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Video in the (Virtual) Classroom

Options for providing video in face to face or online instruction.

The TEACH Act - The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act (2002)

The TEACH Act, codified as Section 110(2) of the Copyright law, was designed to make the virtual classroom more similar to the face-to-face classroom. It addresses the performance and display of materials transmitted online, even if portions of the class are offered face-to-face.

The Act allows teachers to show online the full performance of a nondramatic literary or musical work, but they may display online only "reasonable and limited portions" of dramatic works, including audio/visual works, musicals, operas, commercial videos, and music videos.  (Teachers in  face to face classrooms may display these works in their entirety.) "Reasonable and limited portions" are not explicitly defined in the law, but the Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia recommend no more than 10% of a motion picture. Use only the portions that are necessary to make your point.

Teachers must have permission or licensing to display materials that students are commonly expected to purchase, such as textbooks, coursepacks, workbooks, and digital instructional materials made for the purpose of performance or display for use in mediated instruction.

 Obligations of the teacher under the TEACH Act:

  • The performance or display is made by or under the supervision of an instructor.
  • The performance or display is directly related and integral to the class content, not ancillary like Reserves
  • The work is part of systematic mediated instructional activities
  • The "transmission is made solely for and limited to students officially enrolled in the course."
  • Materials that are used for performance or display must be lawfully made and acquired.
  • The instructor must use reasonable controls to prevent copying and retention of the work, those that world "discourage most users." (streaming is suggested for video; thumbnails, watermarks and disabling right click copy function can be used to protect images.)
  • A digital copy may be made from an analog copy when no digital version is available or when the digital version is technologically protected.
  • The work must carry a warning notice to students. Examples:


(2nd example from NCSU)

 The University of Missouri meets the institutional criteria required by the TEACH Act.