Minicourse #3
Using and Adapting Online Materials

Requests from Participants

Specific types of materials, course not specified

Materials for specific courses


Response: We are concentrating on materials available to students and instructors at no charge, including some ad-supported sites (and the MAA-membership-supported sites). At this time, very little of the MAA member-only material is addressed to students, so this would not be a good reason to encourage student membership. There are, however, other reasons not directly related to this course.

Response: In general, you cannot download a Java (or other) applet to your own site and expect it to work. And there is no need to do so, since you can link to it on its original site. However, some authors offer their source code for free download and expect users to adapt or modify and then re-compile. There are similar issues with Flash and other means of producing mathlets.

In our second session, we will be addressing some of the ways materials can be adapted and some of the sites that help with adaptation.

Almost always, there is a link to reach the author and ask permission to acquire and use the code, if that permission is not explicitly given. Some will say yes, some no. A well-constructed site will post a page to tell you what you can and cannot do with the materials on that page -- but you can always ask for an exception. Copyrights must be respected, and all published material is implicitly covered by copyright, even if the author forgets to say so -- unless it is explicitly placed in the public domain or is produced by Government employees as part of their normal work. (For example, everything on the US Military Academy site is in the public domain, as is anything you find on a Federal .gov site.)

Some students think of anything they can reach on the Web as theirs to do with as they please. Every school, every department, and every instructor needs to address explicitly the issues of plagiarism and failure to reference properly.

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Revised on 1/19/06