There is a set of lecture notes I would like to work through the exercises very carefully. Instead of having thousands of scrap pages lying around my desk - I considered typing them up on and posting them on GitHub.

Will this make the textbook unususable for future courses based on that text?

I found this related question: Is it good to have solutions of homework published? which argues the solutions are beneficial check on the validity of the text.

However I am not the teacher, I am the student. Having them online is for my own pedagogical benefit and to share with specific other people.

  • $\begingroup$ I think your title is currently misleading, I think the question is it ok to publish your notes from a course? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ @JamesS.Cook The lecture notes are undergraduate or possibly graduate level. And I would like to work through the exercises, which might possibly turn into my own set of course notes, yes. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, I see what you're saying. I think the main thing is to give credit to the source of your work. Beyond that, math is public domain, so, go for it. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 19:27
  • $\begingroup$ Could even listing the problems from the text on your web page violate the copyright of the text? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 17, 2015 at 1:51

1 Answer 1


Good for whom? A casual consideration shows that both good and harm can be done. If the people who run the course encourage or approve your notes, then I am unlikely to cry "Foul!". Also, if you have your own notes that you wish to present, you can keep a digital copy in HTML or PDF or text format and put it on a USB flash drive and make it available to any small select group of individuals of your choosing (but be careful to avoid conflict with institutional policies on cheating). Putting it on your personal website is another matter entirely, and at the absolute minimum should not be done without knowledge and agreement of the professor or administration offering the course.

A mindset to adopt is that you may wish to offer the notes as an educational product to be sold. Then you can decide if what you have to offer is a supplement, a course critique, a wikipedia-type article, or just your own personal blog for entertainment. Get a few others to look at it and agree with you before you decide what it is.

Gerhard "This Is A No-Brainer, Right?" Paseman, 2015.04.16

  • $\begingroup$ I have no intention of selling my lecture notes! I don't dream of it $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ And I am not suggesting you should sell them. However, if you want to imagine the kinds of trouble you could get into (i.e. is it OK to do this or not), the mindset is very useful to adopt. Gerhard "Often Use This Mindset Myself" Paseman, 2015.04.16 $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 18:24

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