Staff Policy D-506.02
Institutional Effectiveness Criterion: Operations

Intellectual Property Rights for Courses and Course Materials for the Flexible Learning Option Program

  1. Introduction
    It is the policy of Northwestern Michigan College to set forth the rights and obligations of the College and its employees concerning intellectual property in conjunction with the development of courses and course materials related to the Flexible Learning Option program. Such rights include, but are not limited to, intellectual property that can be trademarked, copyrighted, or patented.

    It is also the policy of Northwestern Michigan College to encourage the use of new learning technologies and the development of courses and course materials for the Flexible Learning Options program.

    It is further the policy of Northwestern Michigan College not to interfere with the long-standing traditional rights of the faculty and staff, on their own initiative and time, to write, create, produce or otherwise generate works or products which are copyrightable, patentable, or of commercial value. Any such material as written, produced or otherwise generated by a member of the faculty or staff shall remain the exclusive property of the faculty or staff member, and that person shall have the sole right of ownership and disposition.

    This policy is related to the Conflict of Interest policy D-506.01.
  2. Definitions
    1. Intellectual Property as it pertains to development of Flexible Learning Option Courses: Intellectual property includes any materials specifically created for use in a FLO course. These could include, but are not limited to, study guides, lab manuals, syllabi, bibliographies, glossaries, visual aids, tests and assignments.
    2. Flexible Learning Option Course: Any course primarily delivered in a manner not bound by traditional limitations of time and place. Examples include online courses, self-paced courses, telecourses, and any hybrid of these. FLO courses are also known as distance learning and alternative delivery formats.
    3. Course Developer: An individual who works alone or with others to develop a Flexible Learning Options course or related course materials.
    4. Course Materials: The fixed expression of ideas and resources that are used as the basis for a FLO course. Course materials can include, but are not limited to, text, images, diagrams, graphs, multimedia presentations, instructor’s notes, individual and collaborative exercises, readings, bibliographies, lectures, simulations and group projects.
  3. Rights of the College
    When the College provides compensation1 for the development of a FLO class, the College retains certain rights. Course developers receiving compensation for the development of a FLO course and course materials will sign an agreement that recognizes the College’s ability, without obtaining permission from the copyright owner, to exercise the following rights.
    1. The right, on a non-exclusive basis, to duplicate the course and course materials for teaching and the right to make derivative works.
    2. The right to control whether the institution’s name or logo is displayed in association with the course and course materials.
    3. The right to require an appropriate acknowledgment of institutional support of the creation of the course and course materials.
    4. The right to be informed in advance of any uses, reproductions, distributions, and dispositions of the copyrighted course and course materials by the course developer(s).
    5. In cases where the work is licensed or sold to a third party, the College will receive 5% of royalties as a means of recovering the contribution it has made to the course and course materials.
  4. Rights of the Course Developer
    1. The course developer who created the course or course materials, whether a new Flexible Learning Option Course or an existing course converted to a Flexible Learning Option Course, has the right of first refusal for teaching it with the following stipulations:
      1. Full-time employees can exercise this right during the useful life of the course.
      2. Part-time or adjunct employees also can exercise the right of first refusal during the useful life of the course, except in cases where the teaching of the course is needed for a full-time faculty member to satisfy his or her contractual teaching load requirements.
      3. When two or more employees served as co-creators, they will alternate or mutually agree upon another arrangement for the right of first refusal.
    2. All other rights not designated in Section 3 shall remain with the course developer.

The Vice President for Educational Services, in conjunction with the appropriate faculty and staff, is responsible for the development and publication of any procedures or guidelines that may be necessary to administer this policy effectively.


1"Provides compensation" refers to compensation received directly from the College or from a grant administered by the College.



Initially adopted as D-1119.02 March 12, 2001
Revised April 21, 2006
Renumbered D-506.02 December 20, 2006
Reviewed December 2011 

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