How to Attribute Free Learning Materials in your Courses

Last Revised by DRD on 10/1/2015

Overview:

The purpose of this article is to share some best practices for how to properly attribute CC and Public Domain materials in your courses.


“Nearly everything online is copyrighted” (Hobbs, 2010, p. 2)

 

As university instructors, it is important to present content to students using various forms of multimedia such as websites, images, audio and video recordings, journal articles, etc. Many materials available on the Internet are free resources that are in the Creative Commons (CC) and/or Public Domain. However, using these free materials requires that we give credit the creators of those works. As a result, it is important that we model good digital citizenship to our students when we find and use learning materials on the Internet.

 

Key Terms
  • Creative Commons (CC): a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. Owners attach a license to their works as they “specify exactly how they want their work to be used by others” (Hobbs, 2010, p. 90)
  • Public Domain: Works that are no longer bound to copyrights (Hobbs, 2010).
    *For more info on public domain see: https://creativecommons.org/about/cc0
  • Attribution: Giving appropriate credit to the creator of the work (similar to citing your sources in a research paper)
How do I find Materials in the Creative Commons (CC) and Public Domain?

The table below provides a guide for finding free materials in the CC and Public Domain:

Media
Components
Images Video Audio
(music & sounds)
Text
Creative Commons
&
Public Domain

• Google Images

• Flickr(CC)

• Wikimedia Commons

• Pixabay

• Morguefile

• Free Images

• BurningWell

YouTube

• Vimeo

• Wikimedia Commons

• Kahn Academy

• PBS Videos

Audio Farm

• Jamendo

• Wikimedia Commons

• CCMixter

• Free Music Archive

Open  Educational
Resources
 (OER)

• OER Commons

• MERLOT

Attribution: Review this website and follow these attribution guidelines for all media in the CC and Public Domain (see examples below)
Attribution Examples

Creative Commons Example:

UConn school of fine arts and music buildings
Image: “School of Fine Arts, Music Buildings” by BartokFan is licensed under CC By 2.0

For any work in the creative commons domain, please include the following elements when giving credit to the creator of the work:

  1. Title of the work (provide the web link to where you found the image)
  2. The Author of the work (provide the web link to the author’s site)
  3. CC license (provide web link to the CC license)

Here is an example for finding these 3 elements:

attributionimages

School of Fine Arts, Music Buildings” by BartokFan is licensed under CC By 2.0

 

Public Domain Example:

For any work in the public domain, please include the following elements when giving credit to the creator of the work:

  1. Title of the work (provide the web link to where you found the image)
  2. The Author of the work (provide the web link to the author’s site)
  3. State: “Licensed under Public Domain” (provide web link to public domain license)

 

If you use an image in your HuskyCT course site, see an example below for citing an image in the public domain.

citing_images


Conclusion

Overall, attributing original works that you provided in your learning materials is a lot of work but it is worth it in the end. The creators of those works will appreciate your due diligence and you will be a great model for your students on how to be good digital citizens.

References

Best practices for attribution (n.d.) retrieved from https://wiki.creativecommons.org/wiki/Best_practices_for_attribution

Hobbs, R. (2010). Copyright clarity: How fair use supports digital learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.


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