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Course Logistics

You are a student in HLS1x, the HarvardX course on Copyright. This page describes outlines how participation and assessment in the course will work. There are several tools and technologies you will need to participate, so please be sure to read and understand this page before beginning.

1. Groups

As you know, 500 students were admitted to the course through an open applications process. As part of the venture’s experimental nature, the group of 500 has been sub-divided into four groups, which are employing different combinations of pedagogic features. There are two variables that differentiate the groups:

A. Reading materials:

  • Half of the 500 participants will be using a curriculum that consists primarily of edited versions of judicial opinions from the United States (“case-law readings”).

  • The other half will be using a curriculum that consists primarily of secondary sources and that gives greater weight to copyright law in countries other than the United States (“global readings”).

B. Technology for engaging in online discussions:

  • Half of the participants will be using a collaborative, PDF annotation tool NB (Nota Bene) in addition to the edX discussion forum (“NB/EdX”).

  • The other half will be using only the edX discussion forum (“EdX”).

When combined, these two variables produce the following groups:

  • HLS1xA: case-law readings, EdX 

  • HLS1xB: global readings, EdX [THIS COURSE]

  • HLS1xC: case-law readings, NB/EdX

  • HLS1xD: global readings, NB/EdX

2. Sections

Each group is further divided into five “sections,” each containing 25 participants, and each led by a TF who is a student at Harvard Law School. The sections are designated by numbers – for example, B1, B2, and so forth. During the course, the TF for your section will be your main guide. By now, you should know what section you’re in, the contact information for your TF, and the day and time at which you will meet weekly during the course. Hopefully, you will get to know both your TF and your peers in your section well.

3. Participation

A. Reading materials:

The weekly section discussions will be held using the Adobe Connect software, a webinar application that offers video, audio, and text chat, among other features. Each section will have a dedicated Adobe Connect “room”. Soon after the course launch, you will receive an email inviting you to activate your Adobe Connect account, administered by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Please follow the instructions to create your account in advance of your first section meeting. To access your room, click on the link for your section (these links can also be found in the sidebar of the Course info page): B1      B2      B3      B4      B5

More information about how to use Adobe Connect is available in the Resources page.

B. edX discussion forum

You are encouraged (and expected) actively to use the edX discussion forum to discuss the course material and to engage with your peers and TF. You are encouraged to use the various tools provided by the forum, for example to “up-vote” posts that you think are important or to replying to other posts to grow a conversation.  On occasion, your TF may ask you and your peers to engage in a particular exercise via the discussion forum.


Participants in Groups C and D are strongly encouraged to use the NB platform to discuss the reading material. NB makes collaborative annotation possible. With this tool, you can have conversations that reference specific parts of your readings. In the Syllabus tab, the hyperlinks of the titles of each reading will take you to a version of the material on the NB platform. No separate account is needed. More information about how to use NB is available in the Resources page

D. Special Events

During the course, Prof. Fisher will host six special events at Harvard Law School. All events will begin at 7 PM EST / 12 AM GMT; the dates are listed in the Syllabus tab. events All will be webcast to you as well as to the public at large. Each of the events will address a difficult topic growing out of (or adjacent to) copyright law. The guests and the event topics are listed in the Syllabus. You are expected to participate in the live events. To do so, you will go to your Adobe Connect room and watch the webcast from within the application. During with event, you’ll be able to chat with your peers and TF about the proceedings. In addition, your TF, who will be attending the event in person, will be able to relay some of your questions to the speakers.

4. Assessment

From your participation in the various forums described in the preceding section, your teaching fellow will develop a sense of how well you are understanding the course material. In addition, at the conclusion of the course, you will be invited to take a four-hour written examination. This will be the same test that will be given to the students taking Prof. Fisher’s course on Copyright at Harvard Law School. Your answers to the exam questions will be evaluated by one of the teaching fellows (not your own teaching fellow).

If your performance in the discussion forums and your performance on the exam are both satisfactory, you will be issued a certificate of completion. If you wish, your teaching fellow will also provide you a written assessment of your knowledge and skills.

5. Communication with Course Staff

As indicated above, your TF will be your main guide to the course. If you have questions, and wish not to share the question with your peers via the discussion board (such as questions about your participation or logistics), you can email your TF directly.

If there are technical bugs you’d like to bring to the attention of your peers and the course staff, you’re encouraged to post to the edX discussion forum and select the option to post to the whole group.