ABSTRACT

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have been the source of much controversy in higher education. They raise some novel legal issues, and present an interesting challenge in the areas of intellectual property (IP) and oversight. MOOCs are distinguishable from traditional and distance learning courses in a number of ways. First, students do not enroll in a university when they enroll in a MOOCcompletion of a MOOC is rarely if ever accompanied by official college credit. Second, most MOOC providers operate independently of federal funding, and students require no financial assistance to participate in the course. As a result, MOOCs tend to fall outside of the regulatory framework of U.S. Higher Education (Goldstein & Ferenbach, 2013). Given the variety of contracts, policies, and laws undergirding educational innovations like MOOCs, it will be useful for universities to understand the ambiguities in the law, and the rights of all affected parties.