Online courses prompt debate about ownership

As online courses soar in popularity, a battle is beginning over who should own them, writes Sarah Butrymowicz for The Hechinger Report. Although little noticed, it is a fight that could change longstanding traditions about faculty control of classes they create, and influence the future and success of online higher education.

Universities hope to make money from the courses, which can enrol thousands of paying students instead of the few hundred who can fit inside the largest brick-and-mortar lecture halls. But many faculty fear their work may be altered for the worse, or that universities will employ other, less-qualified people to teach them.

"There's no clarity in the field right now about ownership," said Michelle Asha Cooper, president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy. "This is something that will probably need to be resolved, but it's hard to tackle." And it's only getting harder. About 70% of 110 higher education institutions surveyed by Jeff Hoyt, an assistant vice dean at Middle Tennessee State University, have already locked in policies about who owns online courses.
Full report on the Time site