Online Courses/Intellectual Property

Dear Colleagues,

I write to advise all QUFA Members concerning intellectual property in course materials delivered via electronic and online media. This issue has particular relevance to faculty now because Queen's Administration has been actively encouraging both experimental and practical use of supplemental electronic media (such as Moodle), lecture-capture, blended learning, and full online course-delivery.

On February 23, 2011, QUFA wrote Provost Silverman regarding Teaching and Intellectual Property:

We have received a number of queries concerning the use of web programs such as WebCT and Moodle to present a course at Queen's. It is our view that such use does not in any way compromise Article 16 of the Collective Agreement or the faculty member's ownership of any materials, including but not limited to lecture outlines, recorded lectures, audios, videos, and programs, when these are presented via such media. Use of these presentation media, sites, or software, does not give Queen's University the right or license to make use of this content without the faculty member's explicit written consent.

The Provost responded:

Queen's University encourages new teaching initiatives and recognizes that, regardless of the format, the faculty member owns the content of a lecture and the University's use of this content is subject to the provisions of Article 16. (Letter to QUFA President Cathy Christie, 23 March 2011)

Before you sign a contract to develop an online course or let your teaching materials be used in any way (e.g., in blended course delivery), bear in mind that you can change the contract to ensure that you are adequately compensated for your intellectual property (e.g., your course materials and your name as course developer). You can include an end-date in the contract so that you retain ultimate control over your intellectual property.

If you have any questions about this, feel free to contact me or QUFA staff members.

Paul Young
QUFA President on behalf of the QUFA Executive