Etiquette on re-using colleague's teaching exercise
March 8, 2015 8:38 AM   Subscribe

One of my colleagues has a wonderful teaching exercise that I'd like to re-use in a presentation. I would of course give her credit, both on the presentation slide and verbally. Is this normal academic re-use?

It would only be a small part of the presentation (maybe 10 minutes of 45?) with lots of my own content around it. But I feel like... this might be a little weird to ask of her? If I were just re-using it in another class with students that would feel normal. But I'd be re-using it in a presentation to colleagues, which feels slightly hinky, even though it would be will full credit to her. Am I over-thinking this, or is it weird?
posted by lillygog to Education (14 answers total)
Could you ask her to co-present with you?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:58 AM on March 8, 2015

Not weird at all in my academic circle - ask her!
posted by tristeza at 9:04 AM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Stealing teaching techniques to use in the classroom is called "good teaching," as far as I'm concerned. But if you're giving a presentation about interesting techniques, you should --- more than just "credit" her -- center the whole set of slides on her: "Blank's great idea for the classroom". If you ask her for permission to promote her ideas, I don't think she'd be offended.

But maybe I am not understanding the issue.
posted by pjenks at 9:09 AM on March 8, 2015 [10 favorites]

My colleagues all borrow ideas from each other, modify them and return them for another cycle of adaption and reuse. I think this is really common.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:13 AM on March 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

In my academic circle, people happily share and reuse slides, teaching exercises/ideas, exam questions, etc. and it's never an issue. I've rarely seen credit given unless somethng is super unique. But, if you feel weird about it, it certainly does not hurt to ask!
posted by rainbowbrite at 9:13 AM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Probably your institution owns the slides rather than the individual concerned, that said it would seem pretty rude not to ask. The only good reason not to use them would be if the colleague is planning to use them with the same group of students.
posted by biffa at 9:40 AM on March 8, 2015

I think some people are missing that the poster wants to use the slides in a presentation to colleagues, not students.
posted by jaguar at 10:03 AM on March 8, 2015

Response by poster: Yes, thank you. This is a presentation to colleagues, not students. It's framed as a case study: using thing X, I'll talk about its wider implications within context Y. Context Y is the theme of the seminar.

In talking about thing X, I'll use her exercise to prompt the audience to think about how people might interact with thing X. (I'm glad to read all your comments, because they are forcing me to think more precisely about how I want to structure this talk.) So... I'm sort of using her exercise as a framing device to give a bunch of my own thoughts. I would definitely check with her and give credit, but had a weird social panic moment where I thought it would be odd to even ask. pjenks maybe has it the closest, though the seminar is not on teaching.
posted by lillygog at 10:12 AM on March 8, 2015

the seminar is not on teaching

Aha, I suspected that after replying. In that case, I think "this is a great little exercise that I stole from Blank" is fine (along with asking her if she minds).
posted by pjenks at 10:33 AM on March 8, 2015

I would definitely ask her. I think the reason we don't ask when it's used in the classroom is because everyone wants the best outcome for all students, but that can become disingenuous when you are getting credit, publicly, for her idea- it's not just about best outcomes for students then.

Actually, as a teacher I find it quite annoying that there is not attempt to even recognise people's good ideas/work, particularly in a context where teaching is becoming increasingly competitive and corporatised in a range of ways that expect accountability. The wider world cannot have it both ways- expect us to act entirely democratically and without regard for competition, and then rank us anyway!

This is the result of her professional knowledge- or perhaps a prior colleague's- but even then, she has made use of it and it is her experiences that have brought this to you. I think you should absolutely ask her.
posted by jojobobo at 2:20 PM on March 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

Just read the update. In that case (not a seminar on teaching) then I think it would still be respectful to ask, but less of an imperative to do so.
posted by jojobobo at 2:21 PM on March 8, 2015

Tell her you love it, ask her, and mention that you'll credit her.
posted by wintersweet at 2:24 PM on March 8, 2015

It's common. Ask first (respect her decision, of course), give credit.
posted by gingerest at 5:18 PM on March 8, 2015

Probably your institution owns the slides rather than the individual concerned

No, academics own their own intellectual property. It is not work for hire and copyright belongs to the creator. This isn't like writing up a document when you work for a private company. Ask and give credit. If this constitutes any substantial portion of your presentation you should consider giving that credit in the form of co-authorship over the presentation.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:57 PM on March 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

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