Model Academic Integrity

Quality Review Showcase

The Quality and High Quality online course reviews explore components proven to be best practices in online course design. This post showcases High Quality item, “The course models academic integrity by providing citations and permissions for use of instructional materials.”

The concept of copyright in online courses feels daunting. Maybe you’re afraid to include some high quality materials because it’s not 100% clear whether it’s allowed to be used. Similar to the concept of accessibility, there is no such thing as a perfectly compliant course, but you can make your best efforts in ensuring that the content and media in your course are appropriately attributed to the very best of your ability.

Two of the most important notes about copyright in online courses are: (1) It is safe to assume that materials you find on the Internet are copyrighted, even if there is no copyright notice; and (2) If you have physical materials like a DVD, you cannot convert it to streaming video unless there is specific permission from the copyright holder to do so.

Fear not! You may still be able to use copyrighted material if a portion of the work is in favor with the Fair Use doctrine. The following specific factors must be considered in each instance to determine if Fair Use applies:

  • Purpose must be for non-profit, educational use
  • Nature of the material used (factual vs. fictional)
  • Amount of material used (the percentage of a work used in relation to the whole)
  • Effect on the current market as well as the future, potential market, or value of the work

Fortunately, more materials are being shared online that are openly-licensed, giving users varying levels of permission to showcase the work more flexibly.

What are Some Ways your Online Course can be Designed to Meet this Standard?

  • Link out to textual material you find on the Internet, rather than copying and pasting the text into your course.
  • Embed or link out to videos or other media rather than uploading them directly into your course.
  • Look for openly-licensed material which typically affords much more flexibility than those under copyright.
  • Whenever possible, link to scholarly articles using the permalink provided through the UCF library database rather than uploading a PDF. This way, it is more accessible and the library has an accurate count of how many times it is being accessed (and it’s copyright compliant!). Contact your subject librarian if you need assistance.
  • When in doubt, ask the copyright owner for permission to use their materials. If granted, save the approval documentation and upload it to your course just in case.
  • Create your own original media. Lightboard recording is available through the Faculty Multimedia Center. The CDL Graphics and Video teams can also create copyright-compliant media if you are credentialed to create online courses at UCF.
  • Not sure how to cite images and videos? It is recommended to cite in the format that is common in your discipline.

What Does This Look Like in a Real Online Course?

Example 1. Beatriz Reyes-Foster, ANT3610 (Language and Culture)

Dr. Reyes-Foster had a DVD of a documentary called The Linguists that was shown in her face-to-face classes. She wanted her students to be able to watch The Linguists within her online course but lacked copyright permission to do so. Working with her instructional designer, it was determined that the DVD could be converted to digital streaming by the Video@CDL team at UCF, but only if the copyright holder explicitly gave permission for this to happen. The copyright holders of the documentary were notified, and permission was granted. Thankfully, both online students and face-to-face students could now access this documentary.

Example 2. Thomas Brueckner, AST2002 (Astronomy)

Dr. Brueckner offers a free, openly-licensed resource for Astronomy students (Astronomy offered through OpenStax). It is available via UCF Pressbooks and chapters are embedded throughout the online course (copyright 4). Because the resource is under a Creative Commons open license, the material can be shared freely among users. This information is noted at the bottom of the book (copyright 5)

Example 3. Lana Williams, ANT3541 (Biobehavioral Anthropology)

Dr. Williams includes an eye-catching image on the top of each of her modules. Each image is appropriately cited, and often come from openly-licensed image collections on the Internet.

Example 4. Sandy Galura, NGR5720 (Organizational Dynamics)

On her module introduction pages, Dr. Galura provides links to articles that direct students to the UCF library.

For example: Christensen, S., Wilson, B., Edelman, L. (2018). Can I relate? A review and guide for nurse managers in leading generations. Journal of Nursing Management, 26, 689-695.

The link directs students to the UCF library which will prompt students to enter their UCF NID and password.

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