There are several commercial note-, exam-, and course-sharing websites on the Internet; for example, Chegg, Course Hero, OneClass, and StuDocu. These sites allow students to share professors' lecture notes, assignments, exams, and other course materials. These sites provide incentives such as monetary reward for students to post content that would increase user visits to these sites. Unfortunately, students are posting materials provided by their professors without the educational institution's or faculty's consent.
There are several problems associated with posting course materials to these websites or elsewhere on the Internet:
Students don't always understand when their use of these sites might be a violation of policy or ethically unsound.
It is helpful to educate students on the ethical and legal uses of your course materials. Education may help prevent students from posting course materials on the Internet. Here are some strategies:
1) Talk to your students about the course materials
At the start of a term, mention to your students that the course materials provided by you or posted on a learning management system are for their own educational use and should not be shared on the Web or externally. In the end, it is up to a faculty's discretion on whether material can be shared outside of class; however, for third-party material, there may be copyright implications related to distribution.
2) Include a © symbol and/or statement on the course materials
Add the copyright symbol, your name, and the date that you created the material. You may also include a statement in your syllabus to clarify what students can and cannot do with your material. Here is a suggested statement:
"The materials provided in class and in Blackboard are protected by copyright. They are intended for the personal, educational uses of students in this course and should not be shared externally or on course material-sharing websites (e.g., Chegg, Course Hero, or OneClass). Unauthorized distribution may result in copyright infringement and violation of [your institution’s name] academic integrity policies."
3) Cite any third-party sources used in the course materials
Provide attribution to the sources you are using to demonstrate good scholarly practice and academic integrity to your students. Talk to your students about your ethical decision-making when it comes to the use of third party sources.
4) Suggest learning support services available
In addition to seeking coursework help from you and other professors, refer students to the your library for research and citation help and Writing Center for learning and writing support.
Contact the Office of Student Rights or Student Services office at your institution and ask them to talk through next steps and assist you in getting your materials removed.
Most note-sharing sites have an online form for authors to request removal of their materials. In the U.S. where many of these sites are hosted, online service providers are required by legislation to remove a copyrighted work upon request of the rights holder and provide a notice to the user who uploaded the work.
The links below take you to the online forms of several course material sharing websites to request content removal: