Copyright for Librarians is an online course, providing modular lessons relating to copyright law and relevant copyright issues. The target population is librarians in developing and transitioning countries, however any librarian, faculty, or college level student interested in learning about this topic could use this resource. Each module contains a lesson providing in-depth information on a specific topic, along with examples of case studies, lists of relevant court cases, assignments and discussion ideas. This course can be used in conjunction with a traditional face-to-face course, in an online teaching environment, or on it's own for those that want to teach themselves.
The goal is to inform librarians, especially those in transitional countries, about copyright law in general, the aspects of copyright law that most affect libraries, and how librarians can most effectively participate in the processes by which copyright law in interpreted and shaped.
Target Student Population:
Librarians, undergraduate and graduate students, and faculty members teaching related content.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Some understanding of the basic concepts of copyright will be helpful, but not required. Some comfort with navigating new technology is needed if using the free Rotisserie discussion forum provided by Harvard Law [note, the link to Rotisserie doesn't work, correct version is http://h2oproject.law.harvard.edu/rotisserie.html].
Type of Material:
Traditional classroom setting or distance education course. It can be used as an entire course, or each module can be used on its own. To fully meet the course objectives it is important to have interaction from others via discussions and someone to provide feedback on the assignments.
Evaluation and Observation
The content is very comprehensive and touches all aspects of international copyright law relevant to librarians. It moves beyond traditional overviews that end with explanations of what the law is and extends to include how librarians can be involved in the establishment and interpretation of future laws. It's flexible and can be used in various classroom situations. The course provides examples of real-life situations in a library and academic setting, along with resources for further research. Each module is in-depth and builds on previous modules.
Because the modules are in-depth and fairly lengthy it could be challenging for those new to the topic; it is not very concise.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The course proposes five possible levels of use that involve varying amounts of reading and writing. Given the scope of material included and the assignment and discussion topics, those who devote the time to completing the course should achieve the stated objectives for each module. All of this is dependent on someone providing feedback on the assignments and having a discussion forum to fully explore the topics and issues.
While well organized, this course is very text heavy and may overwhelm some users. If there was more mechanisms to provide immediate feedback, such as quizzes or text, it would be a more effective teaching tool. In addition, having a more interactive design would make learning the material easier.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
This is a standard wiki layout. Each module has the contents for that module listed at the top so one can easily work through the content.
The instuctions indicate materials have been marked to assist users or instructors in deciding the level of effort required to explore this course. For higher levels, one is instructed to read all the documents marked with red, blue, and green links. In some browsers, all links are blue and one must look for the green/red as written which is less visually obvious. In addition, each module is very text heavy so it is not visually engaging. More images or videos would be helpful. When a user is viewing a module the table of contents for the entire course is at the bottom of the webpage. This can make it difficult to navigate or skip to another section.