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Best Practices for Face-to-Face Classes

Use the following best practices when using copyrighted works in your class:

  • It is always better to use resources that have fewer or no copyright restrictions. (See the Free to Use tab on the left for a list of those resources.)
  • The Classroom Use Exemption only protects the display and performance of a work; copying and distribution are not allowed.
  • Copyrighted materials must undergo a Fair Use analysis before they are used in class. Contact a librarian for help with this.
  • Do not copy materials that are intended for instruction (i.e., textbooks, workbooks, etc.).
  • Only use the minimum amount you need for your lesson (i.e., select pages from a chapter or article).
  • Be transformative with the work: make the work part of your lecture or part of an assignment.
  • Link out to materials whenever possible: Just because something is free to access online does not mean it is free to copy and distribute through Canvas, email, or in person.

Best Practices for Online Courses

For online courses, follow these additional best practices:

  • Take down content from online courses as soon as the lesson or module is complete.
  • Include a copyright notice in your course: “Materials on this web course may be protected under copyright. They are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated.”
  • Password-protect documents to prevent them from being shared with and used by non-students.
  • Use the permalink tool in the library databases to provide students with a link to articles and e-books in the library databases. Contracts with database vendors often prohibit sharing database content by other digital means such as posting the PDF on Canvas. See this video to learn how to find the permalink.
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