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Frequently Asked Questions

Last reviewed September 23, 2020.

What are my options for providing access to course materials for students?

There are a lot of choices. The best option depends on factors such as the type and cost of the material. UW Libraries licensing agreements and copyright are factors for using electronic or print copies of materials.

MaterialOptionsConsiderations

Book

U Bookstore
  • Each student has own text
  • Cost to student

Open Textbooks

Seattle | Bothell | Tacoma

  • Open textbooks are free online, cover a broad range of subjects, and are immediately available
  • Instructors are empowered to edit, revise, and remix content
  • Depending on platform/source, not all textbooks adhere to accessibility standards
Library-licensed eBooks
  • Libraries cannot license e-copies of textbooks from many publishers
  • Digital Rights Management restrictions (DRM) on e-books may include: limits on the number of concurrent users; limits on total uses; limits on copying, printing, and downloading
  • Can’t find what you need for your course in existing UW collections? Consult your subject librarian or fill out the e-book Course Reserve Request Form

Library Course Reserves (physical books)

  • COVID-19 UPDATE: With user safety and equitable access in mind, no physical materials will be placed on course reserves until further notice
  • Students share a limited number of copies of book
  • Works best for smaller classes, optional texts or classes where only a small portion of the book is used
Book Chapter

Canvas or other learning management system

    Canvas Help
    Seattle | Bothell | Tacoma | Cascadia
      • Instructors are responsible for copyright/license compliance
      • It is rare for use of more than one chapter of a book to be considered fair use.  If additional chapters are needed, please explore other options such as using the book as a textbook, putting it on course reserve or putting the chapters in a course pack
      • Instructors can request a scan of one book chapter -- Course Instruction Scanning Service

      Course pack
      Seattle and Bothell | Tacoma

      • Copyright royalties are usually paid for book chapters in course packs
      • Students pay all fees by purchasing course pack
      Library-licensed eJournal article

      Canvas or other learning management system

      Canvas Help
      Seattle | Bothell | Tacoma | Cascadia

      Course pack
      Seattle and Bothell | Tacoma
      • Some eJournal articles can be used royalty free in course packs, others require fees
      • Students pay all fees by purchasing course packs
      Print Journal Articles

      Canvas or other learning management system

      Canvas Help
      Seattle | Bothell | Tacoma | Cascadia

      Course pack
      Seattle and Bothell | Tacoma
      • Copyright royalties usually need to be paid for copies of print journal articles
      • Students pay all fees by purchasing course pack
      Journal article/book chapter from other sources

      Canvas or other learning management system

      Canvas Help
      Seattle | Bothell | Tacoma | Cascadia

      Course pack
      Seattle and Bothell | Tacoma
      • Copyright royalties usually need to be paid for copies of print journal articles
      • Students pay all fees by purchasing course pack
      Media

      Streaming media

      Seattle | Bothell | Tacoma

      • UW Libraries has licensed over 15,000 videos and 6,000,000 audio tracks for its tri-campus community
      • If you are developing a class that will incorporate streaming video, visit the Streaming Media page for resources and guidelines -- Contact your subject librarian for advice on options
      • If you intend to use many feature films (i.e. popular Hollywood titles), you might consider asking your students to subscribe to a third party streaming service such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, among others
        Library Course Reserves (physical formats)
        • COVID-19 UPDATE: With user safety and equitable access in mind, no physical materials will be placed on course reserves until further notice
        • Works best for smaller classes, optional materials or short selections

        Canvas

        Canvas Help
        Seattle | Bothell | Tacoma | Cascadia

        Instructor generated material

        Canvas

        Canvas Help
        Seattle | Bothell | Tacoma | Cascadia

        • Excellent option for syllabi, assignments, sample tests, and so on
        Student generated material

        Canvas

        Canvas Help
        Seattle | Bothell | Tacoma | Cascadia

        • FERPA and copyright apply -- need permission to post material

        I would like my students to read a wide range of material that is not in one textbook. What are the options?

        There are several good ways to provide access to course materials for your students. The best option depends on the material itself.

        Placing print books or other physical materials on reserve at one of the UW Libraries' reserve units works best for optional readings, small classes, or when the selections are fairly short. It does not work well when 50 students are competing for one book during a short period of time. COVID-19 UPDATE: With user safety and equitable access in mind, no physical materials will be placed on course reserves until further notice.

        The UW Libraries licenses many electronic journals, books, and streaming media for UW affiliates. Electronic materials that have been licensed by the UW Libraries can often be used in support of courses without additional copyright permission.

        If material is not licensed electronically, reserve use without permission from the copyright owner is generally limited to a single chapter or article. The instructor is responsible for complying with U.S. copyright law. See the UW Libraries guidelines for copyright and reserves for details.

        Course packs work best for long readings, a large number of readings, or repeated use of non-licensed, copyrighted materials. They also provide students with a convenient, bound copy of the course materials. Students pay copyright permissions fees and photocopy costs. Create and print course packs at the Seattle and Bothell campuses. On the Tacoma campus, contact the UW Tacoma Copy/Mail Center.

        What about my syllabus, class notes, tests and papers?

        As long as you own the copyright you can place material  your course's Canvas site. Students own the copyright for papers they write for your class. Student work may also be protected by FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act) in addition to copyright law, so you must get student permission in writing before sharing their work.

        For UW licensed electronic materials, can I upload the .pdf to Canvas?

        If the license does not allow you to download the pdf for reserves, you must create a link instead. In most cases, the url that displays at the top of the page will work on campus only. Logging in to a campus web site or portal with a UW NetID does not automatically mean that any resources a user tries to access will be proxied. To access the readings from off campus, you need to create a stable URL that forces the user through the UW Libraries proxy server.

        Can I just link to an e-book in Canvas or course website if the library owns/has licensed it?

        Using e-books for a class is still a developing model. Some vendors allow the Libraries to license their books for an unlimited number of concurrent readers. Others allow only one reader at a time, similar to using a print copy of a book. Students who are sharing (essentially) one copy of a book may not always have access when they want it, especially right before an exam.
        How do you know the difference?
        E-books provided by Project MUSE, JSTOR, Wiley, ClinicalKey, AccessMedicine or AccessPharmacy allow an unlimited number of concurrent readers and work nicely for classes. Other vendors are more restrictive.
        For more information see our guide to E-Book Collections [https://guides.lib.uw.edu/research/ebooks/ebooks-faq ] or consult your subject librarian or liaison if you have questions about linking to an e-book from another provider.

        Using e-books for a class is still a developing model. Some vendors allow the Libraries to license their books for an unlimited number of concurrent readers. Others allow only one reader at a time, similar to using a print copy of a book. Students who are sharing (essentially) one copy of a book may not always have access when they want it, especially right before an exam.

        How do you know the difference?

        E-books provided by Project MUSE, JSTOR, Wiley, ClinicalKey, AccessMedicine or AccessPharmacy allow an unlimited number of concurrent readers and work nicely for classes. Other vendors are more restrictive.

        For more information see our guide to E-Book Collections or consult your subject librarian if you have questions about linking to an e-book from another provider.

        What are my options for music, images or film?

          What's the deal with 'Open'? I keep hearing about it but I like to have the terms explained.

          It can be confusing! From Open Textbooks to Open Access to Open Pedagogy to Open Educational Materials, this short video from Robin DeRosa from Plymouth State University is an excellent introduction.