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Aspects of Law and Ethics Related to Technology

Study addresses issue of IPR in international e-Learning programmes

February 2005

Following a 2003 HEFCE report “Intellectual Property Rights in e-Learning Programmes” a further study has recently been carried out to produce similar guidance on the management of IPRs in international e-Learning programmes.

It is recognised that international e-Learning programmes take many diverse forms and develop through different lifecycles. A team from Middlesex University assisted with the study capturing the common factors that e-Learning programmes encounter and focussing specifically on those aspects of managing IPRs that arise because of the international nature of the programmes.

Using the Global Campus as a case study, the team highlighted a number of special issues that, while not universal, are vitally important to international e-Learning programmes.

The Global Campus delivers academic programmes in partnerships with other institutions in Hong Kong, mainland China, Egypt, Singapore and Cyprus. Since its start in 1999, more than 1,000 students have enrolled on Global Campus programmes. To date 500 students have graduated on Global Campus programmes worldwide.

Walaa Bakry (Director of Business Development, School of Computing Science) manages the development of Global Campus. Using a £15k grant the Middlesex team identified a number of IPR issues and developed various mechanisms to manage them. He says, “We were pleased to have the opportunity to evaluate and enhance practice within the Global Campus. We were amazed at the complexity of the case study and the different elements it raised.”

Walaa was joined on the team by Visiting Professor Paul Bacsich, Drs Carlisle George and Penny Duquenoy (Computing Science), John Weldon (MUBS) and Gordon Davies (former Head of Computing in the Open University).

The final draft report has just been submitted to the funding agency. Walaa says, “Middlesex is one of only a handful of UK institutions that have developed an international e-learning programme. We have a large number of partners, both in technology and education, who help us to deliver the Global Campus programmes. This study has helped us identify our existing strengths and enhance our practice; the lessons drawn from the experience have been very worthwhile."

February 2005