One of my colleagues just sent around an e-mail reporting on the latest faculty senate meeting. He said the university’s general counsel
warned about the site <coursehero.com> (I hope I have the name correct). This site seizes and archives course data – including exams and essays – from posted course materials at schools around the nation. This site is yet another cause for concern among faculty.
Coursehero.com is in fact the correct name—I just went there. It is a weird joint. The site leads off with these impenetrable statements:
“Course Hero provides a platform optimized for the aggregation, organization and distribution of educational content in order to deliver each student the right content at the right time.
“Students and Educators publish their educational content to a student readership of millions.
“Students immediately retrieve the most relevant document results for any academic inquiry.”
If you click on your state, then the name of a college, then a department, then a course number, you will find a mishmash of papers, midterms, finals, and other documents, in tiny type. To see them, you have to register. I did not register.
I found an article about Course Hero published yesterday at Inside Higher Ed. It says in part:
At Course Hero, a site that lately has been the subject of much hand-wringing among campus information technology officers, users can either shell out $30 for a month-long subscription or pay in uploaded documents. Forty documents equals one month of access to all the files posted by the site’s users. The company says millions have visited the site since it was unveiled a year and a half ago.
The purpose of Course Hero, according to David J. Kim, the company’s president and CEO, is to “maximize and accelerate academic breakthroughs by students.” By providing a place where users can share documents and communicate on discussion boards, Kim said, the site allows students across the world to leverage others’ knowledge in order to deepen their own — like any study group, but exponentially larger.
The article goes on to say that much of the material is not “published” to the site by professors, as Course Hero implies, but rather harvested by webcrawlers, without permission, and possibly in violation of copyright laws.
The whole thing seems like high-tech cheating to me dressed up in pretentious mumbo-jumbo. Lizy, Maria: have you had any experience with this site or others like it? (No names, please.)