This position paper of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges examines the increasing use of technology in education and the fundamental, academic implications of this increase for the traditional understanding of academic freedom, privacy, copyright and fair use. It is third in a series of four related papers that have already discussed academic freedom in a more general setting and instructor-student contact in distance education. The fourth paper will discuss more specific details of technology implementation in both the academic and the collective bargaining setting.
Recommendations For Local Academic Senates
The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges endorses the principle that academic freedom applies equally to material in electronic format as to traditional print material, and therefore recommends to local academic senates that:
Each local academic senate ensures that their local electronic/computer use policy includes a statement of the fundamental principle of academic freedom in the electronic medium.
Each local academic senate is involved in creating and implementing the process that deals with possible exceptions or violations.
The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges endorses both the fundamental principle that Email communication between faculty members and between faculty and students is confidential, and the practical acknowledgment that Email is an insecure medium, and therefore recommends to local academic senates that:
Each local academic senate ensures that their local electronic/computer use policy includes a statement of the fundamental principle of the confidentiality of Email communications, while urging practical caution regarding the inherent lack of absolute security.
Each local academic senate works with collective bargaining colleagues to create contract language creating and implementing the process that deals with confidentiality and with possible exceptions and technical safeguards or limitations.
The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges encourages local academic senates to urge individual faculty members to carefully consider issues of copyright and fair use, and therefore recommends that:
Individuals creating original materials should copyright those materials regardless of what they wish to do in regard to their dissemination and use. While a work is copyrighted the instant it is produced, individuals should consider registering a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. (Forms for doing so are available by phone and on the website.)
Individuals creating original materials should review the copyright laws in respect to ownership, especially in regard to issues of making works for hire.
Users of copyrighted material should carefully review fair use guidelines. Where the guidelines are not absolutely clear, seek permission of the copyright owner for the use desired. For any complex fair use concerns, consult a lawyer with expertise in copyright laws.
Individuals and institutions should be cognizant of state educational models regarding fair use of copyrighted material.
Each local academic senate should seek to establish through the collaborative consultation process policies on both copyright and fair use. Such policies should be developed in consultation and cooperation with appropriate bargaining agents, since some issues may involve working conditions (e.g., compensation, released time for creation of materials, load factors, assignment of copyright for multimedia materials created by using college/district equipment and facilities). Both owner and user need to be taken into account in such policies.