Monday, September 18, 2006

Podcasting Professor Ordered to Stop:

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, North Carolina State University Communications Professor Robert Schrag has been ordered to stop selling his lectures to students and the public as podcasts for $2.50 a pop.

"If a student doesn't want to be there, I don't want them there," Mr. Schrag said. "I want them to go away because they degrade the educational experience for the other students around them."

This raises an interesting issue about academic freedom. At virtually any university in the country, professors own the rights to all of their lecture materials, but podcasting makes it possible to virtually attend a class you don't pay tuition for. The university's crackdown speaks to a huge worry of theirs -- the erosion of higher education by greater access to it.

It is a legitimate worry, too. Each student paying thousands of dollars per semester to partially pay Schrag's salary is underwriting the cost of that podcast for the rest of us. But on the other hand, he has the right to do whatever he wants with his thoughts. How is this different from him maintaining a Web site with notes from his lectures or writing a book in the area of his expertise?

11:22 PM