May 2019 Site of the Month


PRIMO Site of the Month: May 2019

Copyright Q & As: What kind of right is copyright?


Creators: Rumi Graham, Taryn Kromm, Rob Horlacher

Institution:  University of Lethbridge

Interviewee:  Rumi Graham

Interviewer:  Brittany O’Neill

Description of Project (provided by authors):

This tutorial is the first in an online series on Canadian copyright. The primary goal of the series is to help participants understand how they can use copyrighted materials and create their own works within the provisions of Canadian copyright law. Because copyright involves a number of complex concepts, the series begins by exploring some questions about copyright’s theoretical underpinnings. This tutorial is Creative Commons licensed.

Q: What was the inspiration for these tutorials?

A: Copyright is a complex, evolving bundle of legal rights that can be challenging to negotiate as we pursue scholarly and creative activities. Nonetheless, most of us create or interact with copyrighted items every day. It is thus important for everyone to understand copyright’s purpose, what it protects, and how the system works. But since a work can often be copied or shared almost effortlessly, it is easy to overlook copyright considerations such as whether permission from the copyright owner is needed.

We developed this tutorial series to complement existing means at our university for raising awareness and understanding of copyright, which include a copyright website, workshops, and presentations. We were interested in making interactive copyright education available to students and faculty on both of our two campuses as well as to students enrolled in programs delivered primarily online.

Q: Who is the target audience for these tutorials?

A: The tutorials are aimed primarily at our university’s community members – including students, faculty, researchers and staff – who wish to deepen what they know about the rights of creators and copyright owners or want to learn how to use materials created by others in copyright-compliant ways.

Q: How did you work with other librarians, faculty, students, or other stakeholders in the creation of this tutorial?

A: Funding assistance from the University Library and recruitment assistance from the New Media department in the Faculty of Fine Arts allowed us to hire an undergraduate student with relevant design skills for a one-semester internship. The intern and the university’s copyright advisor worked together to develop and seek feedback on four interactive tutorials. Shortly after the internship concluded, a new instructional design specialist position was created in the Library. The design specialist worked with the copyright advisor to split each of the four original tutorials into two smaller tutorials to reduce the individual run-times. Post-production work was then completed for the resulting eight tutorials, all of which are now publicly available. Currently we are working on another set of copyright tutorials, this time with an eye to investigating different production applications and using some Creative Commons-licensed scripts authored by another institution.

Q: With copyright, there is a lot of ground to cover, and it can be challenging to understand. How did you choose the learning objectives for each tutorial? What drove the design process for these tutorials?

A: We deliberately kept each tutorial’s learning objectives simple and small in number – usually two but no more than three – to avoid information overload and to retain interest and attention. Each set of learning objectives aims to shed light on a single concept or set of interconnected questions about copyright, which is identified in the title of each tutorial. Before tackling this task, we first looked for and considered best practices in creating and refining learning objectives. The first step in our design process was to identify design principles and desired elements for the project as a whole. These were selected based on anticipated needs of the target audience. The selections were also informed by our examination of exemplars of best practices in tutorial creation in the PRIMO database. Next, we sought feedback on the draft design principles from Library staff. After that, it took about two years to secure funding for and to fill the student internship position.

Q: How do you promote this tutorial to students and faculty? Has it been integrated into the curriculum in any way?

A: When the first set of copyright tutorials was publicly released, the copyright advisor wrote about them in a regularly featured copyright column in the university’s faculty association newsletter. Copyright staff also present brief sessions on copyright services and resources at annual orientations held for new faculty. In these sessions we highlight the university’s copyright website where, among other things, the copyright tutorials can be found. Prior to the start of each new semester, all faculty and instructors receive a reminder memo about the various ways in which copyright assistance and education is available to them, which includes the copyright tutorials. To date we have not integrated the tutorials into the curriculum, although investigating possibilities of doing so in the future is something we are interested in pursuing.

Q: How are you assessing this tutorial?

A: At the moment, we gather assessment data informally by inviting viewers to submit feedback via an open-ended comments box on the tutorials webpage. More formal assessment may be possible in the future if we are successful in embedding at least some of the tutorials in our information literacy instruction programs or in the university’s liberal education curricular requirements.

Q: Which program did you use to create these tutorials? What factors contributed to this decision?

A: Adobe Captivate was chosen at the start of our tutorials project on the recommendation of a Library staff member with a web design background. Of the design platforms available at the time, Captivate seemed best equipped to support the project’s design principles and pedagogical goals. It was affordable and it was the platform of choice for several other tutorials in the PRIMO database that had pedagogical goals similar to ours. As we wanted the tutorials to be easily viewable on a user’s choice of devices, we opted to use the responsive design feature in Captivate.

Q: For other librarians looking to use this tool for their own tutorials, what do they need to know to get started? What are some of the benefits and drawbacks of using it?

A: Among the many benefits of using Captivate is its product maturity and reliability as well as its numerous useful design features and options. Captivate allowed us to include in our tutorials pretty much all of our desired design and content elements. At the same time, Captivate can be complex and time-consuming to learn. This is especially true if the responsive design option is chosen, as it requires additional time and effort to make a tutorial fully functional on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. The time-intensive learning curve to become sufficiently competent to produce quality results was the main reason for seeking the assistance of a New Media intern to create the initial modules. The intern’s responsibilities included preparing a project report to summarize sources used for design elements, rationales for key design and development decisions, and recommendations for future development of similar tutorials. The involved nature of production and post-production work prompted us to look for alternative tools that may allow us to create tutorials of comparable quality with less intensive time requirements.

Q: I noticed that the tutorials offered closed captioning and were accompanied by a PDF of the script. How did you incorporate accessibility guidelines into this tutorial?

A: Because broad accessibility was one of our design principles, we were committed from the start to provide closed captioning for hearing-impaired viewers. This was one of the reasons we chose Captivate, as it offers closed captioning as a design option. We also wanted the copyright information to be accessible in multiple modes in an attempt to accommodate different learning preferences. This led us to provide downloadable PDF transcripts for individuals who prefer to learn from textual content and for others who may appreciate the availability of a transcript for reference or review.

Q: The tutorials included some interactive elements during the videos to keep the participants engaged, in addition to the interactive quizzes that accompany each tutorial. What advice do you have for other librarians who want to include interactivity in their tutorials?

A: The built-in ability to include interactive elements was another reason we chose Captivate. From the informal feedback received from students and Library staff, it appears it was a good feature to incorporate. If you wish to include interactive elements in your own tutorial, you might want to consider where natural pauses in the tutorial might be useful for the viewer – perhaps after a particularly concept-intensive or prolonged section – when a viewer interaction, even very simple and brief, may renew focus in your tutorial or serve as a welcome change in pace.