In the recent past, the proliferation of digitally available content heralded the beginning of serious problems for the business models of publishers. The ease with which content can be accessed, copied and distributed disrupts the control of those whose role has been to manage and profit from the intellectual property rights of content producers. In effect, the number of “publishers” increased many fold as the Web and other Internet-based technologies became the dominant mode of content distribution. In education, and in other fields, matters of intellectual property, copyright and quality control came to the fore. More recently, with the advent of web-based software that makes publishing online available to anyone with access to the Internet the number of “publishers” and modes of publication have increased massively. The shift from a Web which was, for many a read only environment to a read/write Web poses not only ongoing problems for the traditional distributors of content but also now, for the traditional producers of content and knowledge. In this respect, the role of universities as designers and producers of learning materials for credentialed learning is also under challenge. Just as publishers explore alternative business models to adapt to the new digital environment, now universities have begun to explore new ways of working with so-called Web2 software to support teaching and learning online. In particular, some Web2 software affords new opportunities for and different modes of collaboration, which in the view of some points to student participation in knowledge production. While these developments represent important and significant shifts for universities, this paper draws attention to the lack of empirical data and situated contextual knowledge concerning intellectual property rights for knowledge constructed in a collaborative context. In addition, we explore issues in relation to the maintenance of academic integrity and quality where knowledge building takes place in a collaborative, online environment.
Web 2; Teaching; Learning; Bounded Knowledge; Australia