On-Line Teaching: Unintended and Unexpected Consequences

We have all gotten familiar with the practice of on-line learning. As teachers I assume that many of you are actually practicing the arcane art of on-line teaching. It seems on-line teaching, and learning has its own unique wrinkles and curiosities. Here is an article on one student’s experience with on-line learning.

This student was taking an on-line art history course at Concordia University of Montreal. Aaron Ansuini decided to check out the lecturer for his course. Imagine his surprise when he discovered that the professor was deceased. Ansuini discovered this when a Google search of the professor’s name brought up the lecturer’s obituary dated about a year earlier!

The fact that Ansuini had a lecturer who was deceased would likely not have caused significant problems for the students taking the on-line course. However, the article goes on to mention a number of other issues which this situation draws into sharp focus. One significant issue is ownership of the intellectual property, of the “canned” pre-recorded lectures, which the institution provides as part of its on-line learning. It turns out that depending on how the lecture is recorded, ownership of the intellectual property it represents may lie with either the institution, with the lecturer/teacher or possibly with both. This, the article goes on to point out, can have serious follow-on consequences for both the lecturer/teacher and the institution involved.

For example, if the recorded lecture is used on-line multiple times and/or over subsequent academic sessions/years, the ownership of the rights to that material affects and controls payment of additional compensation to the original creator of the lecture. This of course raises the question of whether the original lecturer could or should be compensated additionally for the multiple uses of the material. The institution will it is assumed collect monies for the additional uses of the material. This creates additional requirements and opportunities for the employment contracts of teaching professionals.

Here is an article which explores some of the issues and ramifications of this brave new world of on-line teaching:


These issues will be of interest for and will impact more, on-line teachers and lecturers. You would do well to consider them and set your expectations appropriately to deal with the new on-line teaching and lecturing environment. Ongoing advances in the use of recording technology for this purpose will only make this more and more important.

Published by Resources 4 Teachers & Parents

Resources 4 Teachers is an education website that provides material, activities, lesson plans, books and videos created by teachers for teachers, students and parents.

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