Online Course Content FAQs

Questions with their answers

All course materials must comply with copyright guidelines. GW librarians are best able to determine how much of a given work can be posted online so that your course is copyright-compliant. They also can help locate and post some materials that can be harder to find.

I have a photocopy/scan of a book chapter. Can I post this in Blackboard?

Scanned copies of articles and book pages may not be posted in Blackboard by instructors. This a violation of copyright, and an issue of accessibility. You and your ID can work together to compile a list of course readings in your preferred citation style (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago) and GW librarians can post these links for you into the course. In this way, your course remains copyright compliant.

How do I ensure that my course content is accessible?

Accessibility is a critical component of any course, whether face to face or online. This means that all materials - from readings to videos to images and more - must be represented in such a way that students with hearing or vision impairments have equal access to course content. Accessibility of all course content (e.g, alt-text for images, proper labeling, color coding) is a good and just practice for meeting the needs of many different students. It is also critical for meeting the Quality Matters Rubric. Please consult the Universal Design for Learning and Accessibility sections of this guide for more information.

Images, like readings, must comply with copyright guidelines. Look for copyright-free images on sites such as Creative Commons Search, the Library of Congress, and Pixabay.

I need to update an older reading with newer research - where can I get help?

The GW librarians are available to assist you. Consider a research consultation with a librarian to find out more.

Do I need to choose a textbook for the course? Can I just use readings or Open Educational Resources (OER's)?

Depending on the course, some instructors choose not to use a traditional textbook. Rather, they curate readings from peer-reviewed journal articles, blogs, and more. Open Educational Resources (OERs) are gaining interest in the academic community and are helping students defray the cost of course materials. A key piece when choosing readings for your course is that they align with the learning objectives and assessments you and your ID have developed for the course. Alignment of all course elements - including readings - is critical for the Quality Matters Rubric. For further information on OERs, please consult the GW Libraries website and reach out to the GW librarians.

Every course can have a unique amount of content, depending on, for instance, course level (1000 vs 6000 level) and GW’s credit hour policy. A key to determining a manageable balance will be working with your ID to first determine learning objectives and align materials and activities accordingly. The alignment process can be very helpful in eliminating extraneous materials and activities that add to a student’s workload without helping them achieve learning objectives.