Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Confessions of an Unintentional Rule Breaker

I provide instruction for a class that is offered to all Engineering students in their 2nd or 3rd year of study.  In the past this class has been taught in person, but this year the instructors asked if it was possible to create short online modules for students instead.  I spent August and part of September creating 5 individual modules ranging from 6 minutes to 15 minutes on topics including RefWorks, USearch, Chicago Author Date citation style, publication types and plagiarism.

One of the instructors had a random copyright inventory of her class materials performed in late September.  I was advised that one of my modules showed too much of a scholarly publication that I was using to demonstrate the characteristic of this type of publication.  I had literally flipped through the contents so that the student would be able to identify how scholarly publications are different from a trade or popular publications in the format that they use.  The copyright coordinator went so far as to count the pages that I had flipped through and stated that the clip was a violation of the 10% rule, even though the contents would not be legible or identifiable to the viewer and the video was only loaded on Blackboard, which is password protected and only available to the students registered in the course.

I had several choices: either remove 3 seconds of the video clip to comply with the 10% rule, re-do the video, or seek permission from the publisher.  I chose the last option and immediately sent the publisher the offending video and a request to use their journal in my instruction via email.  Within 24 hours I had the permission that I required.

Ultimately, it was an excellent learning experience in awareness.

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