Intellectual Property and Blended Learning Objects

Blended Learning is a term used to describe instruction using both face-to-face contact and online interaction. As this instructional mode became more widespread, concerns among instructors at Michigan Tech were raised about the need for a “Blended Learning Policy” which would describe ownership and rules for use of the myriad learning objects (videos, quizzes, animations, discussion questions, etc.) often created in blended course development. 

Rather than attempt to catalog and provide direction for an ever expanding list of object types, the Senate Instructional Policy committee members (headed by Tim Scarlett) decided in 2014 to follow the approach taken by the University of Michigan and make a much more general statement: that faculty own their scholarly works, but the University reserves the non-exclusive right to use them.  

Unless special circumstances exist or other expectations are negotiated, developed learning objects should be made available to the University in some way.  Most commonly, this is done by simply using Michigan Tech systems such as the standard learning management system (currently Canvas), video archive system (currently Panopto), the digital commons, the campus computing network, etc.  Instructors, as owners of the content, are free to control the “timing and scope of access” to these works, as well as to use them in other ways.  Michigan Tech does set limits on use of its name, logos, seals or symbols, and requires written consent for their outside use.

This worksheet is not formally required, but could be used as a starting point should an instructor or administrator wish to begin a negotiation of different expectations for a body of work.   Administrators and instructors involved in such negotiations are encouraged to consult members of Information Technology and/or the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning to anticipate any technological or time challenges associated with preservation of or access to materials.