UO Policies - Course Materials

There has been a lot of discussion in the last few years about course materials developed at universities and related concerns with respect to online courses and other platforms that deliver courses to large populations of students (MOOCS). The policies at UO that manage the rights and expectations related to course materials have not changed in decades. This is a likely area of discussion with UO increasing its online presence. IIT is happy to talk with you regarding these issues, and we recommend being proactive and putting a written agreement in place for specific projects where you have concerns about how the course will be used, the financial model, and ownership and control of elements of the work.

Course materials created by UO faculty and other employees are subject to the same general UO policies and guidelines as other copyright works; however, there are specific aspects of the policies and guidelines that provide for the treatment of course materials as academic works.

lab notebook and pen

UO does NOT require employee works of authorship to be assigned to the university unless:

  1. The works were developed with institution support in the form of significant personnel time, facilities, or other resources;
  2. The works were developed using sponsored effort in the form of funds administered or controlled by UO; or
  3. The works were developed as a part of a specific work assignment given by a supervisor or were specifically identified in a contractual provision.

UO internal directives specifically exclude lecture notes and other materials prepared by academic staff in connection with teaching assignments and with only incidental use of institutional facilities, funds, staff, and other resources. These academic materials do not need to be assigned to the university or reported to IIT.  If you would like IIT to become the licensing/permission arm for a specific work regardless of initial ownership, feel free to contact IIT any time to discuss your options.

Based on traditions of academic freedom, creators still retain significant control over their course materials even if it turns out that UO is the owner of the copyright in the work.  As with other copyrighted works, our guidelines allow faculty and employees to continue to use and distribute their course materials outside of the UO, as long as those course materials are not sold or otherwise offered for monetary value and are appropriately marked © University of Oregon.

UO internal directives state that UO reserves the right to use and license works created using institutional resources.  Faculty or employees may use the UO-owned course materials they create, and UO can do so as well under its reservation.  For this reason, although UO may not require disclosure of these materials to IIT, the applicable department or center may wish to keep them on record for subsequent use if needed and appropriate.

Only UO-owned course materials that creators wish to subsequently use, have licensed, or have distributed outside the university in exchange for monetary compensation are required to be disclosed to IIT.  IIT staff will work proactively with the creator(s) to license and distribute these materials as efficiently as possible. We are facilitators who help faculty, staff, and departments achieve their goals, while ensuring the agreements and permissions keep us from acquiring unintended risk and liability and preserve to the maximum extent possible, faculty's degrees of freedom in teaching, research and scholarship.

Significant use of institutional resources may include: 

  • help with course design, graphic design help for print or online materials
  • personnel or staff time in the form of course compliance with accreditation standards or assembly of materials into sequenced classes or an online platform. Course materials developed in this way are obligated to be assigned to the UO. Please contact an IIT staff member if you have any questions about use guidelines. We review this standard consistent with the field you are in and the expectations of your academic department.

Incidental use may include

  • the use of a university computer, printer, routine office software, reasonable office supplies, and normal scholarly and pedagogical interaction with other employees. Generally, course materials developed with such incidental institutional resources are not obligated to be assigned to the UO.