Open online course materials

Course materials in open online courses such as MOOCs have to be selected and prepared differently than course materials for UNSW courses. Generally, course materials for open online courses must be created by the instructor, must be open access or must be used with unrestricted permission from the copyright owner. The Library can assist with locating suitable materials.

Using course materials in open online courses can seem complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. The basic rules are below, and the finer points are in the pages linked at the bottom of this page. If you need further assistance, the Library is happy to help.

For open online courses, including MOOCs
Photographs and other fine art images should only be used if they have a Creative Commons or similar open access licence attached, or if permission has been received from the rightsholder.
Supporting images such as graphs and figures can be taken from articles and used if they are insignificant to the original work as a whole.
Text materials should not be hosted in PDF form unless they have a Creative Commons or similar open access licence attached, or unless permission has been received from the rightsholder.
For websites, best practice is to link.
Quotations and short passages can be used as long as you have reasonably decided that they are insignificant to the original work as a whole (usually about 300 words or fewer.)
Video content from YouTube or The Box can be embedded if it’s embeddable.  The licences are different for different platforms, such as Vimeo. The Library can assist with guidance in these cases.
Music should only be used if it has a Creative Commons or similar open access licence attached, or if permission has been received from the rightsholder.

Unfortunately, there are no exceptions in Australian copyright law that grant any sort of blanket permission for course materials in open online courses. There are some exceptions that may apply to rare, specific, individual situations; however, generally speaking, course materials in open online courses must be approached as if there are no statutory permissions available.

Because there are no blanket permissions available, only certain course materials can be used. For more information about open access resources suitable for your teaching, see Open online course resources guide. For further assistance contact your Outreach Librarian.

Specific information about course materials for open online courses:

See also:

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