Lights, Camera Action: Classes Could Air Online
Classes are soon to be recorded in real-time to air online, and it is causing a heated debate. UA professors have strong opinions on who exactly owns the copyright to their lectures.
“We work very hard on all our lectures,” said Cindy Wiseman, a professor of art. “A lot of research and preparation goes into everything I teach.”
Though she said recorded classes are a wonderful resource for students who must miss class for excusable reasons, it is scary to have lectures published for the nation to see.
“When my work is taken out of context or edited, it can come to mean something completely different,” she said.
Royalties, which are usage-based payments made to a person or group for ongoing right to their work, also come into question.
“I believe faculty should receive royalties if their lectures are to be made available online through the university.”
Publishing lectures online is similar to selling her work, and she should be compensated, Wiseman said.
“I could care less if the class I am in is being videotaped or recorded, but when it comes to who actually owns the rights, I think it is definitely the professor,” said Eli Leslie, freshman architecture major. “They are the ones who put the work into the lecture, not so much the university.”
While many professors and students have strong opinions on the matter, there are also legal issues behind the debate.
It is optional as to whether professors’ lectures are aired online.
If it became mandatory, one must consider the aspect of “work for hire,” said Katherine Shurlds, media law professor.
“While teachers may claim that they own their lectures, when considering ‘work for hire,’ the university could air the lectures if it really wanted to. It would just be another aspect of our job, ” Shurlds said.
If the option of airing lectures online became mandatory, it would be a situation with an eerie “big brother,” Shurlds said. She does, however, like the idea of having an outlet, if she ever needs to share something with her students when she is gone, she said.
“I do not like the idea of classes being recorded,” said Meka Dering, a sophomore criminal justice major.
“I just know that if all my classes were aired online I wouldn’t want to go to the traditional class,” Dering said. “I think recording lectures would result in students skipping the actual lecture.”
Answering the question as to how online lectures would affect her students, Shurlds said, “I personally wouldn’t find it a problem if students went straight for the online lecture instead of coming to class. It is no skin off my teeth—[it’s] all up to them.”
Shurlds does acknowledge that online lectures would eliminate in-class interaction, but it is ultimately up to the student on how well they do in the class, she said.
“If airing lectures on the Internet ever became mandatory through the UA, I would just be concerned with the online lecture completely replacing the classroom setting,” Shurlds said.