A chance to shine – but not for the student
I had some good lecturers at university, but none were Rock stars. Things might be about to change. Let’s think this through. Universities are going online from September this year. Lectures, in the conventional sense, are cancelled because of social distancing issues. Cambridge has folded away its lecture tents for the next academic year, right through to June 2021! Miserable for new students having toiled through a hastily cobbled together version of A levels not to be rewarded with the revelries and unconfined joy of Fresher’s week. What’s the point, The Sunday Times pointed out, of online universities if there’s no sex, drugs and debate? It may have a point. But, it’s not all about the students. Their loss could be an open door for lecturers.
An online university will become producers and deliverers of content for its at-home audience. They could reverse some of the lost student revenue by doing without lecturers. Granted, that runs a real risk of being dull but has the intellectual property upside of certain content ownership for the university. What if the lecturer writes and delivers the lecture to webcam? It may be modern and a sign of the times but who owns the lecture and its copyright? This is where intellectual property rights law is immovable. The employer university will own it assuming it was created by an employed (not freelance) lecturer in the course of their normal duties.
A Star is born
So, no royalties. Not like a Rock star at all then. Well, hang on…. Could we be entering an age where the theatre and delivery of online content by an engaging and charismatic lecturer propels them to academic fame. What university wouldn’t want the very best presentation of its content. And, pay well for it. Might future interviewers for lecturing slots up and down the ivy-clad halls of British academia routinely ask for a C.V., reference and ‘Showreel’? Whatever next – personal Trustpilot scores? There are opportunities for students to find new ways of having fun.
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Written and researched by Ben Fairclough