September 17, 2006
Professor Sells Podcasts of Lectures; Is Asked to Stop
From the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Robert L. Schrag, a communications professor at North Carolina State University, recorded his classroom lectures and offered them for sale on a website for $2.50 each. There wasn't a great market for them (only 12 bought, with a total of $11 going to Schrag), but the practice nonetheless raised some difficult questions. NCSU, like many universities, allows its professors to retain their copyrights, so Schrag wasn't infringing on the University's copyright (however, a different result might obtain at other schools with different policies). Yet, the practice of a professor getting double-paid for classroom duty implicates some complex fairness norms, plus there is at least a hypothetical concern that some students might be willing to pay to bypass classroom attendance for the convenience of podcasted lectures.
After the communications dean indicated that she was bothered by the practice, Schrag stopped. However, surely we haven't heard the last of this practice--or of other ways that enterprising professors can generate alternative revenue streams.
UPDATE: I've learned that a site, TeachersPayTeachers.com, is trying to make a market for teachers to sell lesson plans to other teachers.
Posted by Eric at September 17, 2006 04:45 PM | Legal Education Industry
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This is the first I've heard of a professor selling his or her own podcast lectures, but I'm sure you're right in saying that it won't be the last time. I agree with you that this kind of practice could lead to students simply paying the small fee for the podcast in order not to attend class. I know I would would gladly pay $2.50 to gain an hour or two extra each day. My time is worth more than that!!
Posted by: TheBizofKnowledge at September 17, 2006 08:45 PM
Had you heard about this? UC Berkeley is podcasting some courses, and selling some on iTunes as well.
Posted by: Cathy at September 17, 2006 09:13 PM