The purpose of this dissertation was to study perceptions of faculty and administrators at institutions of higher education on copyright ownership of faculty-created digital course content. The central question for this study was: Who had copyright ownership rights of faculty-created digital content and in what manner was copyright ownership developed, implemented, and asserted at institutions of higher education. The five research questions were: (a) How were copyright ownership policies of faculty-created digital content developed and implemented at institutions of higher education?; (b) How were faculty involved in the development of copyright ownership agreements?; (c) What institutional policy and contractual documents contained specific language on copyright ownership rights of faculty-created digital content?; (d) How were institutional assertions of copyright ownership of faculty-created digital content allocated and managed?; (e) How were copyright ownership issues of faculty-created digital content resolved? A descriptive study approach was used to study administrator and faculty perceptions on copyright ownership at five institution types within the State of Texas and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. A total of 100 random faculty and administrator participants were sent the online survey link via e-mail. The online survey included closed-ended and open-ended questions. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the results from the closed-ended and open- ended questions. In summary, the findings showed that within the participating respondent groups: (a) Most faculty were not involved in the development of copyright ownership policies; (b) Institutions asserted copyright ownership through some institutional document/policy and not through contractual agreements; and, (c) Copyright ownership issues did not arise between the institution and faculty. With the portability of digital content, and the need to utilize and develop said content within the university setting, more faculty and administrators should be aware of, and be involved in copyright ownership policies. The field of study of copyright ownership in accordance to faculty and administrator digitally created content was limited, and more studies should be conducted with a larger population.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational technology; Copyright -- Electronic information resources; United States. -- Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act of 2001; Distance education

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Sparks, Paul;