Thursday, March 18, 2010

Will You Be My Course Hero?

Course Hero is a relatively new academic social-networking site. This is an electronic repository for course notes, homework assignments, lab reports and examinations for many disciplines. Students from approximately 3,500 colleges and universities have posted material to the site. For a fee, or so many uploads to the site, students can download the electronic resources. According to the web site, 93% of the members of Course Hero report that the site helped them maintain or increase their GPA. One section of the site suggests that using its resources will allow a student to work less and receive better grades. One of the marketing slogans for the site is JOIN (course hero)-ACCESS (best resources)-ACE (your classes).

A recent article in Chemical and Engineering News outlined some frustrations by faculty members and raised the issue of copyright infringement. In the article, Eric S. Slater, manager of copyright permissions and licensing at the American Chemical Society, had the following comments:

"Anything that a professor creates for his class--lecture notes or PowerPoint presentations--is copyrighted."

"Students might think they're doing a service by uploading to Course Hero, but it almost seems to me that they are aiding and abetting Course Hero in copyright infringement."

A little searching reveals that notes and examinations from Murray State University are on this site. The availability of sites such as Course Hero raise a number of issues in higher education that must be addressed. You will be my hero if you click comments and give us your thoughts on this subject!