Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Leadership, School Counseling & Sport Management

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Leadership, School Counseling & Sports Management

First Advisor

Dr. Luke M. Cornelius

Second Advisor

Dr. Terence W. Cavanaugh

Rights Statement

Third Advisor

Dr. Matthew Ohlson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Deborah F. Miller

Department Chair

Dr. Elizabeth A. Gregg

College Dean

Dr. Diane Yendol-Hoppey


The purpose of this study was to identify the key components of the policies that designate ownership of faculty-created online course materials at public higher education institutions that offer distance education in order to establish the key components of those policies and learn how they differ within higher education institutions. The researcher utilized a document analysis procedure with both qualitative and quantitative characteristics to identify the key components of the polices under consideration. The findings of the study demonstrated that there are a wide variety of ownership policies in place, but the content of the policies generally fit into six categories: (a) types of ownership; (b) financial considerations; (c) control of faculty-created content; (d) underlying rationale for claiming ownership of content; (e) settlement of disputes; and (f) disclosure and assignment of rights. Moreover, the results of the study demonstrated that many institutions seem to believe that the teacher exception to the U.S. Copyright Law no longer applies. Indeed, recent court cases have shown that the courts look to the institution’s intellectual property policy when deciding questions of ownership. Furthermore, some courts have ruled that the policies need to be signed by both the institution and the faculty in order to be enforceable. The study demonstrated that some institutions have made note of this requirement and they have begun to require faculty to assign title to the institution for material that the policy designates as institution owned. The author includes recommendations for creating or updating intellectual property policies that were based on the review of literature and the results of this study. Further recommendations are provided for future research related to faculty motivation to teach distance education, intellectual property policies regarding student-created material, and research examining how these policies develop and change over time.