In the Media (Free Education Now!)

These pages link to articles discussing this campaign and relevant papers authored by the organizer of this website.

Articles about "Free Education Now!"

Footnotes, March 2001 - Short announcement of impact in the media.

The Purdue Exponent, February 12, 2001 - Professor opposes sale of notes. Mathieu Deflem, an assistant professor of sociology, started a campaign to stop Internet notes sites from selling professors' notes. Deflem said that a professor's lecture notes were a matter of intellectual property rights and that the distribution of notes should be at the discretion of the professor. "Professors are all about sharing their work," said Deflem, "but I want to share my work in the way I want it to be shared."... "Many universities and colleges now have policies that prohibit the sale of notes based on intellectual property rights. In the state of California, it is even a law," said Deflem...

The Wall Street Journal, October 19, 2000 - Business bulletin: A Footnote on college note-taking services tells a familiar dot-com tale. Academia mounted a strong campaign to stop the unauthporized sales of lecture notes during the past year, but competition may have meted an even stronger blow to the fledgling businesses that buy notes from students and post them online, says Mathieu Deflem, a professor at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., who opposes the note-selling on ethical grounds.

Washington Square News (NYU), September 20, 2000 - Online note services draw scrutiny. Until the legalities have been deciphered and regulations firmly established, professors will continue to do battle for the rights to their intellectual property. "I don't advertise my class like a Coca-Cola," fumes Mathieu Deflem, an assistant professor of sociology at Purdue University. "It's like some [students are] saying, 'Just give me the damned degree anyway!'"

The Chronicle (Duke), September 7, 2000 - Shut Down: Universities fight the online notes phenomenon. [S]ome professors said they have other ethical problems with online note-taking companies."Teachers should be in command of their own classrooms. The teacher doesn't only have the right but has the responsibility to teach his or her class," said Mathieu Deflem, an assistant professor of sociology at Purdue University. "If they hook up with these companies, they're giving away their responsibilities." Deflem has waged his own campaign against these companies and has set up a web site with centralized information about them.

The Akron Beacon Journal, Thursday, July 6, 2000 - Study guides capitalize on our need for speed. Academics have long maligned study aids for dumbing down information... However, laminated study guides are more like the lecture notes -- good ones -- you didn't take. They are less hated. Villanova's bookstore carries one of BarCharts' competitors, Research & Education Association's Exam Notes... One critic, Matthieu Deflem, says students would learn more if they did their own summaries. ``These guides circumvent the learning process,'' says Deflem, assistant professor of sociology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

The Node @ CanLearn, May-June, 2000 - Legal Battles Brewing Over Online Class Notes. Mathieu Deflem, an [Assistant] Professor of [Sociology] at Purdue University, has created this website collecting information about online note-taking sites. It also houses two of Dr. Deflem's position papers on the topic: one arguing the educational implications of note-taking sites, and another outlining the legalities of copyright in lectures. [French version].

The Baltimore Sun, May 17, 2000 - Colleges take note of paid note-takers. Sharing notes is one thing, professors say. Selling them is another... At least 13 companies are offering this service on the Internet to students, according to Mathieu Deflem, a sociology professor at Purdue University who has written on the issue...

Forbes Magazine, May 15, 2000 - URLazy.com. In the past year, 13 Web sites, including Versity.com, StudentU.com and Study24-7.com, have posted lecture notes taken by students in thousands of courses at hundreds of schools... "These companies interfere in the student-teacher relationship and have no accountability," says Mathieu Deflem, a Purdue University sociology professor...

Entertainment Weekly, Campus edition Spring 2000 - Sour Notes? Generally, it is not a good sign when your brand-new business is denounced on the op-ed page of the The New York Times. But that's the greeting a number of new lecture-note websites... Professors were also up in arms... "It is completely irresponsible," rages Mathieu Deflem, assistant professor of sociology at Purdue. "Just imagine that every 10 minutes I have a break [in class] and say, 'Buy Coca-Cola.'"...

Publishing Trends, March 2000 - Can Textbook E-Tailers Topple Bookselling's Ivory Tower? The “aesthetic of irony” has certainly not been lost on Purdue University assistant professor of sociology Mathieu Deflem, who has mounted something of a crusade against BigWords after encountering the orange-clad “Jumpsuit Brigade” assailing students with their wares of superballs and 5% discount coupons. “What didn’t amuse me,” exclaims Deflem, “was that I could barely enter the library of my own university because those morons were standing there almost pushing this little ping-pong ball on me!” Deflem also objects to the methods used to solicit course lists from professors. He claims BigWords listed his course on its site, and when Deflem viewed the page on his browser, the site automatically reloaded with a message that indicated he had reviewed and approved the list. “I thought that was really disgusting,” says Deflem.

The Chicago Tribune, March 19, 2000 - A New Class of Passing Notes: Internet Postings-For-Pay Unnerve Schools. "The key is that commercial enterprises are intruding into the world of the classroom," said Mathieu Deflem, assistant professor of sociology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., a leading critic of the note-taking e-businesses. "The relationship in the classroom is very sensitive," said Deflem, who created a Web site last fall that serves as a clearinghouse of the commercial services...

The Rice Thresher, March 17, 2000 - Universities take various actions against notes sites. One professor's campaign - Purdue University Sociology Professor Mathieu Deflem began a personal Web site against these types of Web sites when he learned about Versity in September 1999. "I was kind of offended because it is intruding on my work and on students' work," Deflem said... "I'm so passionate [about this] because I nearly flunked out and eventually became a professor," Deflem said. "I oppose this because these sites don't encourage students to think, and students get sucked in without understanding the implications."

The Campus Press (Boulder), Sunday, March 5, 2000 - Students Missing the Point? Internet class notes may be undermining the very foundation of university structure. "The availability of online notes could mean that students will start to develop a very short-sighted and narrow perspective of education that views teaching as merely getting the notes to pass the exam," said Mathieu Deflem, a CU graduate and outspoken opponent of this practice. Another concern is that students who rely solely on re-printed lecture notes may get inaccurate information. According to Deflem, most of the online distributors of lecture notes have no way to edit for content or accuracy...

The Commercial Appeal, February 09, 2000 - Students and the Internet: Learning tool or license to cheat? Mathieu Deflem, an assistant professor of sociology at Purdue University, has devoted some of his university homepage to fighting the Internet companies... "Go to class and enjoy the company of real living people!" the Web site proclaims. "The notes YOU take are really free and you can actually read them too!"

The Minnesota Star Tribune, February 7, 2000 - Online note services lure students, rile professors. Mathieu Deflem, an assistant professor of sociology at Purdue University, isn't waiting for lawsuits... His campaign began last fall, when he discovered one of the commercial sites was looking for someone to take notes in his criminology class... "There is a particular sacred quality to the relationship between professor and students, a very delicate and in some sense privileged relationship... Web notes, he said, are an "intrusion, interference in the classroom..."

Dispatches, January 26, 2000 - Throw out your notebook: Online class notes another reason for students to sleep in. Purdue University sociology professor Mathieu Deflem is fighting back against online notes sites with his own site, FreeEducation... Notes sites are "invading our education and destroying all that students and educators work for," Deflem claims on his site... "They are but profiteers who try to take away your right to real education by presenting students with what seem to be useful services."

The Denver Post, January 23, 2000 - Web sites 'taking' notes: College profs rip companies for posting lectures on 'Net for profit. Mathieu Deflem, assistant professor of sociology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.,[...] launched his own Web site to combat note-taking companies... These companies are one manifestation of a broader trend in our society to succeed at all costs --no matter if it's legal or illegal, ethical or unethical... Freedom of expression is about being able to have arguments and disagree. But what are they doing? They are copying what I am doing. You have the right to express your opinion, but you don't have the right to copy someone else's.'...

The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 23, 2000 - College note-taking services bring on a controversy. One angry Purdue University professor last fall launched a Web site to fight online note-taking services after he saw a campus ad for Versity.com that sought a note-taker for his criminology class. "I managed to persuade my students not to do it," said Mathieu Deflem, an assistant professor of sociology.

The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 26, 1999 - Colleges Weigh Legal Action Against Web Sites That Publish Lecture Notes. In the absence of clear-cut legal protections for lectures, universities may be able to protect themselves by writing explicit policies that can be tested in court, says Mathieu Deflem, an assistant professor of sociology at Purdue University. Mr. Deflem, who has written about lawsuits related to college teaching, says that universities should consider legal means to resist what he views as an invasion by on-line notes companies...

The UD, Texas Tech University, November 23, 1999 - Professors, companies clash on noteworthy issue. One professor is starting a campaign to end what some consider intellectual thievery. Mathieu Deflem, an assistant professor of sociology at Purdue University, said the most serious problem with online notes is the way they affect the relationships between students and their teachers. "These companies do not solve problems - they tap into them. They take advantage of the fact that some students are lost in college," Deflem said...

The Oregon Daily Emerald, November 23, 1999 - Notetakers turn profit: Controversial websites will pay students for lecture notes. Companies such as Study24-7.com, Course-Notes.com and Versity.com, which pay students to post lecture notes on their Web sites, "are interfering in education," said Mathieu Deflem, assistant professor of sociology at Purdue University... Deflem insists that these companies are in business solely to make a profit and any interest they have in education is secondary... "The people [publishing these lecture notes] are not qualified or trained to teach. They are interfering in the relationship between professors and students."...

From the University Daily Kansan, November 11, 1999 - Professors battle commercial note-takers. More companies are joining the competition to take class notes and provide them for free to students on the Internet, said Mathieu Deflem, an assistant professor of sociology at Purdue University who is leading a national fight against online note-taking ventures. “It began about a year ago with a few companies and a few universities,” Deflem said... “If you want to challenge this legally, it´s a real hassle,” he said. “But legal recourse may be the most effective strategy left.”

The Harvard Crimson, October 28, 1999 - Professors Call Online Service for Class Notes Dishonest. One professor has started to fight back. [Purdue] University assistant professor of sociology Mathieu Deflem learned that Versity had his lecture notes in early September, so he immediately wrote and asked them to remove the notes from their site. "Distributing information is all good and well," Deflem says. "But this is offensive to the relationship between professors and students. Teaching is a very specific environment with very specific characteristics, and I as a teacher want to have some control over that environment..."

The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 6, 1999 - Armed With a Web Site and Links, a Professor Takes On Lecture-Notes Companies. Mathieu Deflem is a lone professor crusading against a group of Internet companies that he condemns as intruders into the private, privileged relationship between a professor and his students. Mr. Deflem, an assistant professor of sociology at Purdue University, has converted a portion of his academic Web site into a mini-clearinghouse of information about Internet companies with names like Versity.com, StudentU.com, and Study24-7.com... [Deflem] wants to raise awareness among colleagues and students. "I'm sure that a more-organized response is needed, but the site is a first step..."

The Chronicle, October 20, 1999 - Online course notes draw fire: Academics across the nation challenge the sites’ legality and ethics. Mathieu Deflem, an [assistant] professor of sociology at Purdue University, said he was only interested in the legal arguments as a way to preserve the ethics of education. About a week after first reading about these companies in The New York Times, Deflem set up a web site devoted to presenting educational arguments against the companies... "I'm not just defending the right of professors, I'm defending the dignity of the relationship between an instructor and students...," he said.

The Purdue Exponent, October 15, 1999 - Teacher Fights Internet Note Piracy. One professor has started a campaign to put an end to what some people consider intellectual thievery. "The basic problem with online lecture notes provided by private companies is that it intrudes in the relationships between students and their teachers," said Mathieu Deflem, an assistant professor of sociology... "Most importantly, I feel students are negatively affected by this phenomenon because online lecture notes companies lack any kind of accountability in providing educational materials with any guarantees of quality," he said...

The Cavalier Daily, October 4, 1999 - Academics condemn web sites selling classroom notes. Mathieu Deflem, assistant professor of sociology at Purdue University, has launched a Website of his own in order to discourage online notes. Deflem said he hopes the site will prevent the beginning of a trend that "is going to hurt [students] severely in the long run."... Deflem said he feels the commercialization of classes is disturbing... Deflem noted on his Website that corporations do not check the accuracy of the notes published online, and many corporations leave disclaimers about the notes online. Professors do not put disclaimers on the material they teach, and only through their classes can students obtain accurate course information, he said.

The Centre Daily Times, Sunday, September 26, 1999 - Missed class notes just a click away for students. Purdue University assistant professor Mathieu Deflem said it may be too soon to tell what impact the notes may have on teaching. But he doesn't want to wait and see either. Instead, he has launched his own Web site urging students to resist the temptation of online notes... "Someone is intruding on my class. I never asked to be on their sites and they have never asked me," he said in a telephone interview. "The fact of the matter is, I lose autonomy and responsibility for my students. I have accountability to my students. That's what these companies don't have."...

The Village Voice, January 19-25, 2000 - Take This Down: Unauthorized Lecture-Note Sites. Mathieu Deflem, assistant professor of sociology at Purdue University, is one of the most outspoken critics of the services. Objecting to what he sees as the companies' intrusion in the learning process and their interference in the student-teacher relationship, Deflem does not accept their argument that posting notes is merely an exercise of free speech... Critics like Deflem claim that notes should not be allowed to represent their lectures—they are not only unauthorized, but often inaccurate... "Floating in this bubble of e-commerce, these companies are relying on a particular culture of getting it easy."...

USA Today, January 13, 2000 - For sale: A prof's intellectual property or just the facts? Net entrepreneurs duly note a niche in lecture notes. "I'm a big fan of the Internet, (but the companies) just want to make a buck off of this," says Purdue University sociology professor Mathieu Deflem, who complains about the practice at his elaborate Web site...

ASC Statelines (AAUP newsletter), Winter, 1999 - Note-Posting Foes Return Fire: In Class and Online, Concerned Faculty Win Allies. “Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of the Internet,” says Mathieu Deflem, an assistant professor of sociology and an AAUP member at Purdue University. Deflem is responding to charges that he and other critics of note-posting are simply fearful of new technology... Starting this fall, Deflem put his HTML where his mouth is, setting up a Web site, to discredit note-posting companies by disclosing their practices and alerting faculty to legal precedents against infringements on their rights of authorship...

The San Jose Mercury News, Sunday, December 12, 1999 - Colleges Attack Online Notes. Professor's Revenge: One angry Purdue University professor this fall launched a Web site to fight online note-taking services after he saw a campus ad for Versity.com that sought a note-taker for his criminology class. ''I managed to persuade my students not to do it,'' said Mathieu Deflem, an assistant professor of sociology. ''I told them if they sold notes, they would be violating the trust they should have with their professors.''...

The Christian Science Monitor, November 16, 1999 - Lecture notes online? Businesses hook students up. "They are interfering in the relationship between professors and students," says Mathieu Deflem, an assistant professor of sociology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. He finds the sites so offensive that he has launched a Web site of his own devoted to bringing them down... Since the information disseminated by the sites doesn't come directly from professors, it may end up distorting their message... As Deflem points out, "notes tend to be very personal." If you copy someone else's notes, he says, you'll probably also "have to talk about it with them."... [copy]


'Notes' Papers by Mathieu Deflem

Click for backup copies for online versions of these papers:
Most know better than to rely on online notes. Northern Star, October 25, 2000. - Online Ambiguities. The Technology Source, July/August 2000. - Online academic note services commercializing education. Badger Herald, May 13, 2000. - University4Sale-dot-com: The Educational Cost of Free Notes on the Internet. Footnotes, ASA newsletter 28(4):6-7, April 2000. - Notes notes. The State Hornet, April 12, 2000. - Lecture Notes Companies and the Invasion of E-Commerce (E for Education). Presentation at the meeting of the Indiana Conference of the American Association of University Professors, Indianapolis, April 8, 2000. - University4Sale.com: The Educational Cost of Posted Lecture Notes on the Internet. AFT On Campus, April 2000. - Commercial notes sites must be curtailed. Montana Kaimin, April 4, 2000. - University should follow Yale's lead on commercial notes, The Stanford Daily, April 3, 2000. - All About the Benjamins, The Daily Pennsylvanian, March 22, 2000. - Yale leads the fight against notes companies. Yale Daily News, March 20, 2000. - E-commerce intrudes on higher education, Brown Daily Herald, March 15, 2000. - Online companies turning education into a business. The Digital Collegian, March 13, 2000. - Online notes hurt education system, Indiana Daily Student, March 10, 2000. - Dot-Coms in Our Lecture Halls. The Harvard Crimson, March 9, 2000. - Letter to the Editor, The Battalion (Texas A&M), February 29, 2000. - Online notes companies lack accountability, Michigan Daily, December 13, 1999. - The Educational Costs of Free Online Lecture Notes. The Stanford Review, October 1999. - Online lecture notes harm student-teacher relationships, The Stanford Daily, October 18, 1999. - Faculty member questions online notes, The Purdue Exponent, October 5, 1999.