Intellectual Property, Computers & Writing, 2009

Nicole Nguyen, Michigan SU

recent Pro Writing grad from MSU
writer, editor, web designer, future law student
concerned with how copyright affects my own work as a writer and designer

How do I share my own work and keep it mine?
What can I mix?
What are the bounds?

Students are not learning enough about intellectual property in classes to be successful writers.

Why 1st year?
MSU is a research institution.
1000s of students. B/c we have so many, there are sections.
focused on writing with themes Science and Law & Justice

mass email
asked specifically for those who taught it
very few responses
lack of participation in study, unclear why
–undergrad v grad research or how many are teaching it

Do you include?
How long do you spend?
Describe the materials used.
How important on a 1 to 5 scale?

People were already interested who responded. They all taught it for 3 weeks or more throughout the class.

Asked the same question to the students.
Also asked if they were interested.

42.9% said one or two classes
35.7% said one or two weeks

Law and Justice said:
57.1% 1 or 2 class sesions
33.3% said one or two weeks

Sci and Tech
58.8% said 1 or 2
35.3% one or two weeks
5.9% three weeks or more

Students didn’t remember having been taught this for three weeks.

Student interview Caroline:
narrow def of IP and copyright
curious about other aspects of copyright
had not thought about having a copyright claim over her own work
connection btw context of learning and broader view of the sub, how that knowledge can be applied

She did not identify her work in the digital world. Didn’t see it as writing.

Student interview Alice
confident about her knowledge, willing to push
applied her knowledge
more conscious of copyright
uses Creative Commons licensing
copyright is not common sense
wants to know what you can and cannot do and why

Students who were interested had more knowledge.

Difference between teacher and student perspective.
Students were not taking in the text.

Are students learning enough about IP?
Only able to survey 3 classes and 3 teachers. Students are still missing the background info.
Writing already and some people don’t realize they are writing already.

Next steps
Repeat the study on a larger scale
survey and interview students in other fields
expand to other universities

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