It is not necessary to start from scratch when looking for content to replace textbooks or to vary learning activities. There are many resources available to the Duke community and a network of instructors who share materials from their courses openly. Curated content will continue to be useful when courses are taught face-to-face.

Duke Libraries can help 

Speak with a Duke librarian to find out how to distribute copyrighted materials. Your students may be geographically distributed without access to their course textbook or hard copies of materials on campus (for more information on how geography affects student access to copyrighted materials, please see What should I know about copyright). However, an electronic copy of the textbook or text may be available through the library. Journal articles or other short works may be able to be placed in e-reserves. If you are showing films in class, talk to your librarian to see if a streaming copy of the film is available for student use. There are some limitations on what can be posted online due to copyright restrictions, but the libraries have staff who can help navigate those issues and will make every effort to post what is needed for your course. Depending on licensing and availability, you may have to consider substitutes. 

Incorporate content and offerings from the libraries. Rubenstein Librarians are available to help you design engaging and meaningful synchronous and asynchronous sessions, activities, and assignments that make use of our digitized and born-digital collections in order to meet a wide variety of learning goals. They will pair you with a librarian who will work with you to develop an instruction session and/or assignment tailored to your course’s subject matter and learning objectives. They also offer modules centered on a set of digitized sources from the library paired with an activity or worksheet that you can adapt for your course.

Reuse or remix open access materials created specifically for your discipline. There are databases of readings, course guides, syllabi, websites, case studies and assignments for every discipline that are copyright clear:

Haley Walton is the Duke librarian who consults with instructors who wish to use Open Educational Resources and has provided a guide to OER.

Explain how to access Duke library resources off campus. Whether you are on or off campus, you and your students have access to many databases and journals licensed by Duke Libraries. There are several ways to access Duke library resources when off campus:

  1. On the Duke University Libraries homepage, run a search using the main search box and log-in with your NetID.
  2. Access resources using the Library Access Button
  3. Connect via Duke’s VPN to access resources as if you were on campus.

If you plan to use readings and other materials from Duke Libraries that require students to access these resources using one of the strategies listed above, it can be helpful to include this information in your syllabus. More detailed information for all three strategies can be reviewed on the library’s website.

> Using Digital Rare Book and Archival Materials in the Virtual Classroom

Curate courseware from reliable sources

Take advantage of Coursera for Duke. Duke faculty and students have access to a library of open courses on a wide range of subjects developed by Duke faculty. You can direct students to specific videos in courses that contain in-depth explanations of material in your course or can be used by students wanting more information on related topics. 

Have students audit other open courses. In addition to Duke’s Coursera courses, various other universities and organizations offer thousands of open courses on Coursera, edX and FutureLearn. Many of these courses have a free audit enrollment option, which means your students will be able to at least watch the course videos, even if they might not be able to access other aspects of the course (e.g., course assignments). If you find open courses you like, see if there is a free enrollment option your students can use.

> Using Coursera for Duke In Your Teaching

Educational technology can enhance learning experience

Consider using educational tools that enhance interactions with content. There are many educational technologies that allow students to receive immediate feedback on their understanding of the content and provide engagement during your live class sessions. These types of applications can:

Next Steps