science learning objects and copyright issues

science learning objects and copyright issues

by Christine Horgan -
Number of replies: 3


This week, I've had the opportunity to look at many different and interesting (even for an English major!) science learning objects...some of which take a lot of time and cost a chunk of money to produce.

A little background information might help put my question in context.

When I read the copyright statements/terms of use/terms of fair use statements on many educational sites (for example OWL at Purdue) I become very concerned about linking to some of the excellent objects that we could clearly use to support our courses.

Conversations with our copyright officer make me even more concerned about what is fair, educational, and non-commerical (a course is, afterall, commercial) use for on-line courses. We do ask to use a specific item in an on-line course, naturally, but--to give just a recent example--we were denied permission because we were wanting to link to a resource from within a WebCT-delivered course.

So, my question: How are folks in the science community, or those teaching online science courses, able to use science learning objects in their online courses?

Copyright laws are (in principle) the same, but the application various by just in case it's useful information, I'm in Canada.

Many thanks, Cheers, Chris

In reply to Christine Horgan

Re: science learning objects and copyright issues

by E.A. Draffan -
I am afraid I have been lurking, but I thought I would jump in here just to say that we have been grappling with copyright issues as we have a project that will be portraying lecturers work and accessibility issues. Sadly we are having to make up examples rather to use real ones to avoid copyright issues. JISC have a useful online interactive copyright activity

Best wishes E.A.

In reply to E.A. Draffan

Re: science learning objects and copyright issues

by Emma Duke-Williams -
Like EA I'm also in the UK (just down the road, but we never manage to get together!). However, I've recently been reading Doug Johnson's Blue Skunk blog, and he's had a 4 part series of blog postings (links to part 4) about Copyright - with a US focus. I'm not sure where he is, as his address was "Cleveland", which I thought was in Ohio ... but it said "MN" (Is that Montana, Minnesota... some place else?)
In reply to Christine Horgan

Re: science learning objects and copyright issues

by Paul Stacey -

Great question. In the world of the web its so easy to just grab things and use them so its good to see an increasing awareness that this is not always allowed within the context of copyright and intellectual property constraints.

I've got two suggestions:
- look for resources licensed via the GNU General Public License such as those at
- or resources licensed via Creative Commons such as those found in the Science and Technology section of the Connexions