Online Course | Copyright in Higher Education

Part 1: May 7, 2019 | 1:00–2:30 p.m. ET
Part 2: May 15, 2019 | 1:00–2:30 p.m. ET
Part 3: May 22, 2019 | 1:00–2:30 p.m. ET


This introductory course is focused on the topic of copyright, specifically as it applies to online academic course designs. It won't make you an expert in copyright law, but it will give you enough background training to make informed decisions.

After an introduction to the principles of copyright as they apply to higher education under the laws of the United States, Canada, and international agreements, you'll become familiar with concepts that relate directly to your specific online course design needs.

Learning Objectives

During this course, participants will:

  • Determine when copyright does and does not apply in online environments
  • Analyze and apply fair-use criteria in order to make strong cases for the fair use of copied materials in online course environments
  • Apply license and permission models in order to go beyond the limitations of copyright law
  • Provide access to content without invoking copyright, license, or permission restrictions
  • Examine your institution's policies regarding ownership of instructor-created content

NOTE: Participants will be asked to complete assignments in between the course segments that support the learning objectives and will receive feedback and constructive critique from course facilitators on how to improve and shape their work.


Thomas Tobin Thomas Tobin, Faculty Associate, LDDI, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Thomas J. Tobin is the Conference Programming Chair and Faculty Associate on the Learning Design, Development, & Innovation (LDDI) team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as an internationally-recognized speaker and author on quality in technology-enhanced education, especially copyright, evaluation of teaching practice, academic integrity, and accessibility/universal design for learning.

He holds a Ph.D. in English literature, a second master's degree in information science, and professional certifications in project management (PMP), online teaching (MOT), Quality Matters (QM), and accessibility core competencies (CPACC).

Tom serves on the editorial boards of InSight: A Journal of Scholarly Teaching, the Journal of Interactive Online Learning, and the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration.

His books include:

  • Evaluating Online Teaching: Implementing Best Practices (2015) with Jean Mandernach and Ann H. Taylor.
  • The Copyright Ninja: Rise of the Ninja (2017).
  • Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education (2018) with Kirsten Behling.
  • Going Alt-Ac: A Guide to Alternative Academic Careers (in press, 2019) with Katie Linder and Kevin Kelly.