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Gmane
From: Aaron Sloman <A.Sloman-2QPwgltTPIYcGMUv0VjUrg <at> public.gmane.org>
Subject: Re: Using other people's lectures in online courses [Some Risks]
Newsgroups: gmane.science.philosophy.region.europe
Date: Wednesday 5th June 2013 14:25:35 UTC (over 3 years ago)
Berel Dov Lerner  wrote:

> I would like to open up a brief discussion of a question of professional
> ethics that may become very important in the next few years. At present,
one
> can find complete sets of lectures for university courses posted on You
Tube.
> Would it be permissible for a lecturer (other than the one appearing in
the
> videos) to use the videos as the back-bone of a for-credit online course
at
> another university?

There's an issue that's distinct from those ethical considerations, but can
impact on the ethics of attracting students when you can't guarantee
availability of promised course materials.

A textbook or other document that has either been made freely available for
download and copying, or which is produced by a reputable publisher who is
likely to stay in business, allows teachers to have confidence that an
advertised course making use of that resource will be able to function as
promised when the students turn up. However there is a risk that a book
will
go out of print, for whatever reason, and students may suffer if their
course
assumes that every student has a copy. The availability of second-hand
copies,
and/or arrangements for sharing may mitigate the effects.

A video on the web, like an open-access book or paper, may be available for
download so that the teacher can ensure that it is available for all future
students taking a course that uses it.

But digital rights technology may block that and the provider can at any
time
remove the video, thereby depriving the course of essential material. Of
course, this applies not only to online videos but all sorts of recordings,
documents, presentations, etc. Sometimes things become unavailable as a
result
of incompetence or individuals leaving the hosting institution. Probably
everyone reading this has been frustrated by a reference to an online
document
that is no longer available, though in some cases a teacher can guard
against
this by keeping a local copy of everything needed for a course.

However, not all teachers have good facilities provided by their
organisations
for supporting use of online material in the way that Youtube does (also
slidehare.net and other such services).

Another problem is that the originator of a video used in a course may
replace
the original video with an improved version. But the 'improvements' may
change
the character of the presentation so that it is no longer suitable for all
the
previous users. (I have seen this happen to textbooks that are replaced by
revised 'improved' editions.)

So, teachers making heavy use of online material provided by others need to
be
wary, and take precautions to ensure that the courses they advertise can
run
as advertised when students turn up.

Apologies if someone else has already pointed this out and I missed it.

Aaron Sloman
http://tinyurl.com/CogMisc/meta-morphogenesis.html
http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/~axs

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CD: 3ms