Guide To Using External Sources In Your MOOC

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are online courses which are available to a global audience of learners from a wide range of countries. Learners can access the courses for free and the MOOC platform entails course content being distributed far and wide.

Copyright infringement is heightened if third party materials are included within your course without appropriate permission. Careful consideration should be given before deciding to use any third-party material.

You cannot rely on institutional or library licenses (e.g. e-journals) for use in MOOCs as these can only be used by University of Glasgow staff and students for institutional courses. To aid in avoiding potential copyright problems with materials which may be used in a MOOC, you may wish to do the following:

  • Create your own in-house materials
  • Use open access materials (like Creative Commons)
  • Seek permission with third parties to use their materials/content (help with rights clearance can be discussed with the Library if required)

To view in-depth advice relating to MOOC's, Creative Commons and the UK Copyright exceptions, please click on the link below.

Click here to view in-depth advice relating to MOOC's, Word Doc format (will download automatically when link is clicked)

Creative Commons

Creative Commons (CC) is a suite of licenses available online and to the general public, which facilitate the distribution of normally copyrighted works. The CC license can be used by the author of a work to extend the right to other people to build upon and share the work they have created.

Links to learning obejcts & additional resources

Finding and Using Media

A majority of the UK Copyright exceptions cannot be used to defend usage of copyright protected materials in MOOC’s. Therefore, it is advised to make use of images that have a Creative Commons or bespoke licence associated with them. The resources listed below encourage best practice when you’re searching for images online, tracking down a source and the process involved when you’re seeking permission to use some else’s work.

Video based resoruces:

Text based resoruces:

The following resources are all downloadable word documents:


Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials which are freely available online for everyone to utilise. The types of OER resources can vary from; full courses and modules, lectures, quizzes, images, videos, pedagogical materials, tests and whole host of other mediums and tools which are contained in online collections around the world. When utilising or developing OER resources, refer to the ‌Creative Commons attribution licenses to ensure these materials are being used or distributed appropriately.

  • JISC Digital Media - find video, audio and images online using guidance from Jisc
  • OER Commons - online digital library and network
  • JORUM - UK repository for sharing Open Educational Resources, for HE and FE