCs. Second, it will examine the challenges associated with designing a MOOC that is copyright compliant. For example, while utilizing copyright protected materials under fair use is more difficult in a MOOC, the use of Open Access materials or those otherwise published under applicable Creative Commons licenses are increasingly viable options as these methods of publication increase in popularity.