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,
> can find complete sets of lectures for university courses posted on You
> Would it be permissible for a lecturer (other than the one appearing in
> videos) to use the videos as the back-bone of a for-credit online course
> 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
go out of print, for whatever reason, and students may suffer if their
assumes that every student has a copy. The availability of second-hand
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
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
of incompetence or individuals leaving the hosting institution. Probably
everyone reading this has been frustrated by a reference to an online
that is no longer available, though in some cases a teacher can guard
this by keeping a local copy of everything needed for a course.
However, not all teachers have good facilities provided by their
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
the original video with an improved version. But the 'improvements' may
the character of the presentation so that it is no longer suitable for all
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
wary, and take precautions to ensure that the courses they advertise can
as advertised when students turn up.
Apologies if someone else has already pointed this out and I missed it.
Messages to the list are archived at http://listserv.liv.ac.uk/archives/philos-l.html.
Current posts are also available via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PhilosL
Discussions should be moved to chora: enrol via