Harvard net ban

May 19, 2000

Harvard University has taken steps to restrict its faculty's outside teaching, research and consulting in a proposed policy change aimed at professors who provide courses or instructional materials for other institutions over the internet.

The change would amend an existing policy, in place since 1948, that allows faculty to teach, consult or conduct research as long as the outside work takes no more than 20 per cent of their time and does not exploit, or conflict with, their obligations to the university.

Professors would be barred from distributing lectures over the internet without the permission of their dean and the university. If previous experience is any indication, faculty will find it difficult to get such permission. Harvard Law School professor Arthur Miller taped 11 lectures for a for-profit distance-education institution before he was forced to give up the practice in the autumn when his dean said it was a conflict of interest - especially since the online school advertised that it had a Harvard professor among its lecturers and, theoretically, competed with the university for students.

Harvard has also released new guidelines prohibiting the use of the university's name and logo on web pages and in email and internet addresses without permission from a dean.

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