helenlt on November 19th, 2012
Last week, we received a query about students posting lecture material on Facebook and then this week, a similar question was asked at one of our information sessions, so I thought it might make a good blog post.
So the $64,000 question this week is…Can we (either staff or students) make teaching material available on external websites such as Facebook?
Lecture material – powerpoints, class handouts and lecture capture recordings – often includes copyright material created by other people. The University is allowed to use this material for teaching under the statutory licences of the Copyright Act. However, one of the conditions is that we can only make it available to staff and students involved in the subject, which is why we have the LMS. If this material is made publicly available on websites outside of the LMS, the University has breached its legal obligations under the Copyright Act, which can have serious consequences. While you can, in theory, restrict access to material on some sites to certain groups, there is no way to guarantee that no one else will have access and this poses a significant risk of copyright infringement.
Even if your lecture material does not include material created by other people, copyright in it is owned by the University and it is not always appropriate that teaching material is made available on external websites. Some sites, for example Prezi, can allow material to be reused by other people. While the University will often allow its teaching material to be used by other educational and cultural institutions on request, we don’t generally allow our teaching material to be used for profit by commercial educational enterprises.
If you or your students wish to share lectures notes and other materials on Facebook and Twitter, you can do so by linking to LMS rather than posting material yourself on external sites. Sharing a link means that the material can be accessed by authorized students but does not breach the University’s copyright obligations.
So the answer to the $64,000 question is : it is recommended that teaching material is made available on the LMS, rather than other external sites. Breaching our legal obligations under the statutory licences can have serious consequences for the University. For more information, see – Copyright and Teaching http://www.unimelb.edu.au/copyright/teaching.html or contact us.