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Sharing and Teaching Course Content

Remote Teaching, Learning and Research



Asynchronous/ Synchronous Learning

Asynchronous and synchronous learning are two different components of online learning. They may be used exclusively, or ideally blended together, depending on the particular needs of the class.

Synchronous learning happens in “real time”. Live video sessions (such as Zoom) are an example of synchronous learning. Flynn and Kerr outline some issues with relying solely on synchronous learning:

  • It is more difficult for students with low-bandwidth or no wifi.  Synchronous learning requires high-bandwidth, and thus technology limits student’s access.
  • It can create obstacles to learning.  Online lectures can feel longer and harder to follow, for many students are already experiencing cognitive load/ screen fatigue issues.
  • Students in different living circumstances may be unable to fully participate because of lack of privacy. In particular, things like requiring video to stay on, or discussing sensitive topics, may be difficult for students in many different home circumstances.

Asynchronous learning can happen at any time (although there may still be due dates for particular topics/material). It is not time-bound, so can allow for flexibility when students engage with it. Pre-recorded lectures/ video/audio, readings, and discussion boards are all examples of asynchronous learning. However, in a purely asynchronous class, some students may struggle to stay engaged, and may fall behind. 

Additional Resources:

  • Stefan Hrastinski explains his research on synchronous and asynchronous learning, which shows that each supports different purposes. Asynchronous learning may be better for more complex or sensitive issues, where students don’t feel as pressured to respond immediately. Synchronous learning may be better for social learning, and planning. 
  • Ruth Weeks offers suggestions for “chunking” content into smaller pieces for online learning, as well as some recording tips.
  • Daniel Stanford suggests a framework for low-bandwidth tools for both synchronous and asynchronous teaching.
  • Kyle Mackie shares ideas for reducing file sizes for teaching with technology:  https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/kylemackie/
  • Harvard has a large repository of Active Learning activities that can be modified for online classrooms. You can search by activity type, by learning goal, by subject area, or by length of time for the activity. They also provide a section of evidence for Active Learning strategies.
  • Conditions Under Which Assessment Supports Students’ Learning is a paper that shows the conditions under which assessment and feedback are actually valuable to assist student learning.

Copyright Considerations

Your sharing of materials is governed by the University of Winnipeg Copyright Policy and Procedures. The shift to remote teaching and learning does not change our copyright responsibilities, though new materials may be opened up to address Faculty’s increased online teaching needs.

There are a number of provisions in the Copyright Act that enable teaching and learning online without undue restrictions. Specific provisions include educational exceptions and the fair dealing exceptions. It is generally held that activities that are permissible in the classroom are permissible in an online learning classroom, though you will need to delete online copies 30 days after the end of the course. We encourage you to use the Nexus platform in combination with Ares when sharing materials, as this restricts access to those currently enrolled in the course.

Copyrighted Content tips:

  • Course readings rules for print and online posting to Nexus are similar. Either: 1) link to a resource within the Library catalogue,  2) link out to Internet content (rather than uploading a copy), or 3) use within the Copyright Policy Fair Dealing Guidelines.
  • Your Subject Librarian may be able to help you find alternative online content, and the Library catalogue has a large collection of online journals and ebooks that can help support online learning. Your librarian can also help you find openly licensed teaching materials like Open Educational Resources (OER).
  • Use phone apps like Genius Scan or Adobe Scan to easily scan print documents in order to post print materials in Nexus/ Ares within the limits allowed by the Copyright Act (including fair dealing – see the Copyright Policy Fair Dealing Guidelines). Make scanned PDF files more accessible for your students by using an optical character recognition (OCR) online tool to convert "non-selectable" text files into more accessible versions.
  • Sharing audiovisual material like films and audio files is more complex, but remember you can still link to legally posted online content (from YouTube, Vimeo, etc, where many lectures and educational materials are available). UWinnipeg has additional streaming video licenses to which you may link. Zoom’s Terms of Service prohibit screensharing of copyrighted DVDs and streaming video.
  • Using copyrighted material in exams can be easy, as you can use materials in the limits set by the Copyright Policy Fair Dealing Guidelines. If you need to use material beyond this, copyright exception section 30.01 can also apply. (Contact Brianne Selman if you need help to implement this copyright exception as there are rules that need to be followed to use it)  
  • The Syllabus Service can help you copyright check readings, create links to ebooks and journal articles and more. 

Contact Brianne Selman with additional questions.

Thank you to Ann Ludbrook, Graeme Slaght, Heather Martin, Stephanie Orfano, and CARL for additional content. This was adapted from Ryerson Library with permission.

Additional Resources:


Intellectual Property Considerations

University of Winnipeg Faculty covered by the regular academic staff (RAS) and contract academic staff (CAS) collective agreements have the right to their own intellectual property when it comes to course design, syllabi, course materials, assignments, lectures, etc, whether for an online or offline course.  CAUT has reaffirmed that online course content should not be transferred to other instructors or institutions for the purposes of teaching a similar course without the permission of the creator of the course.

Creators of the work have the right to attribution and to decide how a work is shared, reproduced, and licensed (including adding open licenses such as Creative Commons). These rights do not override other rights, such as Fair Dealing rights, that students and other users of the work may have.

Course Materials/ Recordings

No entity or individual, outside of fair dealing rights or the exceptions below, is able to sell or distribute an instructor’s intellectual property without the instructor’s permission.

  • Students enrolled or auditing a course may share with other students enrolled or auditing the course, as long as they do not charge fellow students a fee. This sharing is governed by the Acceptable Use of Information Technology Policy and the Copyright Policy.  Students cannot use campus tools such as Nexus or email for commercial enterprise. Students who break these policies may face penalties under the relevant policies.
  • Accessibility Services may use copies in order to provide accommodations to students with an accessibility need. Students also have the right to course material that is in an accessible format under the Marrakesh Treaty.

Other misuses of intellectual property, such as plagiarism, are covered by the University of Winnipeg Academic Misconduct Policy.

Protecting Your Intellectual Property

  • While not legally necessary, it is helpful to include a copyright statement on all pages of course materials, in a header or footer, such as "© Faculty Name 2020." Some sites that share academic content, such as CourseHero, may filter out material if it includes language such as "This content is protected and may not be shared, uploaded or distributed.”
  • Consider which materials you may, and may not, want shared. Many Faculty share syllabi and course outlines freely with colleagues. It is possible to add a Creative Commons licence to your syllabi if you are considering this. A license that includes "BY" will require that attribution is given to you if it is reused, though you always have the right to attribution for your intellectual property. You can also request that anyone reusing your materials for teaching or learning contact you, so that you can include this impact on your Activity Report.
  • Including your UWinnipeg email address on materials will make it easier for people who are interested in asking permission for reuse, to contact you.
  • You may wish to include a statement on your syllabi that tells students clearly that you own the copyright to materials you have created, and that they must be used in accordance with the University Copyright Policy & Procedures. You may also wish to reiterate that students retain copyright to any works they submit to the class.
  • If you find your material on CourseHero, use their takedown portal when requesting it to be removed. Sites are required to have information on who to contact to request removal of materials. If you need assistance with this, contact the Copyright Office.

Content originally from The Library’s COVID Campus Guide