Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership, Research and Counseling

Document Type



Distance education is an emerging force in higher education that is creating new opportunities and added challenges. The purpose of this study was to identify and compare what university administrators and faculty know about issues that surround a debate about ownership of intellectual products created for distance education including technologies used in distance education and the law, university policies, and tenets of academic freedom that are supposed to stimulate intellectual creativity. An Internet-based survey was used to gather data from university faculty and administrators at four southeastern research universities in the United States. Results indicated that respondents were almost universally familiar with distance education, and that more than one-third create teaching materials expressly for use in distance education. Further, results indicated that more than two-thirds of participants were aware of university intellectual property ownership policies, but less than one-quarter reported knowing details of those policies. Although participants agreed that protections provided by U. S. Copyright Law are important, more than one-third of faculty and one-quarter of administrators admitted that their knowledge of the law was, at best, vague. Although a wide majority of respondents reported familiarity with academic freedom, when the accuracy and depth of their knowledge was examined, it seems their understanding was largely impressionistic. Although few unexpected differences were identified, administrators were shown to rely more heavily than faculty counterparts on universities to stay informed about the issues of interest in this study. Results from the study suggest that if leaders are needed to help realize the opportunities and meet the challenges created by emerging technologies and distance education, universities will need to take initiative to develop expertise among faculty and administrators.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Barbara Fuhrmann



Included in

Education Commons