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Professor Sells Lectures Online

samzenpus posted about 8 years ago | from the never-go-to-class-again dept.

457

KnightMB writes "Students at NCSU have the option of purchasing the lectures of a professor online. The Professor did this as a way to help those that missed class, didn't take good notes, or from another country and have trouble understanding an English speaking Professor. The reactions on campus were mixed among the students as some saw it as a great way to keep up with things should real life interfere and others see it as something to pay for on top of the tuition cost at the university. Each one cost $2.50 for the entire lecture. Some students feel it should be free or cost less. The professor brings up a point that doing this takes extra effort and it's only fair that they should have to pay for that extra time and effort needed to put the lectures online for sale such as editing, recording equipment, etc. No one is forced to purchase the lectures, they are only an additional option that students will have. Quote Dr. Schrag "Your tuition buys you access to the lectures in the classroom. If you want to hear one again, you can buy it. I guess you could see the service as a safety net designed to help the students get the content when life gets in the way of their getting to class."

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Even Apple would have been better (2, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 8 years ago | (#16100536)

Schrag explained that $1.50 of the money goes directly to ind-music.com, the host of the Web site offering the service. One dollar then goes to Schrag to offset the cost of recording and editing the lengthy lectures.

If he's only getting that percentage anyway, he could have saved his students money by making it a podcast.

Re:Even Apple would have been better (5, Insightful)

HatchedEggs (1002127) | about 8 years ago | (#16100635)

I think that $2.50 is a fair price for a lecture. Lets be realistic... most of the time that you miss class it is your own choice (or worse, your failure) to miss it. In that, the professor doesn't owe anybody his free time. Something like this does take time and effort beyond what is normally expected. Those times when I missed class in college I would have gladly paid $2.50 if it was something that I wanted to hear.

So... sure, make it a podcast. But keep the price at $2.50 and make all the profit himself. Students don't need any more excuse to be lazy, a good deal of them perfected the skill long ago.

Re:Even Apple would have been better (1)

Bob 535604 (871095) | about 8 years ago | (#16100761)

I go to NCSU and read this in the paper today. The article explains that $1.50 goes to ind-music.com, where it's hosted, and he only gets $1.00 per sale. Seems like not a bad price for covering his time/effort of recording each lecture and uploading them every class.
Of course, most professors put their lecture notes online for free, which isn't too far off from an mp3 file in terms of what you get out of it, so maybe it's not that great of a deal. Personally, I'd just go to class.

O/B Spicoli (3, Funny)

Sqwubbsy (723014) | about 8 years ago | (#16100797)

"I've been thinking about this Mister Hand. If you're here and I'm here, doesn't that technically make it our time?"

Re:Even Apple would have been better (2, Interesting)

ben there... (946946) | about 8 years ago | (#16100700)

$1.50 for a 10 MB audio file is rather ridiculous. I could host the same thing for pennies, and I don't even have a huge university network (bigger tubes than the internet uses), just a cheapo hosting account.

Also, from ind-music.com:

Newsflash
If you have come to this site looking to purchase the audio lecture notes for Professor Robert Schrag, please take note that the files have been temporarily removed at the request of Dr. Schrag. In the meantime, check out some great indie bands in our Music Store.

Re:Even Apple would have been better (1, Insightful)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | about 8 years ago | (#16100703)

At a state university this means that he's essentially running a small side business which feeds off of his normal job at the expense of the public. While I understand that this is standard operating procedure for universities of all kinds, it still makes me slightly uneasy. I would much prefer that the university pay for recording all his lectures (if they aren't already) and then podcast them.... Seems that somewhere along the line, "For the good of the whole" exited the philosophy of public university in the US.

Re:Even Apple would have been better (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 8 years ago | (#16100732)

Since he is using university property.. and has this opportunity because he is a professor at that university, I would think the university should get a cut. Not all- not even most-- but definately a cut.

Old News (1)

gbulmash (688770) | about 8 years ago | (#16100542)

Years ago, when I was in school, there were services that did this at my university. They ran with the U's blessing and had to get Prof permission. They didn't sell lectures, just lecture notes. But if the midterm was approaching and you slept through a morning class, $1.50 for the notes on the lecture you missed was well worth it.

- Greg

Re:Old News (4, Funny)

EmperorKagato (689705) | about 8 years ago | (#16100546)

Selling lectures online. Brilliant!

Re:Old News (1)

dan828 (753380) | about 8 years ago | (#16100591)

My school did this as well-- and of course the week before finals the line to buy notes usually took an hour or more to get through. It would have been nice just to be able to be able to get on-line and d/l the lectures.

I can see it now...."Mom, had to use the emergency credit card to download an entire semester's worth of lectures for three classes because....I....um.....lost my notes...."

Re:Old News (1)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | about 8 years ago | (#16100716)

Every class I've studied (or taught) has had online lecture notes available for free, usually of quality decent enough for readers to get a passing grade in the class. On top of that, half of the CS lectures I attended as a student (and a couple I taught as a lecturer) were taped outright by students - often using digital recorders, occasionally without the lecturer's consent. And I have no doubt that those recordings were passed on to other students, free of charge.

How is this Prof going to stop something like that? Strip-searching? Metal detectors? Call in the RIAA?

Seriously, he's kidding if he thinks the already-exorbitant fees for education shouldn't cover the availability of notes. The real tangible benefit to him of putting them online, is that it means those who can't be bothered to come to class don't come. Believe me, teaching 50 people who are interested in what you have to say and want to get more than a passing grade is a lot more enjoyable than teaching 200 that couldn't care less.

Hm (5, Interesting)

Umbral Blot (737704) | about 8 years ago | (#16100551)

If it isn't DRMed to hell this could be great, for example one could make techno-remixes of professors, ect.

Re:Hm (4, Informative)

rdwald (831442) | about 8 years ago | (#16100610)

Already been done at Caltech...Nate Lewis Rap Remix [caltech.edu] .

Re:Hm (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | about 8 years ago | (#16100728)

Was that Ch1a? What year?

Re:Hm (1)

rdwald (831442) | about 8 years ago | (#16100762)

Yep, Ch 1a. This was made last year (i.e., in the fall of 2004) by some friends of mine; I can't claim actual credit. The one guy who did the most work on it has a rather low opinion of Slashdot (he believes himself to have "grown out of it" during high school), so I won't post his name.

Bull (0)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 8 years ago | (#16100553)

All my lecturers provided lecture notes during the lectures. Online versions were often available, and extra printed copies could easily be obtained from the lecturer in question. I, and all of my coursemates would have been furious if we had to pay for notes in addition to paying the tuition fees (UKP 1000/year).

There was not nearly enough time in the lectures to both take good notes and listen to the course at the same time. So, if this lecturer is claiming it is extra effort to produce lecture notes, then he is not doing his job, frankly.

^ Mod parent up (0)

overacid (604542) | about 8 years ago | (#16100673)

There was not nearly enough time in the lectures to both take good notes and listen to the course at the same time. So, if this lecturer is claiming it is extra effort to produce lecture notes, then he is not doing his job, frankly.
Here here!

There's not a single person who went to university who would disagree with that. Every Lecture I attended covered a wide spectrum of topics and of high complexity. That's why they call it 'higher education.'

To expect that a student have ample time to take down a plethora of detailed notes, ample energy from not being up most the night before in the student bar, and ample patience to stay focused during a typical 2 hour session... and still have the cheek to charge these poor sods, who are most likely dirt poor (ref: student bar again) to begin with, for the lecture notes is clearly over the top and downright unfair.

Mod parent and grandparent down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16100712)

Learn to read, he's not selling lecture notes, he's selling video copies of his lectures that he has to edit himself.

Re:Mod parent and grandparent down (1)

overacid (604542) | about 8 years ago | (#16100776)

You're missing the point. It doesn't matter which medium the lecturer is providing this post-lecture information. The point is, he's selling it.

Re:^ Mod parent up (1, Insightful)

cyberon22 (456844) | about 8 years ago | (#16100725)

Hear hear hear....

Students paying tuition are paying for fair access to course materials. Providing these materials selectively and at extra cost to privileged students is unfair and exploitative. It skews the bell curve towards wealthier students and thus obviates the level playing ground provided by a lecture-centric educational system.

If this good professor wishes to charge for his knowledge, he should abandon tenure and leave the university. Once the university is no longer pushing students into his course he can charge what he will for his pontifications. Any bets on whether that will reach $2.50 per download?

Re:Bull (1)

ampathee (682788) | about 8 years ago | (#16100684)

Well, that's not what he's claiming.

He's not selling lecture notes, he's selling audio recordings of his lectures.

Well depends on what he's selling (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 8 years ago | (#16100730)

Notes are easy. Unless a professor is a crappy lecturer, they presumably have lecture notes/slides. So just digitise that (or create it digital in the first place) and you are good to go. However an actual video copy of the lecture is more work. I've done videos for professors and it does take a non-trivial amount of time to get all the video equipment up and running, and then afterwards to transfer it to computer, edit it, and convert it. I'm not saying it's a ton of work, but it is a non-trivial amount and the professor is doing it of their own volition.

If the university itself was going to install the facilities and hire the people as a part of the course then ok, but if a professor is providing the equipment and doing all the work himself, then I think he's got a right to charge. I mean he could, if he wanted, just not do it at all.

It's not fair to say "You have to spend your own time and money to make things easier for me for no compensation." That's not how it works. His job is to provide a lecture to teach you the materials and to test you on those. They are not required to bend over backwards for you.

Re:Well depends on what he's selling (1)

akratic (770961) | about 8 years ago | (#16100751)

Unless a professor is a crappy lecturer, they presumably have lecture notes/slides.

Some lecturers are talented at extemporaneous speaking and can give good lectures without notes. Many lecturers have notes that are only intelligible to them. Producing a set of notes that others can understand is a lot more work than producing notes you can understand.

Re:Well depends on what he's selling (1)

SEAL (88488) | about 8 years ago | (#16100792)

I've found that more often than not, professors lecture almost verbatim from either a set of detailed, easily readable notes, or from a book - often one that they wrote or collaborated on.

The worst professors I had were the few who DID produce lectures without notes as a fixed reference point. Why? Because the material on their tests generally came from a book and had little relevance to the lectures.

Re:Bull (2, Informative)

akratic (770961) | about 8 years ago | (#16100737)

The professor isn't providing lecture notes for a fee. He's providing recordings of the lectures.

The U.K. educational system is apparently quite different from the system in the U.S. At the two universities I've studied at, only a few professors provide lecture outlines, and none that I know of provide full lecture notes. If you miss a lecture, it's your responsibility to get notes from another student. In the U.S., providing lecture notes is not part of a professor's job description.

Taking notes is an important skill. If you try to write down everything, you're going to get lost. You need to learn how to figure out what's important to write down and what's not.

Re:Bull (1)

Burning Plastic (153446) | about 8 years ago | (#16100755)

Some of the best lecturers that I had when I was an undergrad didn't provide any lecture notes at all.

This was only a few years ago and noone took it for granted that they were going to get given a set of notes after any particular lecture. One part of this was that everyone learnt how to take notes in a form that worked for them rather than relying on having some printed out powerpoint slides.

Notes were a nice addition to a lecture series and were useful for revision and adding to taken notes but they were just that - something extra that was not needed or expected, but did make life a little easier.

(I did my undergrad degree in the UK as well)...

This lecturer is not just putting some powerpoint slides up on the web - he seems to be recording, cleaning up and then providing the lectures in audio form which would require some addition time. Since this is not part of the standard job description then I have nothing against some money being made off of this... (Although in my experience one or two people would buy it and then copies would be made for everyone else).

Litigation guaranteed! (1)

gettingbraver (987276) | about 8 years ago | (#16100554)

Seriously, he might as well have added "Sue me!" to the site.

Now where can i purchase (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16100558)

old slashdot stories or dupes?
I'm serious

Why is this news? (2, Interesting)

lambadomy (160559) | about 8 years ago | (#16100562)

This sounds like the school equivalent of all those patents that take something common and add "on a computer". I was able to buy lecture notes for most of my classes in 1996. Admittedly, those notes were taken by someone paid to take the notes, and sold by the school not the professor, but still this doesn't seem particularly exciting or novel, just a natural progression. I do remember back then they printed the notes on this annoying red paper to make it more difficult to photocopy the notes, something tells me any measures on the web to prevent copying and sharing of these notes will be even less effective.

Lazy...Pure and Simple (1)

PreacherTom (1000306) | about 8 years ago | (#16100566)

What a wonderful way to reward laziness. And hey, while you're at it, pad your pockets through your podcast? Ridiculous.

Re:Lazy...Pure and Simple (4, Insightful)

Y-Crate (540566) | about 8 years ago | (#16100584)

What a wonderful way to reward laziness. And hey, while you're at it, pad your pockets through your podcast? Ridiculous.
I tend to agree, but there are some classes where missing a day or two because of illness or some other, non-voluntary situation can absolutely destroy your progress in the course.

Re:Lazy...Pure and Simple (1)

generic-man (33649) | about 8 years ago | (#16100646)

Then why not ask to borrow a classmate's notes? Not all my professors made notes available at all on the web, so that's what I did when I missed a lecture.

Hmm... perhaps students could undercut the professor by selling their own notes. I have to tell my friend Cliff about this!

Re:Lazy...Pure and Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16100677)

I was hit by a truck and missed two weeks of my digial signal processing class. I had a classmate's notes, I had the professor's notes, I even got a free pass on the test I missed while I was in the hospital, but I just couldn't catch back up and dropped the class after failing the midterm.

Sometimes it just can't be done. This service probably wouldn't have saved me, I was pretty well doped up those weeks so trying to follow the class and do the homework would have resulted in answers like "32a) The bandpass filter described by this circuit would totally pass Starship"

Re:Lazy...Pure and Simple (1)

ElleyKitten (715519) | about 8 years ago | (#16100812)

Then why not ask to borrow a classmate's notes? Not all my professors made notes available at all on the web, so that's what I did when I missed a lecture.
But if there is a recording, why not take advantage of it?

Re:Lazy...Pure and Simple (5, Insightful)

badasscat (563442) | about 8 years ago | (#16100690)

What a wonderful way to reward laziness. And hey, while you're at it, pad your pockets through your podcast? Ridiculous.

I see someone's apparently never been to college.

What happens when a family member takes ill or dies? What happens if you get sick? Or break your leg? Or (as I did a couple months ago) suffer a spontaneous lung collapse?

If you're working, you call in sick, go on leave if necessary, go back to work when you can and no harm done.

In college, you miss a class and in some cases, you fail the course. It doesn't matter why you missed it; if you don't know the material, you have no hope of passing. You have now wasted potentially thousands of dollars, several months worth of your time and have a permanent black mark on your record, which will affect your later job prospects. All because you might have been walking down the street one day and slipped on the sidewalk.

I went to college; obviously, I know there are days when kids just don't feel like going to class. But you know what? There are days when 40-year-olds don't feel like going to work either. The difference is, most white-collar workers can call in sick, take a personal day or vacation day. (In fact, personal days and vacation days are *intended* to reward "laziness" as you put it - people need downtime.) College students officially get no unscheduled days off, for any reason. (Some professors are more relaxed than others, but my university had no such thing as "sick days". And anyway, if you miss important material, there's no hope of passing final exams.)

And just in case you're still sitting in judgment of college students' "laziness", consider the fact that many college students have classes six days a week, year round, from 8AM to 10PM, and on the off day they're doing homework. This was the way my student life was at NYU. My last 2 years, I got about 3 hours of sleep every single night, and some nights I got none. You're going to judge somebody even if they do just feel like taking a day off now and then?

These kids are ungrateful jerks for complaining over $2.50, though. I would have given my left nut for the chance to pay $2.50 for a missed lecture when I was in college. No such technology even existed back then to do so (unless the prof. wanted to spend all his off hours making analog cassette copies for his students).

Re:Lazy...Pure and Simple (1)

tzanger (1575) | about 8 years ago | (#16100749)

If you're working, you call in sick, go on leave if necessary, go back to work when you can and no harm done.

If I call in sick, I am either docked pay (if you're hourly), and have to catch up on my own time. If I have clients coming in, I need to have their appointments rescheduled if possible. How is this any different for college? You grab a friend's notes or talk to the prof or TA.

College students officially get no unscheduled days off, for any reason.

Uh, yeah. Stop going to the pub every night, get up for class, and DO YOUR FUCKING JOB. Honestly, you whine like you are ENTITLED to graduate. Do your job; if you have an illness/death you deal with it. There are procedures in place for this, and if you'd actually HAD one of these legitimate happenings you'd have known about them because you'd have gone to the administration office and enquired.

You pay your tuition, you are entitled to go to the classes and do your best to learn the course material, and you're entitled to write the exams and get a degree if you show that you've assimilated the information correctly. This professor is going above and beyond to produce a value-added service that is NOT in his job description to provide, and people like you piss and moan that it's not free. Unbelievable.

License to print money (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16100577)

1/ Speak really fast / erratically so the students have difficulty paying attention / making good notes

2/ Sell copies of notes to students to replace what they were unable to make themselves

3/ Profit!

What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16100579)

This is NSCU. Not like it is real University.

(Silence)

Uhhh... please excuse me while I mod myself down.

Everyone seems to be missing a vital point. (1, Insightful)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about 8 years ago | (#16100580)

To whomever thinks the pricing is outrageous... it should dawn on you that the alternative is NO SERVICE for NOTHING. Those are the two alternatives and the only two. Now which would you prefer: The option of purchasing non-required lecture notes or no option at all. That's what I thought.

Re:Everyone seems to be missing a vital point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16100647)

To whomever thinks the pricing is outrageous... it should dawn on you that the alternative is NO SERVICE for NOTHING.

Why?

Re:Everyone seems to be missing a vital point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16100707)

That's not true. Any sizable university has webpages for each individual class with space for the professors to upload content to. He could easily help those students by posting these MP3s' there. Not to mention, how much effort does it take to encode the lecture recordings into an MP3 file? It's not like he has to take anything out of the lectures--if he does, then you're not getting what you paid for anyway.

This is an extra way for this professor to pad his pocket. It's pathetic to me that this kind of stuff is being charged for. I did not pay to hear random lectures from professors on any given day; I paid to be educated, and I paid a lot of money for that too.

These professors are not [generally] underpaid, and most are overpaid with cushioned jobs and tenure, making it nearly impossible to fire them. All of that on top of very few hours and even less time to be bothered by those pesky students that do need help.

Re:Everyone seems to be missing a vital point. (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | about 8 years ago | (#16100766)

This is an extra way for this professor to pad his pocket. It's pathetic to me that this kind of stuff is being charged for.

Oh noes! $20 a week! Oh noes! Oh noes!

and most are overpaid with cushioned jobs and tenure

And here we see the reason for the bitching. "We can't fire them so we gripe and bitch because they made $20 selling lectures." It is amazing how important it is to the suburban white ass that everyone be vulnerable to the loss of their job, income, career and home.

Give it a rest.

volunteer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16100581)

The professor brings up a point that doing this takes extra effort and it's only fair that they should have to pay for that extra time and effort needed to put the lectures online for sale such as editing, recording equipment, etc.

I suppose this means that, if students volunteered to record and edit the lecture and distribute it for free, the professor would have no objection?

Re:volunteer (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | about 8 years ago | (#16100802)

I suppose this means that, if students volunteered to record and edit the lecture and distribute it for free, the professor would have no objection?

Yes because the highest calling of the techno-cyber-people is to invest time and effort to deprive someone of their $2.50

And the problem is? (2, Insightful)

yeoua (86835) | about 8 years ago | (#16100585)

Seems like a good deal. If you don't want to pay extra, just go take the notes yourself... you paid for it already anyway. If you want the stuff for free, just get someone else to record it for you.

But yes, if he is offering very clear, and clean mp3 versions of his lecture, this could be a non trivial task to make sure the audio is audible, which is what your money would be paying for. This is on top of the lecture. He is isn't required to do this.

Most other professors have written notes instead... which probably would be more useful than this.

Re:And the problem is? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 years ago | (#16100627)

IF bhis lecture is clean enough to record, then how are the student in class expected to understand the class?

what next, charging me for the ink he used to print out his lecture?

Re:And the problem is? (1)

strider44 (650833) | about 8 years ago | (#16100704)

The problem is that they're already paying the lecturer to teach them. In my opinion the lecturer should try to do as much as he can to teach his/her students not take the opportunity to charge even more money.

Yeah, until... (3, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 8 years ago | (#16100589)

He starts racing through lectures and writes equations on the board faster than students can copy them, because "if they keep catch up, that can always buy the video."

Re:Yeah, until... (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 8 years ago | (#16100613)

Holy crap, I just watched the Borat trailer http://www.apple.com/trailers/fox/borat/ [apple.com] and I'm already talking like him!

I meant to say, "if they can't keep up, they can always watch the video."

So how long before they show up for free? (5, Insightful)

JudgeFurious (455868) | about 8 years ago | (#16100594)

I can see students getting together to buy them all for study purposes and then bundling them all together to either sell to people taking the class next semester or more than likely just sharing them all. Before long the professor is easily found on file sharing networks.

  Information does want to be free after all.

Re:So how long before they show up for free? (1)

SEAL (88488) | about 8 years ago | (#16100759)

Information does want to be free after all.

Or $2.50, max.

Too bad this hasn't permeated the Stats Dept (1)

oldosadmin (759103) | about 8 years ago | (#16100601)

I missed my Stats class at NCSU last night :( I'd gladly pay $1.50 to get that lecture.

Re:Too bad this hasn't permeated the Stats Dept (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 years ago | (#16100638)

I would argue that all lectures should be posted online as a matter of course.

Re:Too bad this hasn't permeated the Stats Dept (1)

krotkruton (967718) | about 8 years ago | (#16100708)

would you gladly pay $1.50 if you missed class and wanted to get the homework assignment but your prof charged yor for it?

Do your profs have course web pages, and if so, would you be willing to pay for access to the course web page? Just some thoughts.

lame (1)

voot (609611) | about 8 years ago | (#16100609)

meh, i would be pissed if one of my teachers wanted to do that. but i guess its alright as long as he is not using any university equipment to produce the recordings. i guess it is still kind of a racket

Re:lame (1)

pjdepasq (214609) | about 8 years ago | (#16100699)

Oh but he is using their resources... He's using their facilities to record the lecture, their power to drive the camcorder, possibly their network to upload the lecture, etc... and that's assuming he's using his own equipment (possibly a big assumption here). Technically, it might be argued that he's a resource that the state pays for as well... then again, that arguement breaks down when we talk about him going out and receiving an honorarium to give invited talks and such.

Let's see how the state legislature reacts to one of the their profs (it's a state school, right? He's a state employee, reselling his services that they already pay for...) doing this. I'll bet a buck they shut him down under the guise of mis-use of state resources to make a buck on the side.

Re:lame (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | about 8 years ago | (#16100787)

I'll bet a buck they shut him down under the guise of mis-use of state resources to make a buck on the side.

Under a bill titled "The Irony in Education Act" no doubt.

So... (1)

TemplesA (984100) | about 8 years ago | (#16100611)

Part of me thinks that some students would abuse this- there's no way to validate the claims made by a student out for a week, and now, they can just grab an electronic copy... But part of me, for the reasons stated in the article and more, likes this a lot. I can honestly say I wish my college would offer this, because things have happened that I cannot control, and I do miss classes.

At the same time, part of me is angered by this. The statement that "I've payed to get into the classrooms", is sort of bullshit. First of all, I've paid a lot of fuckin' money to get there- AND THEN I HAVE TO BUY MY BOOKS. How is it that you figure on top of my 18,xxx$ a YEAR tuition you should not include at least an electronic copy of the lecture in some form, IF I am able to prove that I had missed class for a reason better than just oversleeping?

On another note... One kids tuition probably pays the same as the entire ammount of money the school might stand to gain in the course of selling lectures for a year- I can't imagine it's a huge market, and just as a bonus, it would make me that much happier when I see him drive away in his Porsche. Dunno why, it just would.

great idea, no really (1)

tehwebguy (860335) | about 8 years ago | (#16100612)

i think this is a really good idea..

1. it will probably keep some kids who don't feel like being in class out -- this will help those who do want to participate
2. it is good for studying for finals, or finding some obscure point you missed in class
3. it is good for when you just can't make it to class for whatever reason -- WAY better than copying notes off some other person in class, who probably has even worse handwriting than you do
4. ???
5. Profit!

We've been doing that here for years... (1)

RootWind (993172) | about 8 years ago | (#16100615)

For the general Biology class, the professor sells the notes and slides to support the Biology club. $7 or so, gets you the packet of the slides shown in class. (Exactly the same as if you would have just written it down yourself)

The Old Tape Recorder (4, Interesting)

The Ape With No Name (213531) | about 8 years ago | (#16100617)

Is banned in my classroom as is all other electronic devices except for ADA needs. I don't post the notes and I don't post the powerpoints. Why? Well, there is a direct correlation between bad grades and lack of attendance of lectures even if the notes and powerpoints are posted. I also found out that a teacher at another university was using my powerpoints with out attribution as his own work. AND what I say in class is my intellectual property. AND I don't want the David Hershowitz brown shirts holding the odd joke about US foreign policy during the Eisenhower era against me (actually happened).

Re:The Old Tape Recorder (4, Interesting)

Mikey-San (582838) | about 8 years ago | (#16100695)

AND what I say in class is my intellectual property.

You'd better stop your students from, uh, using your "intellectual property" in real life, then. That's valuable money you're losing by teaching students your knowledge.

Are your students not allowed to talk to people about what you say, as well?

You should make them license this special "intellectual property" when they go to work and use what you've taught them. I mean, it's not like there are other people teaching the same things out of the same reference material or anything.

For fuck's sake, are teachers really starting to call their lessons "intellectual property"?

Re:The Old Tape Recorder (1)

The Ape With No Name (213531) | about 8 years ago | (#16100752)

"You'd better stop your students from, uh, using your "intellectual property" in real life, then. That's valuable money you're losing by teaching students your knowledge.

Are your students not allowed to talk to people about what you say, as well?

You should make them license this special "intellectual property" when they go to work and use what you've taught them. I mean, it's not like there are other people teaching the same things out of the same reference material or anything.

For fuck's sake, are teachers really starting to call their lessons "intellectual property"?"

As long as kids try to patent and profit from ideas they hear in class as well as use ideas transmitted from the professor to them to wreck the professor's career (see my reference to the Eisenhower remark), you are fucking 'A' right.

As for licensing, let me introduce you to a little thing called the BSD license....

Re:The Old Tape Recorder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16100706)

You, sir, are a wanker. I hate attending lectures but given the notes I will still get good grades. Why fuck over those of us who don't want to turn up but are still capable of learning on our own?

You're a teacher not a baby sitter.

Re:The Old Tape Recorder (1)

The Ape With No Name (213531) | about 8 years ago | (#16100769)

If you are capable of learning on your own, then why attend college in the first place?

And if you are attending a university where classes can be passed without attending lectures, then you are wasting your money, your parent's money, or some sort of scholarship money.

Re:The Old Tape Recorder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16100727)

...and what's the correlation between podcasting lectures and attendance? I podcast my lectures (free of charge) for an 8am course and it hasn't dipped below 80% attendance. Has anyone looked at this relationship formally?

Re:The Old Tape Recorder (1)

The Ape With No Name (213531) | about 8 years ago | (#16100785)

I don't think there is enough data, but it would be interesting to see. There is a system here at my university where students bring their little clicker and click in for attendance and the only way they can get to some podcasted lectures is if they attended the lecture in the first place. Podcasting still suffers from the 'use it against them' angle.

Bootleg Lectures (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16100621)

Looking for Dr. Scott's Anthro lecture 9/18/06...will trade, IM me for my list. I have a collection of both current and vintage lectures dating back to my Freshman year, including the now-infamous ".NET will kick Java's ass" lecture by Dr. Johns back in 2000. OGG format preferred.

Something like that. (1)

dayid (802168) | about 8 years ago | (#16100623)

The professors at every University I've worked for have done something similar. They take a collection of all the notes for the entire semester and sell them in bundles at the book store. We simply called them textbooks. You didn't have to buy them if you went to class, but if you wanted to be able to avoid class you could buy it and read it. Imagine that. That said, I know at least 4 Florida Universities have professors who will put their notes out in PDF format for sale/download, and every state university I've ever been to has at least one professor who does something similar with powerpoint.

What really stinks. (1)

chasisaac (893152) | about 8 years ago | (#16100625)

I am one of those people that like listening to class lectures for fun. I know, I know get a life, blah, blah, blah.
However, I have listened to people from berkley, Stanford and more. I like to improve on what I already know and driving around listening to music i have already 1000 times before . . . I am not buying anything that is DRMmed or from a RIAA label. So I stay with what I have and know.

FSU Economics Professor (1)

GeneralAntilles (571325) | about 8 years ago | (#16100628)

My Macroeconomics professor at Florida State records all of his lectures along with a screencast that shows the PowerPoint presentation, movies, websites, etc. he show during the class synced with the audio. Does it for every lecture (all sections), and for every class that he teaches. All for free, and up on the web (FSU uses Blackboard) around 9:00PM on the day of the lecture.

Competition? (1)

TimJe (949161) | about 8 years ago | (#16100643)

At my University the front row of a lecture theatre would often have atleast one person with a dictaphone. How about sharing this amongst the rest of the class for free? Isnt that the same as copying someones notes?

Uni = birthplace of misplaced priorities... (1)

It's Atomic (986455) | about 8 years ago | (#16100659)

Some students feel it should be free or cost less.

Yeah, right. Like they won't turn around and waste $2.50 TODAY on a burger, or a beer, or 1/4 packet of cigarettes, etc, etc.

Before you know it they'll be demanding free software, source included.

Sheesh.

I listened to a lecture after the fact, and listened far more attentively, paying $2.50 would have been fine, too. You value your time more when you have to make up for missed lectures later, like, a day before a major assignment based on that lecture is due... Whinging about paying a pittance for the priviledge seems weak.

Methinks the real problem is the whingers are considering the cost of purchasing EVERY lecture for the semester, so they don't have to turn up at all, rather than the odd missed but important one.

No No NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16100662)

I did NOT pay for a lecture, and even if i had, give me the damn lecture i paid for. Just because as a professor you think you're underpaid, thats not my problem. Are you going to start charging to grade my homework next? Office hours? emailed questions?

I paid to learn a topic(subject) from you(professor). You're job is to teach me that. You're job is to teach it. This WILL include doing student related work OUTSIDE of the classroom. You only want to work the hours in your in the lecture hall, fine, we'll knock your pay down to a more reasonable rate relative to the work you do.

No wonder the cost of higher ed is skyrocketing, GREED has overtaken academic pursuit as the primary driver.

Teaching for profit (1)

obious (945774) | about 8 years ago | (#16100663)

The professor should be shot for being a profiteering asshole.

Just take a look at MIT's approach: http://ocw.mit.edu/index.html [mit.edu]

Re:Teaching for profit (1)

acvh (120205) | about 8 years ago | (#16100800)

"The professor should be shot for being a profiteering asshole. "

yeah, 2.50 is going to fund his retirement.

it seems like he is acknowledging the infrequent need for a recording, while also acknowledging that such recording is not a fundamental right. i'll go along with that.

my guess is that every recording will end up being shared, free, by his students on whatever the hip p2p network of the week is.

... We get ours for free + audio recordings (1)

invisage01 (940106) | about 8 years ago | (#16100665)

At my university in Australia we get all our lecture slides for free - sometimes they are incomplete which encourages students to go to the lecture. If the lecturer feels like he can also record the lecture using the recording software in every lecture theatre. These are then uploaded to the CMS for each subject. If a lecturer doesn't publish the lectures online... there is outrage. it's something that i have been accostomed too.. and it means i can be highly flexible with my part-time studies/full time job.

This is outrages (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 years ago | (#16100666)

Another attempt to leech money from students.

When I went to school, I could get a copy of any lectures notes just by asking the professor.

It also presents a conflict of interest. It is not in their interest to present the lecture in a clear manner.

Re:This is outrages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16100689)

It also presents a conflict of interest. It is not in their interest to present the lecture in a clear manner.

This is the best point so far.

should improve lecture quality. (1)

erichschubert (96206) | about 8 years ago | (#16100783)

He will sell less if people don't like his lecture in the first place. They might even use the lecture notes of a different professor.
And the recordings etc. of his lecture will probably not be much better than the lecture either.

It is in the best interest of the professor to make a good lecture and sell the lecture notes for a low price. Then many people will come to the lectures, and many people will buy the notes.

I myself have used the lecture notes of a different professor a couple of times because I liked them better. Quite often professors refer to the lecture notes of others because they're done well. So he might even be able to sell some to the students of other classes or universities, if it's worth the money.

Oh, and some professors turn their lecture notes into books and sell them... the professors here that do this often hand out the drafts in their lectures and get feedback and corrections from the students. Maybe they should pay the students for proofreading his book? What bullshit is this fighting for $2.50 for a lecture? Thats a single slice of pizza. If it's not worth the money, don't but the recordings.

Trouble understanding English speaking professor (5, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 8 years ago | (#16100668)

The Professor did this as a way to help those that missed class, didn't take good notes, or from another country and have trouble understanding an English speaking Professor.

Great idea! A better idea would be if the non-English-speaking professors would do the same thing, so that English-speaking students have a way of understanding their lectures.

Seriously: I had to drop a class once because I couldn't understand a word the Vietnamese professor spoke.

Re:Trouble understanding English speaking professo (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16100765)

Was it a Vietnamese class?

charging... hmmm (1)

krotkruton (967718) | about 8 years ago | (#16100672)

Most of my computer science professors at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) post all of their lecture notes on the internet. In their cases, since they use the lecture notes in class to guide their discussions, it isn't any more work for them to just put them up on the internet. The majority of these lectures are available to anyone, whether they are university students or not.

One of my profs, who teaches a course that is also open to students in other countries who are paying to take an online course, has a TA video record the whole lecture, which is then posted on the internet for all students paying for the class (university and distance education, or online, students). He has the recordings password protected because the university has some rules about it and won't let him essentially give the course for free to anyone who wants it (at least I think that was the explanation he gave but I'm not completely sure).

Personally, I think either of these two scenarios are the proper way to do things. If a prof is charging to give out copies of his lectures notes on the internet, then should he be charging if students come to his office during his office hours and ask about what they missed in classed? Isn't that one of the things a prof's office hours are for? And further more, even though it is using the slippery slope fallacy, if profs start charging for lecture notes and people think it is acceptable, then why don't they charge for the booklets used to write tests on or extra materials handed out in class? The simple answer to that question is because the institutions they work for are providing them with copy machines and such. Along that logic, I would say that time spent creating lecture notes is time spent preparing for class. It's true that they don't have to do it, but I don't think that is a good enough reason to charge for it.

Does the professor own his lectures? (1)

johndierks (784521) | about 8 years ago | (#16100688)

At many schools materials produced for classes like handouts, tests, etc are property of the department, not the professor. Perhaps the professor doesn't have the right to sell his lectures.

My friend tried to start a business reproducing old tests for study guides. He had the ok from the professors who wrote the tests, but the school demanded such a large cut of the revenue that it wasn't worth his time.

Basically it's like a musician selling his songs on the side and not through his record label.

I'd buy it (1)

foleym (980890) | about 8 years ago | (#16100691)

At the University of Florida, it's not atypical to have classes of over 200 students, especially the business area. To accomodate this, videos of course, are recorded and posted online. You can always watch the professor live, but most students opt to watch the lectures 2 days before the exam. From an engineering side, many students do distance learning. The notes and lectures are recorded, and put online. There is an extra fee to do distance learning, and it's to pay for the equipment and staff to do the recording. Luckily, if you are a student that attends the class, and it is part of distance learning, you get access to all the material. Many times I would watch parts of a clip over and over because my handwriting sucked, teacher went too fast, I was asleep, or whatever. If a professor is willing to take his/her time to do this, and they are not compensated by the school, I'd pay a minimal fee for them. Hell, get 10 of your buddies, buy 1 copy and copy it. Stick it to em!

1992 just called. They want their story back. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16100693)

Why is this news? Just a heads-up, The Teaching Company has been around for years selling lectures by top rated professors from America's best universities. They sell Audio-only or DVD video. The lectures are professional quality shot in a studio.

Their website:

http://www.teach12.com/ [teach12.com]

Most seem to be missing the point (1)

Friar_MJK (814134) | about 8 years ago | (#16100694)

As a current college student, I think this idea is great. Definately a next generation step (yes, I read some of you were buying them in '96 - but admittedly not from the professor himself). For myself, I find it very difficult to take notes without over or under indulging anything that was said/written by the professor - as in not taking enough notes and capturing too little, or overdoing it, and not filtering the relevant information from the garbage, which is a difficult task if you have no background on the subject at hand. This is even more difficult when going to a smaller school [Purdue University North-Central /shamelessplug] where classes can range from 10-40 students and often times the lecture can turn into informer conversational banter leaving some with their heads spinning wondering if what was said is important enough to take down on paper. To sum all that up, I like being able to have in front of me polished notes that I know the tests will pretty much be taken straight out of (with a few exceptions).
As for the professor selling them? Yes, I whole-heartedly agree that s/he should be able to charge a reasonable fee. The lectures are the property of the professor, and they take extra time to prepare to be able to distribute. Don't like paying for them? Too bad! Next time consider coming to class because isn't that what you really paid for in the first place? An education from a brick-and-mortar school? Otherwise, take courses with an online university. Besides, shit (re:life) happens and in case you do have to miss class for a legitimate reason who knows what kind of notes a classmate would take if you were to borrow from them. Don't trust your grade to the numb nuts sitting next to you.

P.S. Wish I could use my mod points to skew this discussion...

Re:Most seem to be missing the point (1)

wwahammy (765566) | about 8 years ago | (#16100788)

How does it take more time? All they have to do is wear a microphone with a digital recorder. When I went to UW-Madison a few years back, professors in almost all classes used a wireless microphone that gets fed into a sound system. There's no reason why that audio can't be digitized as the lecture is going on and posted at the end of the lecture.

Free at MIT (1)

ichthyos (674693) | about 8 years ago | (#16100709)

The lectures that are recorded at MIT are all provided free of charge.

MIT's OpenCourseWare (2, Informative)

Pasquina (980638) | about 8 years ago | (#16100718)

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned MIT's Open Courseware program (ocw.mit.edu). The goal is to have every class available online, and many have taped lectures for free, for anyone to see, not just students. I had a horrible differential equations professor, so I watched the OCW lectures from the previous term. It sure beat walking to class in the cold.

That is a bargain (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16100722)

Well let us do some math here. At $1 per lecture in his pocket, and let us say 25 people grab a copy of the lecture, that is $25 for what probably takes 2-3 hours to prepare. This assuming he doesn't have to cover some equipment costs, in which case he might even be losing money. Personally I think $2.50 for a lecture is cheap, and I paid for my own schooling. Why should his time be free? If you don't like having to pay $2.5 for the audio lecture, then bloody well show up for class or develop a network to cover for you when you can't.

BitTorrent link for the five downloaded lectures (1)

sidney (95068) | about 8 years ago | (#16100724)

Just kidding...

From TFA:
Since the site was created, five students have purchased lectures.

If you are in his class I'm sure you already have put in your share of the $12.50 that was used to get one master copy of each of the first five lectures.

nothing new (1)

okra_student (1002353) | about 8 years ago | (#16100733)

So the teacher is selling notes, big deal. The little college I go to has been doing that for a while they even sell the power point presentation used during the lecture to the student for all history classes. Some of the info comes from retired teachers where as the rest comes from teachers still on campus. I personally think it is a good idea, I never did like having to bum note off classmates to fill in gaps from missing class or just missing some key point.

Taxpayer funded profiteering (1, Interesting)

dircha (893383) | about 8 years ago | (#16100744)

Kudos to the professor for innovating!

The taxpayers of North Carolina aren't sending their hard earned money to the public university system in order to provide new markets for this professor to profit from. They are sending their money there to educate their children and their fellow citizens' children because they value the benefits of an educated citizenry.

If as the professor says, providing lecture recordings online can make a critical difference in the performance of students who may have missed class, who had a difficult time with the language, or who just need more time to let it sink in, then the university should, in the interests of fulfilling its taxpayer funded mandate, offer this program through the university at cost as an additional fee or as part of tuition.

Cut out the 3rd party hosting service middle man, and cut out the professor's profiteering.

He should be rewarded through the merit based university compensation program (wait, you mean they don't have one! *gasp*)

A taxpayer funded employee has found a more effective way to do what it is we are paying him to do. I don't bill my company an extra hour when I find a new method to increase the quality of my code, I'm expected to just do it. It's part of my job. The taxpayers of North Carolina should expect no less.

Time to start handing out Pink Slips (1)

KB3JUV (898173) | about 8 years ago | (#16100775)

I realized in my first week of college that approx. 60 percent of professors could be fired tomorrow without any effect on students. They aren't teachers, they are professors. They aren't required to teach anything, just to lecture about the subject. Some professors go beyond the call of duty and tell real life stories, and have real life experience in their subject. Those are the ones that you learn from. The ones that read out of the book? They would be better off in retirement. I pay 120 bucks for a book, I don't need you to read it to me. I can read it myself. I have no idea if this professor has lectures worth the $2.50. If he does, go for it. If not, read the book yourself folks.

CHEAPER!! (4, Interesting)

abscissa (136568) | about 8 years ago | (#16100777)

Why has nobody pointed out that the $2.50 is FAR FAR CHEAPER than the tuition money the students are paying for the original lecture in the first place??

Jumps in logic? (1)

singularity (2031) | about 8 years ago | (#16100782)

I read a lot of replies saying "Professors give out lecture notes, so they should give the recordings away for free, as well."

Maybe things have changed since I was in college ten years ago, but it used to be that *some* of my professors gave away lecture notes, or put them online, and some did not. Some only put up problem set solutions, and some had every paper given in class away online. Some refused to put anything online, except the syllabus. /. readers seem to be saying that lecture notes are a right they are due as a student. It seems to me that they are making a jump, from some professors being nice and doing this, to being ENTITLED to this.

They then make the jump that if they are ENTITLED to lecture notes, they are ENTITLED to free recordings of the lectures.

You completely lose me on either one of those jumps.

I do not look at the $2.50 as a racket to make money, but rather an incentive to make sure that students continue to come to class, and not just skip "since the lecture and lecture notes are available online."

Sure, he could try giving away a free download to every student who showed up, but are you going to say that no student will give his/her free pass to his roommate who slept through the class?

Economic inequality (1)

akratic (770961) | about 8 years ago | (#16100784)

This system sounds at least a little bit unfair to those students who are in tight financial circumstances. If recorded lectures are available for a fee (even a nominal fee), then students with money to burn have an advantage over students who have to pinch pennies.

If I were a student there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16100804)

... I would show up for his office hours* every week and stay until he asked me to leave. And I would encourage other students to do the same. After a few weeks of this he'd probably realize that it was a lot easier to give his lecture notes away for free than to deal with a horde of angry students a couple times a week.

There are small businesses at some universities that pay students in some of the big classes to take notes, and they sell copies of the notes to other students. He's probably just trying to fill this niche himself. I don't think it's going to work.

* In the US at least, most universities require professors to hold "office hours", during which time they are required to be at their desk and available to students for individual instruction. They usually have to set aside a separate time period for each class they teach. In my experience, most of these hours are not utilized by the students. Do other places do this also?
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