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Open Education

We have developed a special guide to instruct lecturers on how to use copyrighted material in their Canvas courses and during lectures.

As a lecturer, you use resources such as literature, images, videos, podcasts and other materials to support your teaching. In many cases, these materials are copyrighted. We have developed a special guide to instruct lecturers on how to use copyrighted material in their Canvas courses and during lectures. It contains various options for using material free of charge. This LibGuide also explains copyright rules and possible costs associated with reuse. Always keep copyright rules in mind when reusing material.

How the LibGuide works
For each source, The LibGuide explains which rules apply to the use of copyrighted material. ‘Free: What is always allowed?’ is the main focus of the manual. The LibGuide first presents an overview of material that can always be used for educational purposes. This is followed by information about the paid use of teaching support resources. Our aim is to keep costs to a minimum. Free use of this material is therefore preferred.

VU Amsterdam and copyright
VU Amsterdam pays an annual fee for the use of copyrighted material. This is set out in the Easy Access regulations, an agreement between the VSNU (universities) and the PRO Foundation (publishers). Bear in mind that VU Amsterdam always pays for extracts acquired via Easy Access, so it is a good idea to be aware of the general content of the regulations. If you have to use a large portion of a source, the University Library may be able to purchase it for you.

Two ways to reuse content in your courses for free
Here is a brief explanation of two ways you can reuse content in your courses at no additional cost to VU Amsterdam. We request that you use these two methods as much as possible.

  • You can always link to publications that are either legally available on the internet or for which the University Library has a licence. Read the guide Instructions for referring to sources from Canvas on how to do this correctly.
  • Open Access/Open Educational Resources. Materials that have been published open access or with a Creative Commons licence can be used for free, including on Canvas.

The LibGuide – Educational Resources and Copyright Support Centre, contains a separate section with ‘Open Educational Resources’. Here, you can find articles, videos and other material that can be used free of charge. The University Library also offers help with developing other options, such as textbooks, podcasts, knowledge clips and other resources. To find Open Educational Resources in your field, you can also get in touch with the University Library subject specialist for your faculty.

If you have questions about the Copyright Act, copyright in general or the options for supporting your teaching with various resources, please contact a colleague from the Educational Resources and Copyright Support Centre.

Where can you find open educational materials?

Below you will find a list of databases and websites. This list has been drawn up in collaboration between the University Library and Luuk Terbeek.

o    Google

o    OERcommons

o    Wikiwijs

o    Canvas Commons

o    Open Access

o    OpenStax


o    Europeana

o    Creative Commons


o    SUNY Textbooks

o    Cool4ed

o    Overview using 3rd party video – TU Delft

o    Saylor Academy

o    Unpaywall

o    Big list with more sources