Objectives for this Activity: (as presented to students before activity or in syllabus)

After completing the readings and assignments in this modules, participants will

  • understand intellectual property agreements through active analysis and evaluation of a given situation and
  • continue to develop an appreciation of the varying viewpoints

as determined by addressing a minimum of 80% of the point requirements delineated by the activity rubric and actively participating in discussion.

Prerequisites for this Activity: (not necessarily presented to students)

Student should complete the readings for the section prior to beginning the discussion. Background knowledge appropriate to the question must be presented.

Materials and Resources:

What needs to be prepared in advance by the teacher? - The instructor should have all discussion questions prepared ahead of time. Furthermore, a rubric for grading the activity based upon potential student answers should be developed.

What does the student need to bring to the lesson? - Complete prior readings.

Guiding Questions for this Activity: (not presented directly to students but a question that should be addressed in the readings)

Who owns what and when concerning faculty or staff developed online learning materials?

Activity as Presented to Students: (usually in conjunction with the asynchronous discussion forum)


assignment Hypotheticals Assignment
Show me what you know

As you can see from the previous discussions, many issues are involved when trying to decide where ownership should fall with regards to online materials. Furthermore, the policies of various institutions do not follow a set line of reasoning. Sometimes they are strict with the University taking control of most instructor materials and other times they are very loose. In some cases, a written policy may not even exist. What we want to do next is consider some hypothetical cases that bring out the issues. The purpose of these hypotheticals is to spawn active communication among the group on all of the issues to enable everyone to see arguments more clearly and from various viewpoints. For that reason, I have kept the information in the hypotheticals to a minimum. Instead, in your response, analyze what has been given and give the questions that would still need to be asked in order to fully grasp the situation. Each student will be given a single hypothetical on which to comment. These comments can be concise, but should address the major issues that you feel are important in determining what the faculty and/or administration should do in the given situation. The answers are to be posted / presented in the Discussion Forum herein. Each hypothetical will have its own folder. The assignment of a single hypothetical to each student will be done the week of the assignment. Everyone will have 3 days to complete the assignment. Then, a 3 day period will be given in which to constructively comment on three other students' answers to hypotheticals other than the one to which you gave an answer.

Hypothetical assignments can then be given to the students as a table following the above statement, through email, in announcements, in the discussion forum along with the actual questions, or whatever standard method of assignment has been developed in the course.

Then, within the discussion forum, the following question is posed with the hypothetical header so that all discussion on the given hypothetical will be in a single easy to identify thread.

Hypothetical #1: Your school is planning to unveil a new plan for future development of a computer based learning center in which courses in the psychology department will be taught entirely online. Teaching assistants will be available to aid the students when they have questions, but the courses will be self paced and entirely online. As a faculty member of that institution, you have been asked to help develop courseware for this program. What are the implications of that request? How does this effect your own job security? What other effects will there be and on whom? What arguments can you make for or against the program?

Students would then reply to this question and the thread would develop.

Teaching Strategies:

What are some tips to help the lesson run smoothly? A difficulty with hypothetical situations is for the teacher to wait until the students counter-post for or against an initial student analysis of the hypothetical. Instructor postings tend to squash further development in the given hypothetical discussion thread.

Additionally, if this is the first hypothetical assignment (although the example provided would probably be later in a class or workshop), a sample posting might be given with a sample question in order to help students understand expectations.

Finally, the instructor should have a detailed analysis of the given hypothetical to help guide in analysis of the student responses. After the discussion is over, the instructor can then post this analysis with possible references to the arguments developed by the students so as to personalize the feedback.


What accommodations may be needed for students with disabilities or other special needs? This lesson requires few if any accommodations. Most text to speech and speech to text programs can function within most asynchronous discussion tools. The bandwidth requirements are also low.

Ideas for Activity Evaluation and Teacher Reflection:

How did the students like the lesson? End of semester evaluations should ask about the usefulness and learning accomplished through such activities.

How was student learning verified? An assessment should be performed on the quality of both the initial response by students, and any counter responses. Furthermore, retention of the knowledge should be tested by students ability to build on this knowledge with later units. Rubric development can be difficult for hypothetical assignments such as this one, as there may not be a right or wrong answer, and there can be many avenues which the students could develop in their discussion. Any rubric should therefore be kept somewhat general. Possible criteria in the rubric include: clarity, grammar, argument presentation, analysis of a given number of factors, timeliness.

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University of Illinois
University of Illinois University of Illinois at Chicago University of Illinois at Springfield University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign