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!


Brenda C. Nix said...

It seems so straight forward that people would never upload something they didn't create. If students were being asked to only upload the notes they took in their courses, I would feel that this site had some merits. I would certainly give it a thumbs down on many levels!

Linda Miller said...

I can’t imagine NOT being appalled by this site. Of course these “notes” are cheating. Offering test questions as a “study guide”? Taking someone else’s class material and offering to the world, out of context? How can it be anything but theft of the professor’s intellectual property? How can it do anything but undermine the academic rigor of the course?

Paula Waddill said...

I just went to the website and 4 of the psychology courses for which items have been uploaded are my courses! The uploaded materials include study materials and graphics (from the textbook) that I had posted to my course webpages for student use only. I'm interested in pursuing the notion of copyright infringement of faculty's course materials. Does anyone have more info on that (e.g., the specific statute, etc. that's referred to in the post)?

Anonymous said...

I put notes and study guides for my HUM211 course on Blackboard for student reference. I find that the most industrious students take advantage of the information, while others take all semester to figure out that there are many resources available to them on Blackboard. The Course Hero site does sound like cheating to me; I'm glad I'm not alone in my disapproval.

Anonymous said...

Course Hero is worse than the Taliban. And now I'm Ricky's hero!