Courses of the Living Dead

Photo by Mike from Pexels

BoingBoing is featuring a twitter thread in which a student discovers that the professor in the online course he has been taking died in 2019. Assuming the report is accurate in claiming that the university did not disclose the use of lectures by a deceased faculty member, the incident raises a host of interesting questions for those of us pondering the future of higher education in the digital era. Here are a few of my favorites:

1 – How is it that we have developed university course formats that can be maintained easily even in the absence of a living professor?

2 – How is it that now several decades into the development of online learning we have failed to develop standards for handling intellectual property encompassed in courses?

3 – How, if at all, should we distinguish between intellectual property in text form and intellectual property in video form?

4 – What are the obligations of universities for disclosing the sources of the educational experiences they offer? Note that this question will become more interesting as elements of the university experience become unbundled.

5 – How many students in the class in question will notice that the professor is not alive?

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