The use of student generated content in a course raises the question of who is the owner of the student generated content. You may find more information and background of in “Copyright Challenges in a MOOC Environment at [1](Links to an external site.)
” published by EDUCAUSE”.

A relevant paragraph is included below:

“Traditionally, students own content they create in courses and throughout their academic careers. MOOC students, however, might not be considered students in the institution’s sense of the word; they do not receive academic credit, do not pay regular tuition (if any), and may not have matriculated with an academic institution. Yet individuals enrolled in MOOCs often submit assignments and participate in chat and discussion sessions. Who owns that content? Does the institution have an interest in protecting MOOC student–generated work? Should it? Students may be unaware of the ownership implications when they submit content to a MOOC. User agreements—standard on every MOOC platform—generally give the provider rights to license and redistribute user-generated content, often in perpetuity. An example of a standard agreement (wording is basically the same across platforms) illustrates the point:

By submitting or distributing User Postings to the Site, you hereby grant to [provider] a worldwide, nonexclusive, transferrable, assignable, sublicensable, fully paid-up, royaltyfree, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to host, transfer, display, perform, reproduce, modify, distribute, redistribute, relicense and otherwise use, make available, and exploit your User Postings, in whole or in part, in any form and in any media formats and through any media channels (now known or hereafter developed).
In other words, by participating in a MOOC the user agrees to grant the platform provider a sweeping license to do what they want with the user’s content. A useful 2013 document, A Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age at [2]
 (Links to an external site.)emphasizes students’ IP rights in an online learning environment, including MOOCS. It states:
Students also have the right to create and own intellectual property and data associated with their participation in online courses. Online programs should encourage openness and sharing, while working to educate students about the various ways they can protect and license their data and creative work. Any changes in terms of service should be clearly communicated by the provider, and they should never erode the original terms of privacy or the intellectual property rights to which the student agreed”.

If you wish to share your thoughts, you may participate in a discussion on our Linkedin group called ‘Student generated content’ at [3]
 (Links to an external site.)

Issues you might wish to discuss could include the questions:

  • Is student generated content valuable for learners?
  • Who owns the student generated content in a MOOC?
  • Can I use the student generated content in a MOOC?