Adding a video (or audio) resource

External resources

Embedding media in your course

There are a two primary methods for adding video (or audio) content to your course:

  • Linking to an external site not controlled by you
  • Putting the video on YouTube (not necessarily public)
  • Copyright status

    Which method you want for adding your content depends mainly on its copyright status. (See Converse's policy on intellectual property, Section III.I of the Faculty Handbook.) You can infer a video's copyright status from the answers to the following questions:

    1. Is the video out of copyright or in the public domain? This is not very common, but it certainly can happen with videos that are either very old or deliberately placed in the public domain. (For example, U.S. Government videos, like other U.S. Government publications, are normally in the public domain.)
    2. Do you have permission from the copyright holder to use the video in your course? This is somewhat more common; the following cases provide examples:
      • You made the video yourself. In this case, you are the copyright holder, and you can give yourself permission.
      • The video is a resource made available by a publisher. Publishers do sometimes make resources, including videos, available for instructors who adopt their textbooks. Such licenses commonly forbid using the video online, but they don't always.
      • The video is made available under a permissive license. Videos can be made available by consortia, professional societies, or individuals under licenses that permit reuse, such as the Creative Commons licenses.

    If the answer to either of the above questions is “yes”, you're free to post the video without worrying about infringing copyrights. If the answer to both questions is “no”, however, then while you are free to link to someone else's copy of the video (linking on the Web is not a copyright infringement), you generally can't legally post it online in any space controlled by you (or the College).

    There's an exception to this prohibition, called “fair use”. While academic use of a resource does not automatically qualify as fair use, it often does if you're careful about what you use and how you use it. If you think you may have a legitimate fair-use exception, talk to Peter Brown; the procedure for those resources is different and more involved, so that we don't inadvertently undercut our own fair-use position.

    Method 1: Linking to an external resource

    Just as with any other kind of resource, you can always link to a video that is already posted somewhere on the World Wide Web without worrying about either its size or its copyright status. So, for example, there is no legal or technical problem with linking to a video that's already on YouTube or Hulu, or even with embedding it in your own page.

    You do this by the same method described in Linking to a Web resource.

    There is, however, one great disadvantage to this approach. Because you're merely linking to the video, it can be taken down at any time without warning, leaving your students with nothing to look at.

    For this reason, I normally recommend making a local copy of any external resource you link to that is crucial to your course, unless you have very high confidence indeed that it will stay where it is until your course is done. This way, if the content owner does remove the video, you at least have a Plan B.

    Method 2: uploading the video to YouTube

    If you can do so without infringing copyright, a safer method is to put the video on YouTube yourself. This automatically gives good confidence that the video will not be taken down without warning, because you're not going to take it down.

    This approach requires the following steps:

    1. If you haven't got one already, make yourself a YouTube account. (You can link it to your Converse Gmail account, if you like.) Directions for making a YouTube account are (not surprisingly) available on YouTube.
    2. Upload your video to your YouTube account. (YouTube has directions for uploading videos, along with more information on that process.) I recommend that you set the privacy of your video to “Unlisted”, which will keep it from being recommended or found by search; since YouTube URL's are pretty random, this gives a reasonable assurance that no one outside your course will find it. You can close things down further by setting the privacy to “Private”, but then you have to explicitly share your video with everyone in your class, and they'll have to be logged in to their Converse Google accounts to see it.
    3. Add the video to your Moodle course using the directions for linking to it.


    Audio resources can be added by an analogous procedure. For Method 2 (uploading your own resource), instead of using YouTube, you can do basically the same thing with SoundCloud.

    Last modified: Saturday, August 18, 2018, 8:21 PM