© 2016 GW Libraries & Academic Innovation
Estelle and Melvin Gelman LibraryEckles Library at the Mount Vernon CampusVirginia Science and Technology Campus Library

Copyright, Fair Use and Academic Dishonesty

Copyright Basics Guide from Gelman Library. The place to go for the most complete and accurate information on copyright are the GW libraries. Gelman Library, for instance, has a site devoted to copyright and the latest best practices.

As new technologies are made available, the ways in which we provide materials expands and changes. With those digital changes come new interpretations of copyright and fair use.  GW libraries are the best place to to learn more about copyright and how it can impact what you want to do in your course. This is not just about books and articles. The GW libraries now provide video, art works, and other forms of educational media.  

The responsibility ultimately lies with faculty members to ensure that all course materials are in compliance. Here are some key points from the Gelman Library site:

  • Link instead of upload whenever possible.
  • Avoid copying readings and other materials yourself and uploading them to Blackboard (like the familiar PDFs found in most courses). Gelman and Himmelfarb libraries will now create article and book chapter reproductions for you through eReserves that can be linked into your course.
  • Check whether or not images are for public use. Be aware that not all images found online, such as in a Google search, are not automatically licensed for public use. When they are public, provide a citation and/or link, just as you would for text material.
  • For video, like other media, link to public content. Check the "Multimedia & Presentations" section of this website for sources of free images and media.The libraries can also help find and stream audio and video, and make sure you have the rights necessary.
  • Fair use analysis involves section 107 of the copyright law. This fair use checklist (from Cornell University) is a helpful starting place for considering fair use.

Academic Dishonesty by Students

Academic dishonesty is a concern online just as in the in-person classroom. One way to discourage dishonesty is structuring your assessment strategy so that you have plenty of evidence of students' thinking.  Multiple small assessments, for instance, can give you clues for spotting an outlying assignment. They also take off some of the pressure students may feel at having to get one test or project perfect. At GW, technology tools like SafeAssign in Blackboard can also act as a deterrent (contact the Instructional Technology Lab for details).

The WID program's website offers many good insights and suggestions in this area.