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Author Rights and Copyright: Curriculum and Instruction

Online Instruction Guidance

This page contains information for faculty and instructors for teaching and learning activities at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine.

Recommendations for Faculty and Instructors

Copyrighted images, illustrations, figures, tables, and other visual representations are commonly used for education and learning activities. Such items are often digitized or copied from a resource into a PowerPoint presentation or a Rise module, and/or posted on Keystone or other course management systems. Use of copyrighted material including resources subscribed by Becker Medical Library and the Educational Technology & Innovation Unit (ETIU) from the Office of Medical Student Education (OMSE) may be available under fair use.

Recommendations for faculty and instructors:

  • The selected content must fill a demonstrated, legitimate purpose in the course curriculum.
  • Use only a few images from one resource.
  • Restrict the content to password or WUSTL Key access only.
  • Notify students that the content is being made available for teaching, study, and research only.
  • Abide by all terms noted by the copyright owner such as attribution and/or a copyright notice.

In addition, some resources subscribed by Becker Medical Library are governed by license agreements that allow for use of material for educational purposes by authorized users such as students, faculty and staff.  Check the "Medical Images for instructional handouts and presentations in subscription databases" box on the Using E Books page for a list of resources. Faculty and instructors are responsible for adhering to the license terms from resources and should seek permission for intended uses that exceed license terms or fair use.  

Need Help?

  • For instructional design support, please contact the ID Studio.
  • For online course development support, please contact the Director of Online Programs.
  • For questions related to fair use and copyright, please contact Cathy Sarli or Amy Suiter.
  • For assistance with providing links to subscribed materials, finding e-books, and locating materials in the public domain to use for online classroom instruction, please contact AskBecker.

Patient or Clinical Images

Faculty and instructors often use patient or clinical images for curriculum and instruction. Assuming that the images are stored on BJH systems:

  1. If the images are being used in the classroom educational setting, permission is not needed from BJH to use them; and
  2. If the images are truly de-identified, patient permission is not needed.

Faculty and instructors should confirm that the images are completely de-identified and contain no Protected Health Information (PHI) or HIPAA identifiers. It goes beyond name and date of birth. For example, if the medical record number is visible, it is identifiable and it is a breach. Refer to: HIPAA Identifiers for a list of identifiers that should never display in any image that is used.

Faculty and instructors should also confirm that any redacted PHI does not display on a larger screen such as the case with MRI images. The American College of Radiology offers guidance on confirming that redacted PHI is not visible. Refer to: Keeping PHI out of Medical Image Presentations and Educational Products from the American College of Radiology (ACR).

Using Becker Resources for Curriculum

Becker Medical Library holds licenses to resources such as journals and books, and other material containing images, illustrations, tables, figures and other visual representations. These resources are governed by license agreements that allow for educational uses by authorized users such as students, faculty and staff. These agreements allow authorized users to:

  • Download, print, and save single copies of items for personal use.
  • Add persistent links to items in electronic course management systems.
  • Use images or other content for non-commercial instructional purposes.

For a list of resources subscribed by Becker Library, scroll to the "Medical Images for instructional handouts and presentations in subscription databases" box on the Using E Books page. Faculty and instructors are responsible for adhering to the license terms from resources and should seek permission for intended uses that exceed license terms or fair use.  

Other Resources for Curriculum

Instructors and faculty can also use non-subscribed resources for curriculum purposes. Options are:

  • Create your own content (e.g. images, illustrations, figures or tables).
  • Use materials from the public domain such as images from the NIH Photo Gallery and other sources. See the Finding Images guide.
  • Use materials licensed under a Creative Commons license such as Open Education Resources (OER).
  • Use materials listed in the “Medical Images for instructional handouts and presentations in non-subscription databases” box on the Using e-books guide.

Washington University Resources