A San Jose State University computer science student has won a victory in a struggle over control of his academic work.

Kyle Brady was threatened with punishment by a professor for posting code he had written for a class assignment online. (Brady wanted to make his code available to other programmers, his prof thought that making it public would facilitate cheating among students who were given the same assignment in the future.) Brady appealed his prof’s decision, and the university took his side.

As Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow says, this ruling affirms fundamental principles about the teacher/student relationship:

Profs — including me, at times — fall into the lazy trap of wanting to assign rotework that can be endlessly recycled as work for new students. But the convenience of profs must be secondary to the pedagogical value of the university experience. … Students work harder when the work is meaningful, when it has value other than as a yardstick for measuring their comprehension.

That’s worth saying again, I think. “The convenience of profs must be secondary to the pedagogical value of the university experience.” Exactly.