At recent Academic Learning Environment Committee and Faculty Council meetings there have been presentations on a crowdsourced online learning platform called Course Hero (www.coursehero.com/). Course Hero is a paper and assignment mill, but with a difference – the site allows students to download assignments after they have uploaded a certain number of their own assignments.
The AU subjects offered on the site, which describes itself as “homework help”, range from Accounting to Women and Gender Studies (WGST). AU has a particular problem with the site because it has posted copyrighted material from Course Units, meaning the students have uploaded the instructions and actual questions for some Athabasca University assignments.
Information about this site should have been sent to all tutors by their course co-ordinators, but CUPE would like to keep you informed in case the information has not been sent.
(Addendum by Newsletter Editor.):
The documents uploaded for sale are frequently the intellectual property of instructors, not of the students who post them/sell them. This includes exams and their keys, quizzes and their keys, study guides written by instructors. The U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act requires Course Hero to expeditiously remove content when it is flagged as infringing its copyright. However, the process to remove copyrighted material can be seen as overly burdensome and may be a subtle way to discourage people from following through.
As Course Hero allows students to post previous homework and exam solutions from their classes, the website is often cited as an aid to student cheating.
Customer Complaints: Course Hero also faces various customer complaints from the Better Business Review. As stated on its Terms of Service, the company is not willing to refund if the customer has viewed or downloaded at least one document from the website. Also, the high yearly subscription cost ($119 a year) has raised concerns that the website is exploiting the work of college students for personal profit.