Written by Melissa Baysingar, Instructional Design Specialist, Academy for Teaching Excellence

As educators, we strive to provide students with a rich and engaging course experience. That often involves using a variety of resources, examples, images, texts, videos, and other outside materials to illustrate, enlighten, describe, motivate, assess, or humanize our instruction for our students. That’s a good thing! Using materials created by others is essential to our work as educators. It is also essential that we make informed decisions regarding the copyright and use of the outside materials we select. That said, making informed decisions regarding copyright and use is not always easy. Would you know how to respond if you or a colleague had one of the following decisions to make?

  1. I did a Google search and found an image on a travel blog that depicts the conditions in a major urban area. I would like to copy and paste the image into my lecture PowerPoint slides for my sociology class. Can I use this?
  2. I have found a YouTube video about fluids created by a professor at another college that I would like to share with my physics students in Blackboard. Can I use this?
  3. I have found an article in the current issue of a trade journal that I would like to have the students in my management class read this week. I would like to hand out copies of the article in class and post it in Blackboard for students to access it that missed class. Can I use this?

To become better equipped to make these decisions, check out the new Harper College Copyright Tutorial, located on the Library’s Copyright & Fair Use resources page and the Academy for Teaching Excellence Course Design page.

This tutorial takes you through the Copyright Decision Path, a series of 7 questions that will help you develop a more informed answer to, “Can I use this?” for a work you would like to use. You can take a quiz to check your knowledge, and can return to the tutorial as often as you need to when evaluating your use of materials.

For copyright questions, begin by visiting the Library’s Copyright & Fair Use page. Contacts throughout the college are provided on this page for additional questions.