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Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): Copyright & MOOCs

This guide provides information on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for the HKUST community & on Open Educational Resources (OERs).

Copyright & MOOCs

 Use of copyrighted material in an MOOC you are creating (videos, assigned reading, etc.)


Material created or produced specifically for your MOOC

For example, a video of the MOOC instructor giving an MOOC session; a text was written by the MOOC instructor that he or she has copyright to; or a game or quiz that the MOOC instructor designed for the MOOC.

Open Educational Resources

Go to the linked tab above (Open Access Books, Open Access journals, etc.)

Creative Commons licensed material can also be a good source of open material.

Public Domain material

For example the text of a 19th century novel from Project Gutenberg, or musical performances from Internet Archive.

Licensed (permission granted) material

Books, articles, videos, performances whose copyright is owned by others & permission has been granted

In all cases, make an attribution to the original source in your slides or other class materials.

If including an attribution on the particular slide or at the time when the work is used would interrupt the flow of the instruction;  put the acknowledgment at the end of an individual lecture (like credits in a movie).




Material created by others, or copyrighted to others, & permission to use in an MOOC has not been granted

Images, sounds, books, articles, videos, performances, etc.


Fair Dealing for Educational Purposes?

Coursera is a for-profit company, thus, the fair dealing provision for educational use of the Hong Kong Copyright Ordinance does NOT apply.

EdX is a non-profit, but the provisions of the Hong Kong Copyright Ordinance specify "enrolled in a specific course of study" which may not apply to an MOOC which is outside a formal degree program.

If an MOOC platform is being used to deliver online or blended instruction for a specific course only to enrolled HKUST students; then follow the usual practice for HKUST courses (as you would for posting materials on Canvas).

Guidelines from other Institutions

Guidelines for using copyrighted material in Coursera MOOCs  / by Kevin L. Smith, Duke University Director of Copyright & Scholarly Communication

These guidelines from 2012, although written for a U.S. context, offer good advice.

General copyright issues for Coursera/MOOC courses  by Penn Libraries (University of Pennsylvania)

Offers good suggestions and links for further information


Reference Librarian

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Samson Choi
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Subjects: Environment, Science
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