Intellectual Property: January 9 -29, 2008

Property and Ownership

A hypothetical question - collaboration and ownership

by Marsha West -
Number of replies: 0
Let's see--suppose that I teach an online course. The learners in this course do collaborative work as they complete the assignments. The expectations are very clear, and one may only remain in the course if he/she contributes regularly and positively. Failure to participate leads to the person being dropped from the course.

Over the years there has been continuing discussion about whether a dropped learner should retain access to the course. Some would say that if the person retains "observer" status, (read, but not write privileges) he/she can continue to benefit from the work that continues to be done. Others feel that is unfair to those who are engaged in collaborative "construction" of learning -- and that it fails to provide a "safe and comfortable" learning environment.

It seems to me that this is a question that relates entirely to the issue of ownership of ideas --

I feel strongly that when someone leaves the class they should no longer have access to that space. The ideas being shared there belong to the collaborators, not to a lurker who has not contributed. . . .

What do others think about this??