Please remember that the essay belongs to the essayist. None of us has the moral or, under U.S. copyright law, the legal right to post someone else's essay. One does have the right to post a brief quotation if one is using that "for the purpose of criticism or review" (again, quoting U.S. copyright law), but one can probably do just as well with paraphrase. ("In an essay I read, the writer asserted that....") Even if one is praising a fellow participant, lengthy quotes are not legal.Well, judging by the Terms-of-Service, it appears that the essay does not really belong to the essayist after all - it also belongs to Coursera. So, as fellow students, we don't have the right to post someone else's essay without permission, but that same limitation seems not to apply Coursera. Instead, Coursera seems to have secured the right to re-use the essays whenever and however and for whatever reason they want. Coursera, yes ... but fellow students, no...?
Now, speaking just for myself, I would be glad for my essays to be re-used. Far better for someone to get some use of them rather than having them just go into the virtual trash can. That's one reason why I posted my essays at an open portfolio site. Future iterations of this course, in my opinion, would benefit greatly from the re-use of past essays as models of student writing so that students unfamiliar with essay-writing could have a gallery of styles and options to browse through and learn from.
Meanwhile, though, what prompted me to write this blog post was to note that while the instructor of the course seems to think we retain the copyright to our essays, apparently we do not.
All your essay are belong to us.