Copyright and Your Course Materials
In our last Communiqué, we brought to your attention an issue with commercial websites selling course content. In this issue, we’d like to answer some of your questions. For more information, see this fact sheet from CAUT.
What’s happening with my course materials?
Sites like OneClass and Course Hero sell material related to specific courses to university and college students. OneClass, for example, has created an online database containing tests, lab reports, class notes and other documents. These materials are available to students for a subscription fee. Students who provide materials receive gift cards in return.
Note: some reuse may be covered by fair dealing.
What is the harm?
These sites upload and sell documents without the permission of, or payment to, the academic staff member responsible for their original creation. In some cases, this constitutes copyright infringement. It also may encourage unauthorized recording of classroom activities.
It also raises concerns about self-censorship and academic freedom.
What can I do?
There are several actions that you can and should take in response to this issue:
- Be aware of the risk to your course material.
- Visit the websites of these course content aggregators to determine if material from your course is present.
- Make direct inquiries to the business about the presence of your material.
- Request that material be removed from the website.
The Employer has recommended that you include the following language in your syllabus:
“I would like to remind you that my lectures and course materials, including power point presentations, outlines, and similar materials, are protected by copyright. I am the exclusive owner of copyright and intellectual property in the course materials. You may take notes and make copies of course materials for your own educational use. You may not and may not allow others to reproduce or distribute lecture notes and course materials publicly for commercial purposes without my express written consent.”
You should also include a copyright notice on course materials used in class. Although these measures will not prevent unauthorized reuse of materials, it will remind students of faculty ownership of copyright and of students’ obligations to respect those rights.
Reading of Accommodation Statement
It has come to the attention of the Association that a directive has been issued to some course instructors that an accommodation statement (distributed by the VP Teaching and Learning) needs to be read aloud during the first class in September.
We understand that members have concerns with Employer interference with their classroom activities and the deviation from established practices. The Association strongly recommends complying with this directive until the Association is able to more thoroughly investigate the potential implications of this directive and consult meaningfully with the Employer. In the meantime, concerns should be directed to the CUASA office.
LTD Rate Reduction Correction
Our last Communiqué indicated that there would be a premium reduction effective August 1, 2015. The premium reduction will actually be effective October 1, 2015 (for the October 15 pay). We apologize for the confusion. The premium rates will be reduced from 1.005% of salary to 0.804% of salary.
LTD rates are normally negotiated between CUASA, the Employer and Great West Life in February of each year. It is possible that the premium rate may change again at that time.
If you have any questions, please contact CUASA or Human Resources.
This is a brief reminder that an update regarding the FASS workload policy was published in the last issue of the Communiqué. For more information, please contact the CUASA office.
Maclean’s is in the process of reworking their annual survey of universities in order to better reflect what is actually going on at universities for instructors and students.
A new survey of university faculty, which is being promoted by the Canadian Association of University Teachers, is part of this initiative. The new survey explores such issues as corporate influence in research, pressure to sign non-disclosure agreements and sexism in academia.
If you’d like to participate, the survey is available in both English and French: