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Rapidly Shifting Your In-Person Course to Online: Copyright Considerations

Course readings and other resources

Hopefully, by mid-semester, your students have already gotten access to most assigned reading materials. As always, the University of Regina Library's Reading List service can help with getting things online - linking to Library's licensed resources, finding ebooks where available, and much more. 

If you want to share additional materials with students yourself as you revise instructional plans,
or if you want students to share more resources with each other in an online discussion board, keep in mind some simple guidelines below. 

It's always easiest to link!

Linking to publicly available online content like news websites, existing online videos, etc
. is rarely a copyright issue (Better not to link to existing content that looks obviously infringing itself - Joe Schmoe's YouTube video of the entire "Avengers: Endgame" movie is probably not a good thing to link to). But linking to most Youtube videos, especially ones that allow sharing and embedding, should be fine. Linking to subscription content through the University of Regina Library is also a great option. Much of the library’s licensed content will have DOIs, PURLs, or other "permalink" or “persistent link” options, all of which should work even for off-campus users. Consult the linking to e-resource guide, or contact the library directly for assistance via or through the Online Chat service.


Sharing copies and scanning

Making copies of new materials for students (by downloading and uploading files, or by scanning from physical documents) can present some copyright issues, but they're not different from those involved in deciding whether to share something online with your students when you are meeting in-person. 


At the University of Regina, faculty and instructors are encouraged to read and apply the fair dealing guidelines when they are making decisions about when they think they can make copies for students to post to UR Courses. Library staff members are available to help faculty understand the relevant issues (contact for more help.) 


Some app tools that you can use to easily digitize fair dealing amounts of material from your phone to post to UR Courses are Genius Scan, Adobe Scan. Please keep in mind that you can make any scanned PDF files more accessible for your students by using an online optical character recognition (OCR) online tool that can be used to convert "non-selectable" text files into machine-readable or recognized text.


When an instructor needs to make more copyrighted material available to students than the fair dealing guidelines  allows library staff in UR Courses or through the reading list service, we can assist faculty in making these determinations and can also help you seek formal copyright permissions to provide copies to students – but there may be some issues with getting permissions on short timelines. 


An alternative way to find course materials is to look online for free to use teaching resources like Open Educational Resources. Just remember to attribute!


You can also search the University of Regina Library which has a large collection of journals and many ebooks that can support on-line learning. In fact, many content providers have recently increased access to a variety of materials to ensure broader access by campuses. Your Subject Librarian can also help!!