Metathink #2: Fair Use

I decided to reflect on the Fair Use post that I completed, using a few of the questions provided for the “thinking about thinking” assignment as a guide for my reflection.

What did you find most challenging? I found it difficult to get over my concern about potentially breaking copyright law and actually post the copyrighted materials in a public forum online. I frequently use/used copyrighted materials in my teaching, but that was usually within the confines of a classroom or hidden behind a password-protected LMS, so I felt “safer” about it. I could relate to Linnea’s fear about “being a criminal,” especially because I chose to use a photograph from the New York Times— a photograph is a creative element, and the New York Times isn’t a small or inconsequential publishing entity. Linnea posted a “Fair Use Evaluator” tool, and I think I will use this frequently in the future to help justify my use of copyrighted materials, so that I can use the best possible materials confidently.

Why do you think I required it? I particularly liked this assignment because it moved us beyond just “thinking” about fair use in the academic sense, and gave us the opportunity to practice fair use. Last semester, I took ED 653 (Instructional Design) and one of the concepts frequently emphasized was the value of “performance-based learning.” We learn by doing, and I think this assignment gave us the opportunity to “do” and therefore “learn.”

What advice would you give a student if you could travel into the future and give them advice? I would advise them to push the limits of what they feel comfortable with, copyright-wise. In other words, this is your opportunity to get feedback on what is/isn’t fair use… in the future, you’ll have to make that decision on your own. So don’t “play it safe” for this assignment; use materials that are questionable so you can take advantage of the feedback and start figuring out for yourself what works and what doesn’t.

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