Standing Committee on Training
Task Group on Web-Based Training and Distance Education
September 15, 2000
Charge and membership
II. Methods for providing distance education
Distance learning/education is not limited to web based mechanisms only, but encompasses the use of various concurrent technologies simultaneously using video, audio and web technology to best deliver the product. The for-profit world has thoroughly embraced the distance learning concept. As corporations see it "...today's workforce has gone global. When a company has to communicate with or train thousands of employees, it now can run live interactive sessions, connecting them throughout the world." (Training and development "Classroom without walls: three companies that took the plunge," Sept. 1998, v.52, no.9, p.38).
For most corporations, distance learning is a cost effective alternative to having people travel to workshops. Corporations have found that the initial development costs for a distance training session are equal to or slightly higher than classroom training. The savings for distance learning comes from the wider audience they are able to reach, the reduced travel costs, and reduced time investment on the part of individual students. However, it is not just the cost savings that are motivating the shift to distance training. Rather it is the host of additional benefits that can be achieved. The use of this modern technology has the added benefit of being less time consuming for the students, more convenient and ensures the "...message is consistent for all listeners."(Training and development "Classroom without walls: three companies that took the plunge," Sept. 1998, v.52, no.9, p.38). In a global market place, distance learning also provides for shared perspectives, insight and information across cultural and geographic lines and allows the opportunity to reach more remote and difficult to access areas.
In addition to the traditional training initiatives by corporations for their own internal use, there has been a huge proliferation of corporations devoted to the creation of distance training classes for a fee. The services vary from those that create set courses on a certain subject matter to those who create customized training courses to suit individual needs. Different market groups are being targeted by way of individual companies and large multinationals or in some cases to individuals themselves.
The issue of copyright is of a different nature in the for-profit world. Because they are creating the content of the material there is no concern with obtaining copyright permission. In as much as they own the intellectual property, their greatest concern is protecting their property through copyright protection.
An interesting trend in the area of distance learning in the for-profit world is the growing use of subject specialists. These specialists are increasingly being recruited from the ranks of university faculty. By contracting with subject specialists they insure the high quality of the product while at the same time maintaining the ownership of the intellectual property. Various models have emerged in this area with private for-profit companies contracting with individual professors in some instances or contracting with the university itself for the services of the subject specialists. Furthermore, the obvious market potential and moneymaking possibilities have led some universities to establish "...for-profit entities to develop, deliver, or market online courses."(See article at ,http://distancelearn.about.com/education/distancelearn/library/weekly/aa060500a.htm, viewed 8/10/00).
Inserting academia into the distance learning scenario presents some very interesting copyright issues. Following is a summary of some of the emerging models:
- Faculty who contract individually with private for-profit distance learning entities.
- Faculty who consult with other institutions and provide the intellectual content for various courses.
- Universities contracting with private companies to provide the intellectual content which is then produced by faculty members.
The fundamental issue in all these scenarios is who owns the intellectual property. The
Professor, because they created it, or the university, because it was created while under
their employment. These issues are not clearly addressed in the law and are the key elements in determining intellectual property ownership in any endeavor.
(An excellent article that discusses these issues at length can be found at http://www.center.rpi.edu/PewSym/mono2.html, viewed 8/8/00)
III. COPYRIGHT AND WEB-BASED DISTANCE EDUCATION
At our meeting in Chicago, we suggested that distribution of copyrighted materials in Internet-based instruction might present special problems and we were right.
According to Kenneth D. Crews, writing in Information Outlook ("The U.S. Copyright Distance Education Report," October 1999, p. 44-6), "The fair use of works in distance education has been one of the most extraordinarily difficult copyright issues for colleges and universities." The difficulty has two causes: copyright owners fear that digital distribution to a class will lead to rampant pirating of their intellectual property, and current copyright law sharply limits the uses educators may make of non-print materials, particularly if the course is delivered to distant students in any way.
The 1976 Copyright Act addresses use of intellectual property with the technology available at that time. In 1998, President Clinton signed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which made major changes in U.S. copyright law to address the digitally networked environment. But the DMCA did not deal with the issue of distance education in a way that was entirely satisfactory either to libraries/librarians, to educational institutions/instructors, or to publishers/owners of intellectual property rights. The DMCA instructs the Register of Copyrights to prepare a further report on copyright and distance education.
This review, Report on Copyright and Digital Distance Education, was issued in the spring of 1999 (available at http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/disted/, viewed 8/7/00). More recently the "Statement of the Register of Copyrights before the Web-Based Education Commission, United States Senate, July 20, 2000."
(http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/docs/regstat72000.html, viewed 8/7/00) provides additional information about modifications the Copyright Office believes are necessary to update the Act.
The Report recommends revising the copyright statute in order to facilitate instructional goals and at the same time protect intellectual property:
- Copies of digital resources made as part of the process of transmission should not be regarded as separate copies.
- Selections from dramatic and audiovisual works should be permitted, as are selections from textual works, to be distributed to students enrolled in distance education courses.
- Displays and performances of entire dramatic and audiovisual works, when an integral part of the structure of a course delivered digitally, should be permitted when that performance or display is analogous to what would take place in a live classroom setting.
- Eliminate the obsolete requirement of a physical classroom. Performances or displays should be available to, but only to, students officially enrolled in the course, regardless of their physical location. The educational institution must develop and publish policies and safeguards to protect materials transmitted; copies of the transmission should be accessible only by registered students and only during the time in which the course is being taught.
- Finally, the guidelines on fair use, while not the law, should still be applied to provide a safe harbor from liability in the context of distance education.
These recommendations focus on digital technology in the course of mediated instruction. Existing exemptions for education embody a policy that "performances or displays of copyrighted works in the course of systematic instruction should be permitted without the need to obtain a license or rely on fair use," but language of the current law lags behind technology.
Two areas where developments in technology may change the educational exemption are the difficult licensing environment for using copyrighted works, and the lack of commercially available protection measures for works used in distance education.
Further complication, particularly in regard to our Task Force's mission, is the distinction between nonprofit educational institutions and commercial organizations that provide long-distance training. Copyright holders are considerably more anxious to be compensated for use of their property if the trainer stands to make a profit from it. We have not identified who will be delivering this continuing education-will it be PCC as part of U.S. government? Or by a commercial entity like OCLC? Or by accredited library schools in universities? Or by independent contractors?
IV. Recommend new delivery mechanisms for training and describe the support needed to achieve this.
The Task Group on Web-Based Training and Distance Education recommends that the PCC take on a leadership role in maintaining and promoting distance learning. The PCC homepage from its beginning has collected training materials of different sorts. Examples include BIBCO training materials, LC/PCC policy statements such as Classification Numbers in BIBCO Records, the Series FAQ and meeting and Task Group reports.
These examples do not of course represent true distance education packages but the documents do represent a strong commitment to the provision of quality training materials. At present, the most complete training program offered by the PCC is the Serials Cataloging Cooperative Training Program (SCCTP) which provides authoritative training materials and trained serials experts to enable broad-ranging education in the field of serials cataloging.
It would therefore be a natural next step for the PCC to provide access to distance education packages created by other libraries and organizations, mount its own interactive course materials for BIBCO, NACO, SACO and CONSER and offer opportunities for more in-depth mentoring in these areas.
The Working Group sees many advantages to using the PCC website to collect and describe new and existing distance education packages.
For catalogers there would be:
- One stop shopping for in-house and personal training needs
- An Index & course descriptions
- An Authoritative "PCC seal of approval" for non-PCC training materials (PCC members would be asked to first review and test these before mounting.)
- Assurance that copyright, technical, billing issues are taken care of
For the PCC it would be an opportunity to
- Ally with others, ALCTS, OCLC, etc, and influence future directions
- Provide a needed measure of standardization in the distance learning arena
- Reinforce the PCC as arbitrator of quality
- Work to negate perceptions that PCC records are of lesser quality
- Foster and ease the inclusion of training issues in the work of the PCC Standing Committees on Standards, Automation and Training
V. Plan for achieving recommendations
Short-term [clearing house]
Long-term [steady income to pay for technology, consultants/training developers]
Please send comments and suggestions to web page creator, John Schalow.
Content questions should be directed to The Task Group.