Lectures and Intellectual Property

I was reading an article this morning about lecture capture at California State University. I found it interesting that a lot of the article is taken up by IP (intellectual property) concerns  for instance “Some professors expressed concern that their lectures, as their intellectual property, have the potential of being stolen by the university or other lecturers, or worse.”  So they are worried about their IP being stolen by other professors?? by the University?? – it seems a little out of place to me. I could understand a concern about a lecture getting on to YouTube without consent – but worrying about the University stealing their IP seems akin to wondering about “How many angles can dance on the head of a pin?”.

I think what they are really worrying about is that new media will replace the need for them to give lectures. I really don’t think they need to worry – a recording of a lecture is not the same as attending a lecture live and there are quite a few studies to back up that claim.  A recording is good if a student really can’t make it to the lecture, and great if they want to review before an exam.  Creating a electronic course that can really replace (and maybe surpass) a live lecture is a lot of work and very expensive – just a recording of a lecture doesn’t cut it.

The real problem with lectures  is that it is hard to pay attention during a standard 45 minute lecture, and that most of the retention and knowledge obtained by the students dissipates very quickly. Unless students can review the lectures again later – the retention rate of new material presented in a lecture is abysmal. Lecture notes are a help – but they only reinforce what the student grasped (and summarized) during class – they can’t help a student understand what they missed or misunderstood.

Making a recording that can help students understand more and get better grades – we believe that should be commonplace.


About Jacob Ukelson

blog (mostly) about my work and technology. So far I have been lucky enough to have been working on things I consider fun and with really top notch people. I have worked in both large companies (IBM) and small companies (ActionBase, ConicIT, Dapper, eXeedTechnologies). eXeed was establish to remedy a failure of the VC model in Israel – most VCs were monetary investors, but most companies needed not just money – they needed operational and business guidance. That is what we provide at eXeed – not just an investment but also our time and skills as seasoned software executives. I have taken on various titles – CTO, VP Products, VP BizDev – but throughout my career a constant focus has been on technologymarket fit, aka customer development. Unique breakthrough technology is a start, but the product must solve real business problems. It needs to be something customers can understand, relate to and will want to buy. I have been doing this for 20 years for software products in companies both large and small.
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