Course Notes & Materials

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Appropriate Student Use of Class Notes and Course Materials

Effective: April 29, 2009
Last Updated: Approved by EPC February 27, 2002; Amended and approved by EPC April 29, 2009
Policy Owner: Academic Affairs


The faculty of the University of Minnesota encourages students to take and share notes in their classes, laboratories, and the many other instructional settings in which they participate as they pursue their education at the University. Taking notes is a means of recording information but more importantly of personally absorbing and integrating the educational experience. The faculty recognizes that collaborative note-sharing and discussion helps students learn.


However, the organization, preparation, and presentation of materials in a class or other instructional setting represent the intellectual effort of the instructor. Instructors have an interest in protecting this intellectual effort and in assuring the accuracy of any public representations of their course lectures and presentations. The classroom should also be a place where instructors feel free to share with students the full range of information available in their subject areas, including results of new research as it is produced, without concern that such new knowledge will be shared prematurely outside the University learning community. Broadly disseminating class notes beyond the classroom community or accepting compensation for taking and distributing classroom notes undermines instructor interests in their intellectual work product while not substantially furthering instructor and student interests in effective learning. Such actions violate shared norms and standards of the academic community. 

  • Students may not distribute, via the Internet or other means, lecture notes or instructor-provided materials, except to other members of the same class or with the express written consent of the instructor.
  • Instructors have the right to impose additional restrictions on course materials in accordance with copyright and intellectual property law and policy. See:

Board of Regents Policy: Copyright

Board of Regents Policy: Commercialization of Intellectual Property Rights

Administrative Policy: Copyright Ownership

  • While students hold the copyright to their own notes from a course, students may not engage in the sale or widespread distribution of transcript-like notes or notes that are close to verbatim records of a lecture or class presentation. Students may share notes with other students in the same class.
  • The provisions of this policy are enforceable as University rules under the Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code.
  • If the faculty of a department or collegiate unit, as a group, or individual faculty in a particular course, have assented to or authorized the distribution of lecture notes or instructor-provided materials, such action does not violate this policy.