10.08 Distributed Learning and Intellectual Property Rights


This policy details University of Northern Iowa (UNI) procedures regarding the creation, ownership, storage and use of copyrights of web-based courses.  This policy is designed to encourage the development of quality distributed and/or distance learning materials. In spelling out clear rights and responsibilities, this document will allow freedom in the development and distribution of web-based courses. Further, it will recognize that ownership and intellectual property rights for distributed learning materials are held by the content developer while acknowledging that creation of intellectual properties and exclusive ownership of these materials are to benefit both the content developer and the University that supports the development of intellectual properties.

In doing so, this policy does not preclude the adaptation of future policies and guidelines to respond to changes in technologies, cultural trends and preferences.

Policy Statement

  1. Faculty own the copyright to all supplementary digital materials they develop to accompany traditional site-based courses or textbooks.
  2. Faculty who develop an on-line course while employed at the University own the copyright with the following conditions.
    1. The University of Northern Iowa reserves the right to continue offering the course if the faculty member leaves the University. The University may make, maintain and use copies of all materials. In addition, UNI also reserves the right to offer the course using other faculty should the faculty member decide not to teach it or be unable to teach sufficient sections while still employed at UNI. In that event, the faculty member who originally developed the material may negotiate continued property interest, even if another faculty is teaching the course.
    2. On-line courses developed at UNI may not be offered at another institution while the faculty member is still employed at UNI without the recommendation of the Dean and the express written approval of the Provost.
    3. An on-line course, that is commercialized, relying substantially on University resources, shall be subject to a negotiated contract (and possibly licensing) prior to commercialization of the course. Please see UNI’s Policies and Procedures on Copyrights and Patents
  3. Please also see the definitions of work for hire included in the UNI Intellectual Properties Policy.

    Appendix: Definitions of Terminology

    In order to employ a reasonable and successful policy for intellectual property rights of web-based courses, the following definitions are recognized.

    Commercialization – includes marketing, distribution, licensing, and management by for-profit vendors

    Online/Web-based – refers to courses that are available to students predominately over the web.

    Development – is the creation of online course syllabi, course outlines, lecture notes, bibliographies, texts, tests, and other activities that support teaching activities. The person(s) who perform(s) these tasks is (are) called “Content developer.”

    Faculty – anyone currently employed on a faculty appointment (full or part-time).

Office of Intellectual Properties, approved November 5, 2001
UNI Faculty Senate, approved March 11, 2002
Provost’s Office, approved April 2, 2002
President’s Cabinet, approved April 28, 2003